Hitting in Advantage Counts

Advantage Counts: 1-0, 2-0, 3-1, 3-0

Hitting Approach: Commit to the pitch you hit the best and sit on it (fastballs being the most common). In this situation the hitter has earned the right to get a little bigger and attack in a calculated manner. Seek your red zones. Don’t be afraid to swing and miss in these counts. Take your best swing. Be early and hit the ball out in front. 

To hit effectively in these counts you have to first understand where your red zones and blue zones are. Envision the strike zone:

Within the 9 grid box we will have squares that we can really crush a ball in (redzones) and squares where we are more uncomfortable hitting pitches in (bluezones). In advantage counts you must know your zones, and hunt pitches in the locations you like.  

3-0: This is the coach’s decision if you have the green light to swing away in this situation. If you do get the green light this must absolutely be your best swing and the pitch must be where your red zones are. Again, don’t be afraid to swing and miss or be fooled in this count because a fastball is coming 99% percent of the time. Also be disciplined on getting a strike here because the pitcher clearly is struggling to find the zone. If you do swing, think of catching it out in front, “drive to pull side or be foul” don’t get cheated and DON’T be late.

2-0, 3-1: The pitcher needs to throw a strike here. You will most likely be getting a fastball in these counts, so be ready for it. Pitchers are thinking about fastballs to the side of the plate they are more comfortable throwing to, generally, away from the side you stand on. Narrow your focus on a fastball on the outer half of the plate and be ready to smoke it. You have earned the right to apply the pressure. Move up on the plate, be intimidating and hunt fastballs. If you get an off-speed pitch, tip your cap, take the strike and move on to the next pitch. “His best fastball away” is the thought process you should be having. Be on time and drive your pitch, a take in this count is more than acceptable if you don’t get what you are looking for. 

1-0: Slightly less of an advantage count, but still we are hunting. Many pitchers will throw the same pitch 1-0, maybe this pitcher likes his changeup 1-0. Determine if he has any 1-0 patterns and tailor your approach accordingly. For most 1-0 situations we are hunting a specific pitch, but not so much a location. If you get a fastball, react to the location and put your best swing on the ball. This is a really good count to get a hittable pitch, so don’t be super locked in on one spot. Think “If this is the pitch I am looking for and it is anywhere but my bluezone, I am hitting it”. Think middle of the field, or right over the second baseman’s head. This has to be a good pitch, but not your perfect pitch for you to swing the bat.