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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

More Reaction To ALCS Game 1

LOVE that Kendrick stuff. Another poke in the eye of people (like MGL) who argue that the Angels don't even have a coherent philosophy, let alone one that might not be bone-stupid.
I started to post a reponse to this, Rob, but it was getting too long, so I just blogged it. You can check it out here.
<< the Angels don't even have a coherent philosophy >>

I think most well-run organizations have a consistent philosophy; if your farm system is producing players that need to be retrained at the major level, well you have the Dodgers. ;) But I'm just not sure developing players to swing at first pitches and not work deep counts is the best philosophy to go.
But I'm just not sure developing players to swing at first pitches and not work deep counts is the best philosophy to go.

On the other hand you have outliers like Vlad and Nomar, guys who almost always swing at the first pitch. It seems to work for them. There is also a danger in leaving the bat on your shoulder on strike one.
Matt -- can't wait to see what Kendrick will do once he gets to the thin air in the PCL. Howie's stats look somewhat similar to Adam Kennedy's except that Kendrick's hitting more often and for more power at an earlier age. Like Kendrick, Kennedy didn't get many walks, but he advanced quickly through the minors, in part because of the Cards' preference for pushing their prospects hard; Kennedy vaulted from single-A to AAA in one year, getting better at each level. I really like AK, but I get the impression that Kendrick's going to be manning 2B in 2007.
BTW, Matt -- isn't MGL now working for the Cards? At the risk of tempting fate, wouldn't it be hilarious if the Angels -- an organization he seems to think is without a plan -- took it all?
Oh I agree. Obviously, if the pitcher leaves something in your sweet zone, Garrett Anderson should swing at it. :)

Vlad (and Sheffield, for that matter) is kind of a special case, though. He's one of the best practitioners of the THT rotational swing, which lets you generate significant bat speed before committing your hips to a pitch. A guy with great THT can get away with lousy plate discipline because he can wait forever on a ball, and then crush it outright. Of course, same guy with excellent plate discipline would be Barry Bonds.

Linear-ish hitters like Erstad need the plate discipline and to work pitch counts. If they don't have it, a pitcher can screw up Erstad's swing mechanics by going horizontal (i.e. cutter them to death) with them.

IMO, the Angels hitting philosophy contradicts their hitting instruction (i.e. Hatcher) at the top. Also IMO the longer Angels hitters work in this current setup -- unless they change their swing first policy -- the worse the OPS numbers are going to be with the hitters.
Oh hell YES that would be fun. Did you see the little dust-up he had with Lederer & me over at BTF? He's absolutely terrific, but a bit insufferable sometimes, especially when he talks about the Angels.

Next year's PCL team should be one for the ages. But I really think it's time to trade Callaspo at the least, so that Kendrick can play AAA & we can hopefully get someone like Vernon Wells.

Anonymous -- What's "THT"?
RE: the crowd.

I would say that about 1/4 of the Sox fans that I know who tried to get tickets through ticketmaster were sucessful.

NY Brokers had a HUGE block of tickets. Those tickets were either Sold to NYers, or being resold at the last minute.

Sox fans are not going to pay 4 times face value for tix to a playoff game. Not Gonna Happen. --

Last night's crowd was largely not a baseball crowd. They were a happening crowd. The kind of people who go to the latest hotspot. -- Limos at 35th and Shields should be reserved for players, not wine and caviar "baseball fans"
THT is Top Hand Torque. It's part of the terminology used to describe rotational swing dynamics. There's a big, big linear vs. rotational debate in baseball circles, akin to smallball vs. moneyball.

Roughly speaking, THT is roughly sending the bat backwards after the bat is in the launch position in order to create torque and accelerate the bat before you launch with your legs and hips. *Generally*, you can evaluate THT by checking out how "forward" the person's launch position is and the degree of upper cut or "golf"-ishness in their swing.

The advantage to a THT rotational swing is that you can generate high bat speed with a relatively compact swing arc, and you can compensate for offspeed stuff because you're not trying to generate all of your power through the lower body (therefore stalling on your commitment on a pitch.) Finally, the stronger you are, the more THT you can generate.

Erstad has zilcho THT because, like a linear hitter, he sends the shoulders forward as he pivots around his stride. Ergo, he can't pull and he can't hit outside pitches if he's thinking inside.

Whereas guys like Anderson (rotational) and even Molina has some THT because they initiate their swing from the forearms before trying to drive.

The disadvantage to rotational swingers is that their mechanics are much higher maintenance. A linear hitting coach can parse out what's wrong with a swing, but a guy like Hatcher, who doesn't even like video tape, will have no clue how to solve a guy's fractured rotational swing.
Great stuff, thanks.
Oh hell YES that would be fun. Did you see the little dust-up he had with Lederer & me over at BTF?

Matt -- no, I missed it. Can you give me a URL?

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