Fun with Myths: Hitting the Other Way (Jose Bautista)

By admin 1

Here’s a fun discussion you hear from your garden-variety hitting coaches: Successful hitters at the pro level look to go the other way. They are primarily interested in going gap to gap, and they aren’t pull conscious.


First of all, traditional scouts have used the term “look to pull” as a positive factor about a hitter. They mean that the prospect being evaluated is looking to pull an inside pitch for power, and not fishing for balls off the plate.

And secondly, when coaches tell you that hitters can’t be successful when all they want to do is pull the ball, well….

Jose Bautista

This is Jose Bautista. In 2010, he completely transformed his swing and hit 54 home runs, posting a stat line of .260/.378/.617. Critics said it was a fluke and that there’s no way he’d repeat his 2010 performance.

They were right.

Sort of.

In 2011, Jose Bautista upped his walk percentage from 14.6% to 20.2%, and while he hit for less power overall (still mashing 43 home runs, mind you), he became a much more complete hitter, posting a well-rounded stat line of .302/.447/.608. He hit for average, he walked a ton, and he hit for power.

Oh yeah, and he did it all by pulling the ball. A ton. (Click image for full-size. Credit to hittrackeronline.com)

Jose Bautista's Home Runs

Jose Bautista's Home Runs

Can hitters be successful by simply looking to pull the ball for power? It turns out that yes – it can work.

Just another incorrect myth that is being perpetuated by coaches everywhere, doing more harm than good.


Don’t you think it’s worth comparing this to his complete spray chart before saying that his approach is “looking to pull pitches for power?” Stands to reason that a HR spray chart would be heavily swayed to the pull side as that’s where almost all hitters hit the ball the with the most distance. I think “look to go the other way” is the wrong way of saying “take a swing that produces back-spin on the baseball, no matter where it goes.” I think a coach saying “go the other way” is not the right cue, but I also think there are HUGE holes in telling a young hitter “look to pull for power” before they understand what that means (i.e. to do it with backspin).

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