Laurila: Q&A with Oakland’s Chad Pinder on contact points and turning on inside heat

From SABR member David Laurila at FanGraphs on December 20, 2018:

Chad Pinder learned how to turn on inside fastballs this season. Doing so didn’t turn the 26-year-old infielder/outfielder into a slugger, but it did make him a more well-rounded hitter. That’s bad news for opposing pitchers. Pinder had already been well on his way to establishing himself as an asset to the Oakland lineup.

A quest for higher launch angles wasn’t the impetus behind the “biggest adjustment” he’s made since the A’s took him in the second round of the 2013 draft out of Virginia Tech. While Pinder possesses pop, his 37% fly-ball percentage this year wasn’t exactly Khris Davis-esque. As much as anything, the former Hokie is now no longer quite so susceptible to being beaten by inside heat — even though his hands remain on the noisy side.

Pinder — coming off a season where he slashed .258/.332/.436 with 13 home runs in 333 plate appearances — discussed that adjustment, and his overall continued development as a hitter, earlier this month.

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Originally published: December 21, 2018. Last Updated: December 21, 2018.