“Ask Sam” Returns – More Of Your Questions

Philadelphia Phillies 1B coach and PBI Advisor Sam Perlozzo answers your baseball questions directly via email!
Want to improve your game? Send your email directly to Sam Perlozzo – AskSam@baseballclinics.com
Here’s the latest from the “Ask Sam” mailbag.
Q – Sam, I’ve always been interested in what I watch during batting practice and stretching. I was wondering what kind of pre-game stretching the Phillies do. – Jeff
A – Jeff – Almost all Major League teams go through a 15-minute stretch program that covers just about every body part to get the players loose for their pre-game routine. We have a strength and conditioning coach full time and it is his job to see that the players do a proper warm-up as well as conditioning during the season. Most people don’t realize how early the players get to the park for a 7 PM game.
We actually have two stretches at home, one for pitchers & extra men and one for the starters. The stretch is pretty basic and may involve a weighted ball to swing around. Once the players are loose, they take turns to hit in assigned groups and to get infield and outfield work. This is a daily routine and we hardly waiver from that except for Sunday day games where we may hit inside. But even that day we have an organized stretch.
Hope that helps, Jeff. Thanks for your interest. – Sam

Q – Sam – I have a few questions for you.
1) I am worried that my son’s playing wiffle ball with his friends will get his swing into bad habits for baseball season: the bat is so light, and the kids seem to swing with so much emphasis on snapping the bat with the left arm and uppercutting. What do you think?
2) Do you think if things had gone differently early in Chris Coste’s career, he had the talent to be a regular Major League starting position player for a period of time?
3) Can Major League hitters really see the spinning seams on a baseball?
4) Do you think Brian Wilson’s nasty pitch to strike out Ryan Howard to the the NLCS was actually too low for a huge hitter? – Dave, Kinnelon NJ

A – Dave, the first question about playing wiffle ball is a good one. What I like to think is that playing the game and swinging is still working on hand/eye coordination. Although I would perfer playing baseball over wiffle ball, of course, at least the kids are out there playing. What I would do is to watch closely to make sure to correct any bad habits as fast as you can. In short, it’s nice to get the kids out of the house and away from the TV, computer, hand-held games etc. and actually play the game. I loved wiffle ball as a kid and turned out pretty good. I wouldn’t worry too much and I would be thankful they enjoy playing the game!!
I’m not as familiar with Chris Coste’s early playing days so it is hard for me to summarize his playing. What I saw from Chris is that he was a very good game caller and had the trust of the pitching staff, which is very important. I would say that when he was younger he was a very good defensive catcher, with average arm strength. Most good back-up catchers are back-ups because they don’t hit well enough to start and I would be speculating on that in Chris’s case.
Most good hitters can see some sort of spin on the baseball. The really, really good ones have a special talent with that and can see even better. If you have ever hit a knuckleball you would see very well that the ball is hardly spinning. In the days of specialty pitches like a split-finger there are a lot of spins out there. I wouldn’t make too much of that; you still have to see the ball and hit the ball and you have very little time to do that. Working on your timing and figuring out what the pitcher is going to throw you are the most important things when you are hitting. Your eyes will react the way they should, and you will get better with seeing the spin and making more consistent contact.
The pitch to Ryan Howard to end our season was a borderline picth. As much as I would like to have seen Ryan hit that ball, or it be called a ball is irrelevant now. It certainly was a reachable pitch for him to hit but still a little unfair for any of us to ask a hitter to swing at something that he deems a ball.
Thanks for your questions, Dave. Hope I answered them well enough for you and keep rooting for the Phils! – Sam

Q – Sam, my son Dylan is 11 years old. Is there a good exercise he can do to develop his hitting power? Thanks. – Ben, Westwood NJ

A – Ben, hitting for more power is something we all want but some of us are just not born to do it. What we can work on is hitting the ball as hard as we are capable. Harder line drives, harder ground balls that make it through the infield, longer fly balls that get us sacrifice flies are all going to make us a better hitter. Power usually comes from bat speed, how fast the bat goes through the strike zone. That being said, working on hand, wrist and forearm strength are excellent ways to increase power. Hand grippers are a good way to increase all those areas. Any little exercise that works the hands, wrists and forearms is what I would concentrate on and not get too bulky in the big areas so that your son’s bat speed can work with his hand strength.
Try that and stay with it. Over time he will reap big benefits. Best of luck. – Sam

Thanks for your questions. I’m looking forward to the next batch – AskSam@baseballclinics.com

Speak Your Mind