Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Should you swing 3-0?

August 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Hitting

“I never quite understood why so many people just automatically take 3-0.  If you’re a smart enough hitter, and you’re able to just say to yourself, ‘OK, I’m going to get a certain pitch in a certain spot,’ it’s like a free swing.

A lot of times, even if a guy swings 3-0 and fouls a pitch back, because they took a healthy swing, they feel better about the next pitch. I think it’s great, and I think it breeds confidence.

I just think that too often you take the best hitter’s count that can possibly be, and you take the bat out of the hitter’s hands. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

The previous three statements were made by Indians manager Terry Francona in the article linked HEREAlthough I agree with the statements, I have to admit that I have rarely given young hitters a 3-0 green light. 

Of course, the general advantage Francona has is that he is dealing with major league hitters who, unlike most young hitters, have largely proven their abilitiy to be selective with pitches.  However, his comments should, at the very least, force coaches to evaluate their own philosophy towards the 3-0 green light.

I tend to see blanket rules like an automatic take on 3-0 counts that apply to every single player to be counterproductive.  Conversely, I think an automatic green light is counterproductive also.  Many variables effect whether or not a green light is given.  The score, the inning, the number of outs, who is pitching, who is up next, and who is on base are just some of the variables that exist.  The number one variable, however, is the player with the bat in their hands.  Some of the best hitters I’ve played with absolutely hated swinging 3-0 even if the green light was on.  Some less talented hitters loved it because, as Francona pointed out, it’s a confident free swing and it may be the easiest pitch they will see all game.

The 3-0 green light is another concept I made time to explain to my players before the season started.  I talked about it so that they knew what was expected should they get a green light in a game.  From there, it was up to them whether chose to swing or not.  It may take a while to see who is comfortable with and good at (Note: this can be a rare combination) swinging on a 3-0 count.  It can certainly pay dividends if you identify the right players and the right time to give it a shot.

Tomorrow’s Post:  Slow down your fastball

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