From SABR member David Laurila at FanGraphs.com on May 27:
Adrian Gonzalez is a student of hitting, which should come as no surprise given that he is one of the game’s premier sluggers. The left-handed-hitting first baseman has a career slash line of .288/.369/.510, and this season he’s been even better. In his first 50 games with the Red Sox, he’s hitting a superstar-caliber .337/.385/.553.
David Laurila: Is hitting simple or is it complicated?
Adrian Gonzalez: Hitting is simple. We make it complicated. We look into mechanics and a lot of different things that could be wrong, instead of simplifying everything by staying back and letting our hands go to the ball. In this profession, because of how good the pitchers are, it’s hard not to look at a lot of different things.
Getting hits is extremely hard. Swinging, just getting up there and hitting, and doing the right mechanics, that’s what I’m saying is simple. But when you put in all of the equations, like the pitcher on the mound and the defense that’s behind him, that’s what makes it complicated.
DL: What do a lot of fans not understand about hitting?
AG: That hitting has evolved. It’s not the same that it was 10-15 years ago. Back then it was “go get the ball, hit it out front,” and now it’s “let it get to you, stay behind the ball, and make sure that your weight stays back.”
Pitchers are throwing more pitches now, and they’re moving the ball more. You can’t go out there and expect the ball to be straight. Very rarely will a pitcher throw a ball straight. Ten, 15 years ago, not every pitcher had four or five pitches. Now they do and you have to keep that in mind. Pitchers throw two-seamers, four-seamers and cutters with their fastball, and they throw a slider and a change, or a curveball and a change. The ball is moving all over the place and if you just go after the ball you’re going to get jammed or hit it off the end of the bat. You have to let it get deep.
Read the full article here: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/qa-adrian-gonzalez/
Originally published: May 27, 2011. Last Updated: May 27, 2011.