Strikeout to walk ratio.
This is the number of times a hitter walks compared to the number of times he strikes out. Often statistics are judged based on the park in which a certain player plays or the scorekeeper that judges hits and errors for a specific team. Although most statistics provide a solid average of a players ability, the walk to strikeout ratio is one that is extremely telling.
To make my point I’m going to include some impressive stats regarding BB/K ratio.
Some may ask, “Coach T, why is the BB/K ratio so important?”.
It’s important because its a true statistic that reflects a players plate discipline and zone recognition. It is simple, if you expand the strike zone you will swing at pitches that are not strikes or aren’t strikes that we are looking for.
The easiest way to hit top level pitchers is to make an educated guess of what pitch is coming. This goes back to my last post about watching the pitcher and knowing what he throws and when he throws it. Then we must have an understanding of the strike zone. Talk to a scout, if he tells you a young hitter, 18, 19, 20 year old hitter is polished. I guarantee he is referencing his pitch and strike zone recognition.
Hitters put themselves into good hitters counts by seeing the baseball and knowing the strike zone. If you walk more than you strikeout you will find yourself working into more advantage counts or fastball counts, 3-1, 2-0, 1-0, 3-0. If you get into a fastball count that will almost guarantee we know what pitch is coming our chances of success will climb drastically.
Baseball is a statistic based sport. If you look closely at the stats you will find out that they go hand in hand with each other. RBI, Batting Average, OPS, HR, SLG, etc. they are all directly related to a hitters BB/K ratio.
So how to we improve our BB/K ratio?
For young hitters, when you take batting practice and your coach throws a boarder line pitch that you aren’t sure if it is a strike or not, ASK? Learn from your batting practice, see the flight of the ball and track it into the hitting zone.
Break the zone down into sections. Find which zone is your strength, inside, middle, outside, letter high, belt high, knee high, etc. If you break the zone down and learn each zone and what a pitch in each zone looks like, you will be less inclined to swing at pitches out of the strike zone.
Get to your hitting position early. If you get your stride foot down early, on or right after pitchers release. It will slow the pitch down, 95 will look like 85, thus it will be easier to recognize the strike zone.
Keep your head/eyes still. If you lunge towards the ball your eyes will move forward speeding the pitch up. If you have a heavy stride foot, your eyes will dip changing the level of the baseball making it harder to track.
And finally, HIT! You learn by spending time on task, and learning the strike zone is no different. Be patient in BP, treat your BP sessions like game sessions, don’t expand the zone use it as a time to learn.
Quote of the Day: Baseball is a lot like life. It’s a day to day existence, full of ups and downs. You make the most of your opportunities in baseball like you do in life. Ernie Harwell
Until next time, I’ll see you in the cage!