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Starlin Castro and approach


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6 replies to this topic

#1 chirogerg1

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 08:51 PM

It seems to me that an approach is a very misunderstood term. People are saying that Castro's approach is better in the 2 hole than the three hole. A hitter's approach at the plate is determined by a variety of factors (runners, outs, count, game score and inning, wind), but not one's spot in the batting order. In other words, one's approach does not change because of the lineup. Castro's approach and his execution of that approach, IMO, are not advanced, but are passable.

This is what approach is. Say, for instance, that Castro is up with runners on second and third and nobody out. The hitter's job (no this is not debatable) is to hit a fly ball into right-center field to not only score the run, but to move the runner on second to third with only one out. Say Castro decides that the pitch he hits best to right-center is a fastball middle-away (baseball speak for the middle third of the plate or the outer third of the plate). Castro is now "looking" for a fastball middle-away. If the pitcher throws a fastball middle-away, he had better be ready, timed perfectly, and swinging at that pitch, which should then travel toward right-center. If he doesn't get "his pitch," he had better take it whether it is a ball or strike because he won't be timed for an off speed pitch and won't get his hands through on an inside fastball. If Castro correctly determines if the pitch is what he's looking for and correctly swings/does not swing, that is considered a good approach. A bad approach would be going to the plate without knowing his "job" or how to execute it. Bad execution of a good approach would be swinging at pitch that isn't his or taking a pitch that was his.

Something that does not fall under the realm of approach is getting fooled. Getting fooled (swing at a pitch that looks like his but isn't) is most likely the biggest reason for any lack of success Castro might have. After all, 99% of major league pitchers have nasty stuff. For anyone that says that Castro is trying to pull outside pitches and rolling over as a result, this is a result of getting fooled, not a case of "trying to pull a ball."

I hope the concept of approach is now better understood.

#2 Crockett

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 09:10 PM

I disagree with most of this.

#3 chirogerg1

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 09:28 PM

I've been playing baseball for a long time now, and this is the thought process that is taught (especially the doing your job part).

If you disagree, it would be nice to tell BN what your opinion is.

#4 Drew

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 08:22 AM

I disagree as well. Many professional coaches and hitters teach and use approaches that many people disagree with, so with no offense intended, the fact that youve played baseball for a long time now is of no consequence.
To keep this short, I really think you are over-complicating everything, as well as preaching an overall offensive philosophy that seems very Mauch-ian.

"The hitter's job (no this is not debatable) is to hit a fly ball into right-center field to not only score the run, but to move the runner on second to third with only one out"

There is no way I could disagree more with this statement. A hitter's job is to be selectively-aggressive, pick a pitch he can drive, and mash it. Why on earth would you have any position hitter, let alone your best hitter, give away an out for one run? Secondly, why would anyone (save a nobody out, guy on 3rd, tie game in the bottom of the 9th - situation) be trying to hit a fly ball? Look up the triple-slash lines on GB vs FB vs LD, the results arent even close - you should go into every AB trying to hit a line-drive.

"If Castro correctly determines if the pitch is what he's looking for and correctly swings/does not swing, that is considered a good approach"

I agree with this. If Castro feels like a fastball middle-away is the best pitch for him to drive, then he absolutely should be looking for that pitch, while also taking pitches that dont fit that description. My question after reading your post is, if Darwin Barney has a runner on 2nd with less than two outs, would you say his approach should be looking for a pitch he can hit on the ground to the right side?

I agree with your definition of executing a good approach, but cant get on board with your thinking around what a player's "job" is.

#5 FFP

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 09:07 AM

be selectively-aggressive, pick a pitch he can drive, and mash it.


Drew's entire reply is pretty thoughtful. I enjoyed reading it.

I would like to see Castro's approach in the field modified. He should be thinking like a hitter (which he seems to do very well) on every pitch his pitcher throws. Is he not reading the catcher's signs? anticipating where an opposing batter may be trying to "mash it"?
I know it must be exhausting, but the kid needs to find ways to keep his defensive head in the game.

#6 chirogerg1

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 10:03 AM

Drew you're right. I was a bit unclear. Castro's job would be to score a run and move the runner up, not to hit a fly ball; either a hit or a ground ball to second or a sac fly to right would accomplish this job. By fly ball into right-center, I was thinking a double that, if it hangs up can also become a sac fly and move the other runner. A line drive or even a ground ball works just as well if not better than a fly ball.

Of course, his job varies with the score and inning as well. I didn't mention this, but I was assuming the runs are very important (the tying and winning run for example). it's the third inning of a scoreless game, a double get If it's the bottom of the ninth in a tie game, than a fly ball to right is doing the job just as well as a double in the gap. It really depends on how important the run(s) are in the game situation.

#7 Drew

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 10:31 AM

Drew you're right. I was a bit unclear. Castro's job would be to score a run and move the runner up, not to hit a fly ball; either a hit or a ground ball to second or a sac fly to right would accomplish this job. By fly ball into right-center, I was thinking a double that, if it hangs up can also become a sac fly and move the other runner. A line drive or even a ground ball works just as well if not better than a fly ball.

Of course, his job varies with the score and inning as well. I didn't mention this, but I was assuming the runs are very important (the tying and winning run for example). it's the third inning of a scoreless game, a double get If it's the bottom of the ninth in a tie game, than a fly ball to right is doing the job just as well as a double in the gap. It really depends on how important the run(s) are in the game situation.


I suppose that clears a couple things up, but we are still in disagreement on some.

Let us suppose that everyone in baseball thinks and acts *situationally*. That is, their pitching/defensive/offensive approaches are a direct result of a given game scenario (runner on 2nd, 0-out, etc.). the problem with intentionally going to the plate attempting to *place* the ball somewhere (hit to the right side and so on) according to a game situation? the pitcher is smart and knows thats what you're trying to do. logic dictates, if Castro wants to hit a sac fly there, he would need a pitch he can take the other way and get underneath. If you dont want that run to score as a pitcher, why would you throw him that pitch?

I'm sure there are plenty of necessary details I left out, but my point remains the same: Be selectively-agressive, drive the ball, put together big innings, win games. I don't view Castro's *job* as something that changes (save a handful of previously mentioned circumstances). A hitters job is to hit the ball hard. When you start overthinking an AB, you get a Barney AB from early in the year, during which he chased 2 pitches a foot off the plate away because his *job* was to hit behind the runner, and eventually he struck out.

Hitting a round ball traveling 90+ MPH with a round bat is hard enough as it is, so why make it even harder by constantly changing what you're trying to do?




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