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chicoruiz
07-16-2011, 08:22 PM
I know nobody does it any more (it's either the new bat design or it's considered unmanly or something), but it breaks my purist, old-timer heart to see Drew Stubbs hit with his hands way down on the knob of the bat, given his propensity for whiffing. Does no one ever even consider having him choke up a couple of inches, slapping the ball and running like Drew Stubbs can to first?

Homer Bailey
07-16-2011, 08:33 PM
I know nobody does it any more (it's either the new bat design or it's considered unmanly or something), but it breaks my purist, old-timer heart to see Drew Stubbs hit with his hands way down on the knob of the bat, given his propensity for whiffing. Does no one ever even consider having him choke up a couple of inches, slapping the ball and running like Drew Stubbs can to first?

Hitting > Slapping. Stubbs has 25+ HR potential. Let him swing the bat.

HokieRed
07-16-2011, 09:13 PM
Just noticed Pence choking the bat in the All-Star Game.

757690
07-16-2011, 09:15 PM
Just noticed Pence choking the bat in the All-Star Game.

You think he'd be more careful and only do that in private. :cool:

Tony Cloninger
07-16-2011, 09:17 PM
Hitting > Slapping. Stubbs has 25+ HR potential. Let him swing the bat.

So for the sake of maybe him potentially hitting 25 home runs..... instead of becoming just a better hitter in overall and getting on base to use his speed, you would rather he just swing away and potentially turn into Corey Patterson?

Homer Bailey
07-16-2011, 09:23 PM
So for the sake of maybe him potentially hitting 25 home runs..... instead of becoming just a better hitter in overall and getting on base to use his speed, you would rather he just swing away and potentially turn into Corey Patterson?

I think his best overall value is to utilize all of his tools. I don't think choking up on the bat is going to significantly increase his contact rate, so yes, I'd rather him still swing for power, and continue to be a positive offensive contributor.

Tony Cloninger
07-16-2011, 09:26 PM
I think his best overall value is to utilize all of his tools. I don't think choking up on the bat is going to significantly increase his contact rate, so yes, I'd rather him still swing for power, and continue to be a positive offensive contributor.

Ok. I mean I would rather have his power and speed combo as well....... I just think these bad stretches get into his head beacuse people around cannot stop talking about them. And I do not mean us at Redszone.

edabbs44
07-16-2011, 09:27 PM
I think his best overall value is to utilize all of his tools. I don't think choking up on the bat is going to significantly increase his contact rate, so yes, I'd rather him still swing for power, and continue to be a positive offensive contributor.

He's looking to be more in the mold of Mike Cameron each and every day. Sure he has value, but there's also room for improvement.

757690
07-16-2011, 09:31 PM
How about choking up with two strikes?

Raisor
07-16-2011, 09:31 PM
He's looking to be more in the mold of Mike Cameron each and every day. Sure he has value, but there's also room for improvement.

I'd be more then happy if Stubbs' prime matches Cameron's prime.

Ron Madden
07-16-2011, 09:47 PM
I'd be more then happy if Stubbs' prime matches Cameron's prime.

As would I.

edabbs44
07-16-2011, 09:53 PM
I'd be more then happy if Stubbs' prime matches Cameron's prime.

He's got a way to go before getting to Cameron's prime, however.

signalhome
07-16-2011, 10:02 PM
I'd be more then happy if Stubbs' prime matches Cameron's prime.

Yep. From 1999-2004, Cameron was a 29.3 WAR player (average of 4.9 per year) per Fangraphs. I'd be absolutely thrilled with that from Stubbs.

VR
07-16-2011, 10:10 PM
Choking up won't help if he can't get that loop and hitch out of his swing.

Homer Bailey
07-16-2011, 10:15 PM
Yep. From 1999-2004, Cameron was a 29.3 WAR player (average of 4.9 per year) per Fangraphs. I'd be absolutely thrilled with that from Stubbs.

