been there, done that

Posted by: ray porco () on Sat Mar 27 12:55:42 2004

the following is a post by ray porco on mon Dec 11 21:58:02 2000 (“hitting the outside pitch” thread) in reply to the following question by jack (which I still now believe).

“should we teach pulling the outside pitch as well as going to the opposite field?”

jack,

no, we shouldn't "TEACH pulling the outside pitch" ---maybe "hitting it right back through the box" or maybe 1, 2, or 3 degrees past 90, but, not 15 to 30 degrees past 90.

hit a round ball with a round bat, and hit it square. ted williams ---"the best chance of getting the joy spot of your bat on the ball occurs when the swing brings it into contact at 90 degrees from the direction of the pitch". charlie lau ---"...a player can raise his average thirty points and possibly hit more home runs if he will try 100 percent of the time to hit the ball back at the pitcher's forehead". even robert adair in refering to his "model swing" in his book, states, "the batter in the diagram is assumed to have swung in such a manner as to drive a ball to center field as far as he can".

instead of the physics, how about a little geometry. while a pitched baseball has many planes - let us consider only two - the horizontal and the vertical planes of a straight pitch from a RH pitcher to a RH batter on the outside corner. refering to ted williams diagram in his book, a 6 foot 2 pitcher standing on a mound 10 inches high, releasing the ball at ear level to a spot below the waist of a batter --- the flight of the ball is about 5 degrees down. arbitrarily (my estimations), the release point of the pitch is 1 to 3 feet to the right of a center line drawn from the pitcher's plate to home plate, and 5 feet closer. the ball thrown on a straight line to the outside corner of home plate translates roughly to 1 to 3 degrees variant from perpendicular. you engineers can calculate with sin and cosin and correct me if i'm wrong but, the point is that it ain't 90 degrees. the optimum swing for this pitch then is a slight upswing of 5 degrees and a slight pull of from 1 to 3 degrees IF you can get the sweet spot of your bat out far enough. there's the rub.

if you take a normal stance with your feet placed so that optimal bat coverage is the center of the plate, then you must extend your hands to have the sweet spot of your bat reach the outside corner of the plate.

let's say that you decided to pull that pitch with say a 15 to 30 degree swing - what happens is that your top hand wrist (with the arms extended) is now, not in a position of strength. the further you extend and the further you pull, the more the wrist starts to break, with even a very strong potential to roll on contact.

try a simple experiment. take a dry swing simulating extending your arms to hit the outside pitch and pulling (15 degree pull). stop your bat at what would be the moment of contact with the ball. LOOK AT YOUR TOP HAND WRIST.
now, take a dry swing extending your arms, but this time simulate hitting the ball late by 15 degrees. stop your bat at the moment of contact. LOOK AT YOUR TOP HAND WRIST.
take it one step further and do the same swings, but this time as you stop your bat at the simulated moment of contact, have someone push on your bat back toward the catcher while you try to keep the bat where it is.

i think we should TEACH hitting the outside pitch anywhere from 15 degrees late to directly back in the direction of the pitch but not pulling it.

ray porco

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