Baseball Magazine

ACTING v REACTING at the Plate

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard
A couple weeks ago I did a post called How to hit a 100mph fastball.  I had to laugh when Nelson Cruz of the Rangers that very same day pulled a 100mph Verlander fastball down the line for a homerun.  What timing!  Anyway, the broader concept of that post is what I wanted to focus on here.  It involves the very large difference between a hitter who “acts” at the plate and a hitter who “reacts” at the plate.  It basically involves control.  If a player goes up to the plate with a plan as to what he is looking for and is disciplined enough to wait for a pitch he can handle, he has a lot of control in the at-bat.  

ACTING v REACTING at the plate

Pujols is considered by many to be the best hitter in
baseball, in part, because of his ability to ACT and
not simply REACT at the plate.

Due to the nature of hitting, batters rarely have as much control as the pitcher but they can certainly get more control to shift their way based on the approach they take in the box.  Players who go up to the plate poised to swing at any strike thrown by the pitcher are handing over a lot of control to the pitcher.  Good pitchers can spot these types of hitters a mile away and realize very quickly that they can pitch much more easily to these guys.  That is because this type of hitter is liable to swing even if a “pitcher’s pitch” is thrown. (A "pitcher's pitch" is a good pitch in a good location.)  An example of such a pitch would be a first pitch fastball low and on the outside corner.  A batter who has a plan will take that pitch for a strike and accept the odds that the pitcher will not be able to throw it there two more times.  The undisciplined hitter will hack at it and probably ground out weakly.  In essence, the undisciplined hitter got himself out by not having a plan.  The disciplined hitter forces the pitcher to keep working and keep making good pitches to get him out.  This batter has more control than the other.  The disciplined hitter with a plan is “acting” and the batter without the plan is just “reacting” to whatever is thrown up there. Have more control over your at-bats.  When you do, the times where you get yourself out will start to decline.

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