As would I, but Stubbs isn't as far off from that pace as you might think. He posted a 4.0 WAR last year, and is on pace for about a 3.5 WAR this season. And that's based strictly on his offensive production, as his defensive marks are about average.

BuckeyeRedleg
07-16-2011, 10:19 PM
I just happened to be watching the O's tonight and noticed that Markakis was choking up pretty high and the next pitch he went yard.

Me thinks Stubbs needs to try something (anything) to limit his K's.

Homer Bailey
07-16-2011, 10:25 PM
I just happened to be watching the O's tonight and noticed that Markakis was choking up pretty high and the next pitch he went yard.

Me thinks Stubbs needs to try something (anything) to limit his K's.

Do you think Heisey needs to choke up? because his contact rate is worse than Stubbs, believe it or not.

edabbs44
07-16-2011, 10:31 PM
Yep. From 1999-2004, Cameron was a 29.3 WAR player (average of 4.9 per year) per Fangraphs. I'd be absolutely thrilled with that from Stubbs.

This is fantastic. Here are the OF "WAR" leaders in that time span, up to Cameron:

Bonds
A Jones
Giles
Abreu
Edmonds
Chipper
Vlad
Sosa
Sheffield
Manny
Pujols
Luis Gonzo
Beltran

It's like a PED proven user/suspected user convention.
Cameron

edabbs44
07-16-2011, 10:32 PM
Do you think Heisey needs to choke up? because his contact rate is worse than Stubbs, believe it or not.

He needed about a foot more length of bat on his last swing tonight, not less.

AtomicDumpling
07-16-2011, 11:27 PM
I don't think choking up on the bat is going to help anything. The reason players don't choke up on the bat anymore is because it doesn't work. Once you get out of Little League no serious hitting coach is going to tell you to choke up on the bat.

Brutus
07-16-2011, 11:43 PM
I don't think choking up on the bat is going to help anything. The reason players don't choke up on the bat anymore is because it doesn't work. Once you get out of Little League no serious hitting coach is going to tell you to choke up on the bat.

Why doesn't it?

Have you ever swung a sledge hammer with both hands at the base? Then tried it with a grip higher on the hammer? Notice how much more control it yields by doing so?

If choking up is used for the purpose of better bat control and making contact, it absolutely works. The reason people don't use it anymore is because of the infatuation with hitting a 3-run homer, not because hitting coaches have stopped teaching it.

Spitball
07-16-2011, 11:45 PM
Frank Robinson and many other Hall of Famers would shorten up with two strikes. In my day, we would get two good cuts and then become slap hitters. Frank Robinson and his like could still hit it out while choking up. There are lots of photographs out there of Barry Bonds choking up.

Brutus
07-16-2011, 11:48 PM
Frank Robinson and many other Hall of Famers would shorten up with two strikes. In my day, we would get two good cuts and then become slap hitters. Frank Robinson and his like could still hit it out while choking up. There are lots of photographs out there of Barry Bonds choking up.

http://fanatchicks.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/earlyBarryBonds.jpg

http://shenkfamily.com/blog2/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/BarryLamar_Bonds.jpg

Spitball
07-16-2011, 11:51 PM
Thanks, Brutus.

Brutus
07-16-2011, 11:55 PM
Thanks, Brutus.

No prob. I thought it was a terrific example. Because you're absolutely right... he's the home runs leader and he absolutely did choke up with two strikes quite often.

Given both his talent and his pedigree, I think that he would choke up even with his ability to hit for so much power is somewhat telling.

Homer Bailey
07-17-2011, 12:14 AM
This helps:

http://www.depressedfan.com/images/syringe0206.jpg

signalhome
07-17-2011, 12:25 AM
This is fantastic. Here are the OF "WAR" leaders in that time span, up to Cameron:

Bonds
A Jones
Giles
Abreu
Edmonds
Chipper
Vlad
Sosa
Sheffield
Manny
Pujols
Luis Gonzo
Beltran

It's like a PED proven user/suspected user convention.
Cameron

Yeah, and undoubtedly there are plenty more who used and have still never been suspected. With use apparently being so prevalent, it's amazing that a big deal wasn't made about it sooner. I think we'd be pretty naive to believe that Selig and company didn't know what was going on.

