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Baseball Discussion Group / Baseball Discussion Group / Taking a first strike
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RooDad
10-03-2010 @ 7:08 PM                          
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Ok, I need some of the baseball gurus help me understand someting.  Why do some coaches have players take a first strike?  

In todays game our team was facing a good opposing pitcher.  He had one inning where he did not throw one ball.  Yet the coach had the players (except his kid) take a first strike which the pitcher alwasy delivered right down the middle.

I dont get it, but so many coaches preach it that there must be somehting to it.  Help me understand!

greybeard
10-04-2010 @ 9:16 AM                          
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I think it depends on the pitcher. Like you say, if a pitcher is consistently throwing strikes, why get behind in the count immediately? If it is a pitch the batter can drive, he should swing at it.

I think the leadoff man's job is to make the pitcher show a lot of pitches and work deep in the count, and sometimes that means taking a perfectly good strike. The 3-4-5 batters do not have that responsibility; they need pitches they can drive for extra bases. That could be the first pitch.

Most youth pitchers are taught to get the first pitch over as a strike. That may mean that first pitch is also the best pitch to swing at.

As kids get older and have more bat control, they can afford to take a pitch or two.

banthedh
10-05-2010 @ 10:01 AM                          
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Think like a pitcher for a moment. Most if not all want to "picth ahead in the count".  Meaning throwing a first pitch strike.  Usually they do not spot a cutter in under the hands on the corner for a strike,instead they try to split the dish with a four seam fastball.  I prefer to let em swing away on first pitch, I even have them take a 2 ball no strike situation approach on first pitches, and if it is in your wheel house to put a good swing on it.  TO many kids at the lower levels think that a walk equals success and that approach retards their hitting develpment......Of course thats just me, as always, Death to the DH  

JC_Baseball
05-11-2011 @ 7:53 PM                          
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I am a Ted William believer. Ted took meticulous notes on every hitter in the USA and OverSeas who swung at pitch one and said they were hitting about .190.

Williams said a hitter could not hit what he couldnt see. An oversimplification no doubt, but one through nine in your batting order should 'take and rake'.

Once through the lineup though all bets are off. Hitters need to develop a plan and then work that plan. Certain pitchers throw every first pitch for strike one and after that they get really tough.

Its a matter of the situation/the score/the inning and the task at hand.

Going into the last inning and down by a run or two - our first couple of hitters are taking a strike because the first batters run is unimportant IF we are down two runs.

can'tgetright
05-12-2011 @ 1:19 AM                          
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I always taught my players to look for a first pitch that
is in their wheelhouse and drive it. If it's not there
then take it. That seemed to work well for me most of the
time.

JC_Baseball
05-12-2011 @ 2:42 PM                          
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@ can'tgetright

That works at lower levels when kids face pitching that is average.

The baseball bat sweet spot is now smaller. The strike zone is roughly 7 baseballs wide and 9 baseballs vertically.

If a hitter has and knows what strike zone discipline is and knows what a "dead-red" first pitch fast ball looks like = then your way will work.  

wheezer
05-18-2011 @ 12:42 PM                          
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"That works at lower levels when kids face pitching that is average."

As the level advances, the hitters advance along with the pitchers.  At all levels, most pitching is average.

Coaches who "control" their batters by having them take  a first strike have no idea how well their team could hit if they were playing for a different coach.

This message was edited by wheezer on 5-18-11 @ 12:43 PM

JC_Baseball
05-18-2011 @ 2:10 PM                          
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Dear Wheezer:

What YOU say has validity, however a hitter who demonstrates what to LOOK for on 0-0 is not that common.

We are now playing in College with the newer version of BBCOR(BESR) and the sweet spot is smaller.

More importantly hitters need to know the inning/score situation etc. After a trip to the mound by an opposing pitching coach we have found a stat that says the following pitch is going to be 98% fast ball...

If our hurler has struggled through a 30 pitch inning and WE come up and go one-two-three - making their guy throw 9, someone is not going to be happy.

Its all relative to the moment at hand. The first time through YOUR lineup there is nothing wrong with "seeing a pitch".  I have seen some pretty feeble swings on 0 and 0. Likewise I have seen some 0-0 pitches hit a LONG way.

This message was edited by JC_Baseball on 5-19-11 @ 2:37 PM

Nikkons017
08-15-2014 @ 3:13 PM                          
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If you take a strike reguardless of where it is, the coach and that method is just plain stupid. It is up the batter to take the pitch if he feels a better pitch will come along. No use swinging and grounding out on a well throw outside fastball/curve when you can give yourself another/better shot. But, if he serves up a juicy fastball right up your homerun alley, by gosh man, swing away.

Some coaches do this so the pitcher intentionally has to throw more pitches, as if you hit the first pitch and get thrown out, his pitch count will be very low. Though if you depend on this, means you need more practice.

JC_Baseball
08-15-2014 @ 3:32 PM                          
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There are dozens of reasons to take a first pitch and dozens of reasons to not take the first pitch. Inning, Score and Situation and is the pitcher throwing strikes.

The mantra take and rake has merit in that one can't hit what one hasn't seen. Watching from the dugout or on-deck circle is 100 % different than standing straight on with the pitcher 60'6".

Take and rake really means: One to "measure" and then go to swinging.

During a hitters second through 4th time up, a hitter can sit on a pitch - look for a pitch - so as not to guess at what it might be?

The important item here is this: If a hitter is 2 for 2 or 3 for 4 and is coming up in the 8th or 9th, the other dugout knows what he has had success with and will pitch him differently. In that case for example our successful 3 for 4 hitter might look for a get it in 0 and 0 curve ball and if the Pitcher hangs it - we will bang it.

Here is the key: If our hitter is looking for a get it in 0-0 curve ball in the 7th-8th-9th innings and the pitcher throws a fastball, our hitter must take that fast ball, otherwise he will dribble it to the mound.

If a hitter takes pitch one of his at bat, there are only three things that can happen: It can be called ball one; It can be called Strike one; the pitch can hit our batter.

In our system if a hitter is so overwhelmed in buying into our coaches requested mantra of taking the first pitch then that hitter is telling the opposition that he is mentally weak and cannot compete when he is down in the count.

If OUR hitters swing at pitch one and have a weak at bat - we ask of all our hitters to answer this question: "Would that have been the best pitch I would have seen during that at bat”?









This message was edited by JC_Baseball on 8-15-14 @ 4:14 PM

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