I saw this article from Joe Maddon on MLB today:
In summary Joe is thinking about ways to improve hitting in the face of advanced metrics that continue to improve pitching and defense. Because of data, hitting numbers continue to go down league wide and Joe thinks that this is a trend that will continue because of applied data.
So, to help Joe move his thought process along, I felt it our obligation as SABER devotees to give him some ideas. Here are 3 strategies that I came up with that might help hitters combat data:
1) Recognition of alignments and situational bunting: I think that bunting is clearly a lost art that needs to be re-introduced on a more regular basis. It is clear that it is undervalued in prospects (EJ, please take notes, maybe get some tips from Hellickson), but I wonder if a bunting wunderkind would be more successful after establishing a hitting preference (i.e. RHB that pulls alot). The question though is how many successful bunts are equivalent to one homerun.
2) Choking up on that bat: By shortening on the bat, head speed should increase and hit placement may also change. Instead of hitting for power, get a little slappy. It is also possible to use bats with different weights or shorter lengths to achieve the same effect. For a player that is being shifted on alot, this could be an easy way to keep the defense honest.
3) Slight rotation in the batters box: Perhaps a slight axial rotation in the box or changed placement could improve chances for different ball placement resulting from a hit. While I am sure that this would have a major impact on mechanics and vision of the ball, for someone like Pena, what else does he have to lose? It brought to mind a time when my golf swing undoubtedly produced a slice and I couldn't figure out what was wrong with the mechanics of my swing. Instead, a temporary fix was just to play the slice and aim slightly to the left. It actually worked; my ball landed in the fairway, albeit without the same distance.
These are just a few things I came up with. Can you think of anything else? HBP came to mind for our bottom third.