Saturday, April 25, 2015

Become a Better Hitter Immediately: Box Positioning

                                                                                        (Photo credit: risingapple.com)

Where a hitter stands in the box is crucial to his success. Proper box stance gives a hitter one of the few opportunities for adjustments that he can make.

Changing box position can allow a hitter to cheat to one side of the plate or the other, make the relative velocity of a pitch slower than it actually is, or change the elevation and height of a an incoming fastball or breaking ball.

Hitters with long arms should allow more space between themselves and home plate as they have more length in their swings, but also have better plate coverage, particularly on the the outside part of the plate. Shorter hitters shouldn't stand way off of the plate, as they won't reach the outside corner with consistency.

Box positioning is an important consideration when evaluating a scouting report. A team who knows that a pitcher is going to throw primarily off-speed pitches, should move up in the box to elevate the height of the off-speed pitches. Sure, this makes the fastball get on a hitter a tad faster, but this box positioning adjustment is made when a pitcher throws lots of change-ups or breaking balls with good depth.

Some pitchers unintentionally, yet consistently, elevate their fastball in the strike zone. These guys are tough to hit. Hitters feel like they have to cheat to the ball, and most college hitters have linear swing paths that don't allow their barrel to be flat enough, soon enough, to crush a truly elevated pitch. A change in box position, to deeper in the box, can make the relative velocity slower and the elevation of the pitch lower.

Any time a hitter faces a sinker-baller or submarine pitcher, it can be quite challenging to hit their fastball with downward depth. Moving towards the front of the batters box  takes away the majority of the depth of a sinking fastball.

Facing a pitcher with a plus 12-6 CB? Move up in the box and attack the fastball. The deeper you are in the box, the more like a strike the breaking ball looks to the umpire. If a hitter moves up in the box, he may get more breaking balls called as a ball high, crossing at the belly button, rather than at the belt.

Some pitchers don't have a ton of movement, but are wildly successful because they command pitches at the bottom of the zone, right at the knees. Don't just sit there and wear it for seven innings while their ace gets ground ball after ground ball! Move up in the box and get some pitches to hit at the quads.

Average hitters make game to game adjustments. Good hitters make at bat to at bat adjustments. Great hitters make pitch to pitch adjustments.

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