MLB Players Kids should Watch Bat the Most
I often say things like, “Wow, you looked just like Joey Votto on that swing.” My intention is twofold with that statement, as my intention is to have the player feel good about how they are swinging the bat, or at least to their swing potential, and to suggest they watch MLB players more, and specifically to copy that player’s hitting style.
It is easy for coaches and players to get caught up in the power syndrome from watching many highlights showing MLB players hitting home runs. Fans and youth players begin thinking that is what baseball is all about. The home run shown constantly on highlight reels over the years probably has much to do with the state of the game today – hit for power, strikeouts are OK in the pursuit of that power. That is a story for another day, but it had me thinking about which are the best MLB players coaches should recommend young players watch and copy their style.
MLB Players to Recommend to Copy – 5 Things to consider
- The obvious answer has to do with a player on the team that is most visible to players on TV. Generally, this would be the local team, so kids can more easily watch that player. Having east coast kids try to watch a Matt Kemp of the Dodgers is not very beneficial.
- It is important that youth baseball coaches choose MLB players that best suits the style of each individual young hitter. For example, coaches should not recommend mimicking a MLB power hitter for lead off speedy players.
- Coaches should not recommend players that have an unorthodox style as a Ichuro or Kevin Youkilis, as those styles are very hard to copy.
- Coaches should not recommend high strike out guys, no matter their home run totals, as many strikeouts at the lower levels of baseball either demoralize players greatly, or get them a prime spot on the bench.
- Coaches should recommend MLB players with simple hitting styles – those with small bat loads, short strides, a good batting eye, and those who use the whole field when hitting. Additionally, MLB players, who cut down on their swing with two strikes and take what the pitchers give them, are the ones that players should try to copy.
With all that said, there are so many great major league hitters that it is difficult to pick just one. It is important to realize that all of the great hitters do the same things when it comes to the fundamentals, even though they all have their own style, and even though they may appear to be doing different things. A couple of players that come to mind that fit the bill are the Twins’ Joe Mauer, who bats from the left side, and right handed batter Paul Konerko of the White Sox.