Originally Posted by ochre
It has to be an elevated ability to determine which pitches one can handle. Being able to put bat on ball being a lesser talent to being able to discern which pitchs are the one that can be really handled. So, a Bonds, Pujols, Thomas, Bagwell, or Rodriguez see a pitch that another, lesser batter, might think is imminently hittable and pass on it as they inherently know they won't be able to drive it.
And in the end, that's what makes great hitters ... legendary
There's a bunch of tangents I'd like to branch off towards eventually, such as analyzing individual breakout seasons (like Lopez last season) to try to determine how much of his breakout year could be a result of increased plate discipline and to take a look at random fluke seasons such as Beltre a few years ago.
I'm also curious if there's any correlation with BABIP for hitters at all, especially when some hitters have spikes of high/low BABIP from season to season. Generally, one would presume that more hitters' counts should result in a higher BABIP (or an average to above average BABIP with lots of homers).