Situational Hitting

Source: Baseball Skills and Drills, American Baseball Coaches Association

If you watch closely, you’ll see that the championship teams, in most cases, still use situational hitting to their advantage. Anyone can win blowout ball games, but teams win championships because they win a large percentage of the close games. In many cases, they win because they can execute situational hitting.

Situational hitting simply means that hitters hit to the situation presented by a particular at bat. With the bases loaded and no outs, the at bat is different from the same situation with two outs. With a man on second and no outs, the at bat is different from the same situation with one out. In most cases, situational hitting does not require as much raw talent as does pure hitting. Consequently, players can learn it and use it to their advantage against dominating pitchers.

Situational allows a less-skilled offensive player to contribute to the team’s offensive success. Also, the player who gives his at bat to the team concept through situational hitting is identified as a team player.

Teams that work on situational hitting in practice will learn more quickly to control the bat and the strike zone than those who do not work on this area of hitting.

Situations

The following situations are some of the major situations to emphasize to your team.

Leadoff Hitter

The best leadoff hitters force the pitchers to throw strikes and, in most cases, works the pitcher for five or six pitches in each at bat. Quite simply, he can take a strike and not panic. He knows he can put the ball in play. He often takes a strike on a 2-0 or 3-1 count unless it is his pitch in his zone. In some cases, he takes it anyway.

Unfortunately, the leadoff hitter in your batting order sometimes leads off only in the first inning. Over a span of five or six games, everyone in your batting order will probably lead off some innings.

In situational hitting, the leadoff man forces the pitcher to throw strikes. If the hitter gets ahead in the count, he may be asked to take a strike. The surest way to reach first is by way of a base on balls. The probability of scoring increases dramatically when the leadoff hitter reaches first base. Thus coaches often tell their pitchers, “Get the leadoff man out, and your inning is halfway over!”

The leadoff hitter must realize that he can help create a big inning by getting on base. Taking the 3-1 strike is frustrating to an individual hitter but not to a situational hitter. He knows that the pitcher has thrown four pitches and three of them were balls. The percentages say the pitcher will not throw two strikes in a row after missing on three of the four previous pitches.

Man on Second in a Non-Force Situation and No Outs