Regarding the choking up issue, Stubbs doesn't exactly have great homerun power. Of Stubbs 11 HRs, 7 have been of the "just enough" variety -- here's his 2011 HR Chart (http://hittrackeronline.com/detail.php?id=2011_874&type=hitter). That's a pretty big percentage of just enough HRs -- compare that with Jay Bruce, who has hit 21 HRs with only six being "just enough". Someone like Barry Bonds, who has been mentioned in this thread, can choke up on the bat and still have more than enough power to clear the fences -- of his 26 HRs in 2006 (the only year for which ESPN Home Run Tracker has data for him), only five were "just enough". This may not be the case with Stubbs. While it's entirely plausible that he could choke up and still hit as many round-trippers (especially considering his average true distance last year was thirteen feet higher than this year), I tend to believe a few of those "just enough" HRs would become warning-track flies due to the slight decrease in power caused by choking up. Stubbs derives a lot of his value from hitting home runs, so I'm not entirely certain he would be as productive by choking up. I just don't think Bonds is the best example to use in making the argument that Stubbs would still be hitting a good number of home runs while choking up, considering there is a vast difference in their true power.

However, if Stubbs is going to be the leadoff hitter, the most important thing is getting on base. If choking up on the bat could increase his average -- and therefore his OBP -- by 30 points (that's likely a bit of a stretch on my part) while only losing a few home runs, then he should do it.

Griffey012
07-17-2011, 02:48 AM
Was Stubbs using a different bat tonight? I always thought he swung an uncolored piece of lumber, but tonight was using black. I like his approach tonight, looking to go up the middle and the other way. That alone will help with contact rates without killing his power. The homeruns will come, but it is pretty hard to try and force a home run, that gets hitters into slumps.

AtomicDumpling
07-17-2011, 05:10 AM
Why doesn't it?

Have you ever swung a sledge hammer with both hands at the base? Then tried it with a grip higher on the hammer? Notice how much more control it yields by doing so?

If choking up is used for the purpose of better bat control and making contact, it absolutely works. The reason people don't use it anymore is because of the infatuation with hitting a 3-run homer, not because hitting coaches have stopped teaching it.

Hitting coaches definitely have stopped teaching the choke-up. Just look around the league. Very few players choke up anymore, whereas decades ago it was extremely common.

It doesn't help the batter get more hits. It reduces your plate coverage and reduces your leverage. It leads to more groundouts and double plays. It used to be a common practice but nowadays it is very rare. The reason they choked up was to shorten their swing, which made the swing faster through the zone. The best way to quicken your swing is to just adjust the swing itself by physically shortening it if necessary. Eventually coaches realized it was better to use a shorter or lighter bat than it was to choke up on a longer bat.

Barry Bonds was a strong proponent of bat speed. He used a very small bat. Of course his chemically-induced strength meant he could hit a ball a long way even with a short, lightweight bat. David Ortiz is another slugger who uses a small bat.

There are a few players that use a longer bat then choke up on it because they don't like the knob touching their hand. Most players feel they have better control and guidance of the bat with their hand in contact with the knob. Some players actually leave a couple fingers off the end of the bat. It is up to the player to find a grip he is comfortable with.

I don't think there is an infatuation with the 3-run homer. I think there is plenty of evidence that hitting for power puts more runs on the scoreboard than hitting for average. Teams prefer power hitters to contact hitters because power hitters are simply more effective. Powerball is better than small ball.

GAC
07-17-2011, 08:22 AM
Hitting > Slapping. Stubbs has 25+ HR potential. Let him swing the bat.

True. But it's also why Stubbs should not be in the lead-off spot. I want a higher OB% guy there, and Stubbs is never going to give us that.

1990REDS
07-17-2011, 08:58 AM
Besides choking up, I seem to remember back in the day a lot of guys would scoot up to the front of the batters box with 2 strikes. Ive noticed Votto do it a handful of times throughout the year but other than that nobody seems to do it. Is it just me not noticing it, or is it something thats just not done in todays game along with choking up?

