Laurila: Q&A with Alan Zinter on swing planes, launch positions, and tutoring young Padres

From SABR member David Laurila at FanGraphs on March 16, 2017:

Alan Zinter has a challenging job. The 48-year-old former first baseman is San Diego’s hitting coach, and the position players on the Padres roster are, with few exceptions, young and inexperienced. There is a plenty of raw talent, but there are also plenty of learning curves. Works-in-progress abound.

Zinter embraces the challenge, in large part because he enjoys teaching. By all accounts, he is very good at it. Prior to joining the Padres a little over a year ago, he served as assistant hitting coach in Houston, and before that he was Cleveland’s minor-league hitting coordinator. He began his coaching career in the Diamondbacks system.

He’s anything but old-fashioned in his understanding of the craft. Zinter is well-versed in launch angles and exit velocities, and as a result, he’s not interested in seeing his hitters — not even the speedy ones — slap balls on the ground and run. He wants them driving through the baseball with a swing plane that opens up a window and results in gap shots. From his perspective, it all starts from the launch position.

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Originally published: March 20, 2017. Last Updated: March 20, 2017.