Sunday, September 1, 2013

Do college coaches like switch hitters?

Some college coaches like switch hitters and others don't. There are coaches at every level who think that switch hitting is a waste of time or just a gimmick.

Coaches who like switch hitters know that the players are self-motivated and put in a lot of extra work. College coaches like players who are used to putting in the work every day to get better.

Over the past decade, coaches were focused on recruiting power hitters – especially left-handed hitters. Switch hitters tend to hit above average, but are not typically power hitters from both sides.


What College Coaches say about switch hitting

One D1 college baseball coach told my switch hitting son:

"If your coach tells you to stick to hitting from only one side, then it's time to find a new team."

The coach believed that switch hitting was an advantage and he suggested that Henry should keep hitting right- and left-handed.


Another college coach suggested that my son should focus on hitting left-handed, since he has a better swing from that side. Plus, he only has a couple years left of playing in high school and an estimated 3,000 practice swings. If you balance hitting on both sides, that's only 1,500 swings per side. It is something to think about.


Switch Hitting in High School is Very Rare

About 90% of high school pitchers throw right-handed.  The remaining 10% are left-handed.

Maybe 1% of high school players are switch hitters, and most focus on swinging lefty.

With the new BBCOR bats, that hit like wood, it is very unlikely that you will see many switch hitters in high school.


In game situations, switch hitter Henry Knight bats lefty about 90% of the time since he faces mostly right-handed pitchers. He switches to bat righty vs left-handed pitchers -- about 10% of the time.

One week, he hit 4-for-5 batting right-handed against left-handed pitchers.

When he was young, he used to hit equal on both sides and would swing left in one game and right the next. He struck out only once a season using this balanced approach to switch hitting.


50% more work

Initially, a hitter needs to put in twice as much work to groove their swings on both sides. After a couple of years of switch hitting, a player can make adjustments to the time spent hitting.

Now during practice, Henry swings left-handed about 70% of the time, and right-handed about 30%. Plus, he takes about 50% more swings than most players. The training strategy worked out well and he was one of the top hitters on the team. During the summer, he hit .500 as a switch hitter, with a .677 OBP in a 15U league.


Switch Hitting in College is also Rare

In college baseball, about one-third of the pitchers are left-handed and two-thirds are right-handed. So switch hitting in college could be a good strategy. Most teams average only one switch hitter on a 35 man roster, but some of the best teams have two or three switch hitters.

Since there aren't many switch hitters in high school, college coaches mainly recruit right- or left-handed batters with solid swings and bat speed.

Aubrey McCarty, a switch hitter and ambidextrous pitcher, will be playing for Vanderbilt in 2014 -- one of the top college baseball teams. McCarty was drafted by the Giants, but decided to get a good education and play college baseball.

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Why are switch hitters rare?


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