_Sir_Charles_
07-17-2011, 09:48 AM
How about choking up with two strikes?

Exactly what I was thinking. Choke up, shorten your swing and protect the plate. It used to be a pretty common practice....because it worked.

Krusty
07-17-2011, 09:49 AM
Drew Stubbs reminds me so much of Eric Davis. Neither player is a leadoff hitter.

Spitball
07-17-2011, 11:24 AM
I don't think choking up on the bat is going to help anything. The reason players don't choke up on the bat anymore is because it doesn't work. Once you get out of Little League no serious hitting coach is going to tell you to choke up on the bat.

This study appeared in The Sports Journal. Here is the conclusion of that study:


Conclusions

In conclusion, although time was not significantly different in the acceleration phase between normal and choke-up grips, the total time of the swing (from stride initiation to bat-ball contact) was significantly less with the choke-up grip, which supports the belief of many coaches and players that using a bat controlled choke-up grip results in a “quicker” overall swing. This “quicker bat" implies that with the bat controlled choke-up grip, a hitter can wait longer in order to determine how to handle the incoming pitch. In addition, because linear bat velocity was significantly less in the choke-up grip compared to the normal grip, there may be less momentum with the choke-up grip because of the differences in mass distribution of the bat with choking up, which may result in decreased ball flight distance after impact. A decreased flight distance (power) may not be so negative, since the hitter’s main goal is more solid contact accuracies.

Here is the link to the whole study:

http://www.thesportjournal.org/article/choke-grip-facilitates-faster-swing-and-stride-times-without-compromising-bat-velocity-and-b

I believe the game evolves with time. The steroid era is over, and we will see more emphasis on bat control in certain strategic situations.

RFS62
07-17-2011, 12:18 PM
Frank Robinson and many other Hall of Famers would shorten up with two strikes. In my day, we would get two good cuts and then become slap hitters. Frank Robinson and his like could still hit it out while choking up. There are lots of photographs out there of Barry Bonds choking up.


This study appeared in The Sports Journal. Here is the conclusion of that study:



Here is the link to the whole study:

http://www.thesportjournal.org/article/choke-grip-facilitates-faster-swing-and-stride-times-without-compromising-bat-velocity-and-b

I believe the game evolves with time. The steroid era is over, and we will see more emphasis on bat control in certain strategic situations.


Exactly right.

Complete hitters make adjustments to their stroke all the time.

dougdirt
07-17-2011, 01:43 PM
Barry Bonds could choke up on the bat because he needed less bat to reach the outer part of the plate because he wore a suit of armor and could literally hang his elbow over the inside part of the plate. Of course the barrel of the bat was able to reach the outside corner when he was choking up.

IslandRed
07-17-2011, 01:45 PM
I believe the game evolves with time. The steroid era is over, and we will see more emphasis on bat control in certain strategic situations.

I think you're right. It's all related. Run scoring is down and home runs are down. As power goes down, pitchers pitch more fearlessly. That pushes walk rates down, too.

I took a look at Fangraphs' board today. In MLB, of the 108 starting pitchers who are "qualified" (enough pro-rated innings to be eligible for the ERA title), 70 of them have a HR/9 rate under 1.00. 71 of them have a BB/9 under 3.00. 64 of them have ERAs under 4.00. And a bunch of the top pitchers meet all those criteria. "Take and rake" may still be very effective against the middling-to-bad pitchers, but against the good ones, gopher balls, free passes and big innings are hard to come by these days.

In that respect, I think I like the old-school notion that, against certain pitchers, go into a game with the mentality of scraping up runs any way we can. Not against every pitcher, or even most of them. But, while I tend to favor the old Earl Weaver three-run-homer approach over often-ineffective small-ball tactics, a team has to recognize there are certain games where the three-run homer just isn't likely to happen, and find some other ways to attack the problem of scoring runs.