This blog was originally posted July 1, 2012. It was updated March 10, 2015
There have been so many more no hitters and perfect games in the last few years than before. In the last six years 2006-2011 there have been 22 no hitters or perfect games, the previous six years 2000-2005 there were only 7. On ESPN they say the reason is pitchers are getting better and performance enhancing drugs are out. Another person say there aren't as many good hitters, very true. A great statement was from ESPN's Tim kurkjian who said "they swing as hard as they can just in case they make contact". The last two statements are so true because hitters are swinging more and more mainly with their arms or fast hands. The ones that swing with their arms aren't hitting the ball as hard as they think they should. They try to make up for it by swinging hard as they can thinking this will hit the ball harder. This causes so many problems for hitters. The reason Major League averages and power are going down is the hitters are getting worse because more and more of them are swinging mainly with their arms.
Since 2006 Major League hitters batting averages and power have gone down significantly. According to ESPN.go.com below are the averages for a Major League Team from 2006 to 2014:
Year AVG HITS XBH HR SLG STRIKE OUTS
2014 .251 1387 439 140 .386 1248
2013 .253 1403 455 155 .396 1224
2012 .254 1402 470 164 .405 1214
2011 .255 1409 462 152 .399 1150
2010 .257 1418 470 158 .403 1144
2009 .262 1451 491 168 .418 1120
2008 .264 1466 493 163 .416 1096
2007 .268 1499 503 165 .422 1073
2006 .269 1502 517 180 .432 1055
DOWN .018 125 78 40 .046 UP 107
These statistics show the average MLB team is down in almost every production category. Each team was down an average of 40 home runs, 125 less hits, and 107 more strike outs in 2014 than they were in 2006. Are pitchers getting that much better? No, it is because most of the things that MLB players and hitting coaches are working on make them swing mostly with their arms. I have discussed before that when they swing this way it causes the bat to go slower and weaker through the hitting zone than it should. This is why MLB hitters are seeing their production and power going down. They are making the pitchers look so much better.
One big problem with swinging mainly with your arms is the hitter has to start their swing earlier, since the bat is going slower to the hitting zone, causing them to swing at or chase more pitches that aren't strikes. Major league hitters, according to Fangraphs.com, in 2006 were swinging at 23.5% of pitches outside the strike zone as compared to in 2014 they were swinging at 30.6% of pitches outside the strike zone. From 2002 to 2005 hitters averaged swinging at only 19.3% of pitches that weren't strikes. The percentage is going up because more hitters have to start their swing earlier. They aren't able to watch the ball as long and can't be as patient or disciplined at the plate to wait on good pitches that they have a much greater chance of hitting hard.
Another problem is hitters can feel the bat going slower with much less power than they think there should be. They try to create more speed and power by speeding the bat up with their fast hands. I hear the former MLB players in the TV booth at games and on ESPN talk about using fast hands, twisting the hips, getting on top of the ball and swinging down almost every game I watch. This actually will cause the bat to have the opposite result than what they expect. Instead of the bat going faster it actually decelerates through the ball, moves up and down from rolling the wrists and the bat gets pulled out of the hitting zone way too quickly. This throws off their timing and causes many more pulled weak ground balls and pop ups to the opposite field. It also causes tremendous loss of bat speed.
In the future I will talk about other ways that swinging mainly with the arms or fast hands will decrease a hitters power and production. Major League hitters have been doing this more and more the last nine years. Until someone is able to show them how to use their body the best way and keep working only on that this trend will continue. Telling them to stay back, use their fast hands and swing down is the main reason for this downward spiral in hitting. The leaders in home runs and RBI have a much different swing than the average Major leaguer. They use their bodies and weight in their swing, not their arms..
Almost 99% of hitters swing with their arms because that is what they are taught. This significantly lowers their power, production and throws their timing off. If you would like to learn the correct way to use your body and bat together call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393. You will learn how to use your body a much better way to generate much more force along with bat speed to increase your power and production and reach your full potential.