Hitting in Disadvantage Counts
Disadvantage Counts: 1-2, 0-2, 2-2
Hitting Approach: Open up your swing zone and shorten up mechanically, depending on the type of hitter you are. In these counts you’ve lost the right to sit on your preferred pitch to hit. Be a pest, and take pride in battling the pitcher.
0-2: The approach here has to keep in mind that the pitcher is being told to throw a ball in this count. 99% of the time a high school coach will call the same pitch for all his pitchers in an 0-2 count. That pitch most often is a fastball up in the zone. 0-2 heaters are the most common of all pitching patterns, so keep that in mind. Set your eyes at the top of the zone and refuse to swing at anything above that line. Think, “I’m covering from the top of the zone down”. If a pitcher locates a low and inside heater on the corner then you probably won’t have much of a chance anyways, so there is no point in attempting to cover or react to that pitch. Play the percentages in this count and battle. Let the pitcher throw the ball high, but we can not be falling for their trap and swinging at pitches over our eye line. Shorten the swing, focus the gaze from the top down, and be a pest.
1-2: Generally speaking, 1-2 counts are good off-speed counts. The pitcher still has a big advantage, but the difference is that he is now trying to throw a competitive strike and get you to swing. Most fastballs will be on an inside or outside corner, and low. Most breaking pitches will be at the very bottom of the zone. Set your eyes to the lower part of the zone in these counts and refuse to get beaten down. Again, shorten up the swing, choke up if you can, battle pitches, and think about spoiling the pitcher’s best pitch. “What is this pitcher’s favorite pitch? I won’t get beat by that”.
2-2: Very similar to 1-2, but the pitcher now has a real need to throw a strike here. Most pitchers get taught to “throw your best pitch here”. Generally, that means you will see more fastballs to the side of the plate that specific pitcher favors. Expect a pitch in the zone here, but you still have to think about driving the ball the other way to give yourself the proper amount of time to react to off-speed. Stay short, think about driving a fastball the other way, and refuse to get beaten by his favorite pitch.