Originally Posted by dougdirt
My hitting philosophy is pretty simple.
Before 2 strikes, only swing at pitches you can do damage with.
With two strikes, only swing at pitches in the strikezone.
Players don't hit well on pitches outside of the strikezone. Don't expand it trying to make something happen.
My assumption from before is pretty simple: I would rather a hitter, no matter the scenario unless it is a tie game at home in the 9th or later or a game on the road in the 9th or later with a 1-run deficit or a tie game, to follow the same hitting philosophy laid out above in this post. It will lead to better contact, and thus more hits and thus more runs than swinging at less desirable pitches simply because someone is standing on third base.
I think that's everybody's philosophy including every hitter in the majors or minors and even the evil Dusty Baker. The problem is that:
1. Some guys are delusional and think that they can handle stuff they can't (the Juan Franciscos, Chris Heiseys and Jeff Francouers of the world) and
2. Some guys are so intent on getting that perfect pitch and seeing a lot of pitches that they let that fat one go by and have to settle for swinging at a far less hittable one with 2 strikes. A guy like Votto can still get hits when he does that. A guy like Drew Stubbs is toast when he tries it.
I think my gripe with some of the stats that people look at when referring to "plate discipline" is that they assume the problem is always number one when, a lot of the time, the problem is number two. When a guy like Dusty says guys need to be more aggressive it's not always wrong and doesn't deserve the nasty reaction it seems to always get.
The answer is still and always has been "pick a good one and sock it." People should just keep in mind that the "sock it" part of that phrase is just as important as the "pick a good one" part. Pick a good one and let it go by won't work.