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Re: Hitting the outside pitch

Posted by: Major Dan (markj89@charter.net) on Fri Dec 8 13:05:25 2000

I think now may be a good time to bring the discussion back to what the board was designed to accomplish - "A frank and open-minded discussion of the baseball/softball swing." It seems clear to me that discussing personalities can make little advancement to our understanding of the swing.
> So, I will ask a question about a batting principle that has bothered me for some time. -- Why is hitting the "inside of the ball" called GOOD while hitting the "outside of the ball" is Taboo?
> I am thinking of adding an article to my "Truism or Fallacy" list on the subject of hitting the outside pitch. Your input would be most helpful.
> Jack Mankin

I am no expert on this, but it is clear there are two related concepts here that get confused: the inside vs. outside surface of the ball and the handpath of the swing being inside or outside the flight of the pitched ball.
For the sake of argument, put the pitched ball is over the center of the plate. From above, call the front of the ball 12 O'Clock, the back 6 O'Clock, the side facing a righty batter 9 O'Clock and the side facing a lefty 3 O'Clock.
For a righty, inside the ball is 7 or 8 O'Clock, outside the ball is 4 or 5 O'Clock.
If a righty hits the ball at 7 or 8 O'Clock (inside the ball) it will go toward right field. Hit at 4 or 5 O'Clock, it will go towards left field. The closer to 6 O'Clock, the straighter to center field.

Bat angle to ball at contact is the only significant factor in the direction of the hit ball regardless of swing type.

HOW the bat gets inside or outside at contact seems to be the subject of debate and deep thought.

Random truisms:
- Many high average/singles hitters hit inside-out, keeping the hand path inside the ball and hitting opposite field or up the middle as their predominant swing. Carew, Boggs, Gwynn, etc. have made a good living doing that. Hand path is inside the ball, contact is on the inside half of the ball.

- Common teaching practices on hitting the inside pitch talk about turning on it to pull it, meeting the ball 2 feet in front of the plate, etc. For this to happen, the hands must get outside or at least closer to in line with the flight of the pitch, extend and get the barrel of the bat way out in front. If this happens, the bat will contact the outside of the ball and the ball will be pulled.
Critics of this method cite the tendency to pull the ball foul.
Hands 'outside' the ball, contact on the outside of the ball.

- Rotational practictioners combine the full hip and shoulder turn with a bat barrel lag - the body, hands and bat stay together through contact. On an inside pitch, the contact point is not as significantly forward, the arms are not extended and the contact angle of bat to ball is closer to the 6 O'Clock than the 3 O'Clock end of the outside of the ball. Balls can be hit with power, pulled and yet stay fair more often.
Interestingly, to accomplish this, the rotational hitter must keep the hands inside the flight of the ball similar to contact hitters, but with significant upper body turn to create the bat angle that is outside the ball. This situation I think is the one that mixes people up - hands inside the ball and contact on the outside of the ball !!!!


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