Your Answer--and SBK's Suggestion
The easiest way to become a bonafide pull hitter is to move closer to the plate, as SBK suggested. Good mechanics should afford you the opportunity to pull all inside and outside piches, regardless of whether the pitch is a fastball, an offspeed pitch, or a curve. All that one needs to understand is that to pull an outside pitch, one must use what Mankin calls THT effectively. Let's assume that the hitter has mstered the technique of pulling inside pitches, and figured out how to wait longer to pull a change-up or curve.
Suppose that you get a fastball on the outer half of the plate. Everybody urges an opposite field mentality, but I disagree. In fact, one of Griffey's first home runs in 1998 was an outside fstball that he yanked to the shortest part of the Kingdome--which was approximately 310 feet down the line.
I am also hearing critics admonish suggestions that one should pull low-and-away change-ups; yet McGwire did just that, hitting a similar pitch 340 feet down the left field line to break Maris' record in 1998.
Vladimir Guerrero is another example of someone who can pull outside curves into the left field stands.
Pulling every pitch--as Vern Stephens, and Mel Ott did--is not recommended by Ted Williams. Yet, Stephens put up some big power numbers, and Ott used the 250 foot fence in the Polo Grounds (i.e., on the pull side of the field) to gain immortality.
Getting your pitch is crucial, but if you look for a fastball, any other pitch should be easy. If a pitcher throws you an inside fastball, use BHT; if it is slower, do what Ferroli suggests: wait longer, and pull it.
On outside pitches, you use the same method as inside pitches, except you apply as significant amount of THT.
If the pitch is wholly unexpected, then "take it!" as Williams would say. Here is where Epstein's idea of looking middle-in or middle-away on a certain pitch is applicable.
With two strikes, Ferroli argues that you should aim your hits towards center field, and, given this situation, I would have to agree him, as well as the critics on batspeed.com. However, if you can pull every pitch, one will find himself or herself in this predicament far less often, since a hitter using this approach needs only to look for location, rather than location and speed.
But on all other pitches, heed the advice of Mantle,"and swing for the fence" in your "natural field" (as Hank Aaron calls it) field!
P.S. I hope I answered your questions. As for the biomechanics of this approach, perhaps Jack can fill us in on hitters pulling outside pitches for home runs when he returns. Cheers!
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