Thoughts from White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson

SHARE Thoughts from White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson

New White Sox hitting coach Todd Stevenson shared some of his ideas on hitting on a conference call Thursday. Here’s what he had to say.

On his philosophy:

“You want to have an educated plan of attack when you go to the plate. Hitters want to put themselves in a good solid position to recognize strikes, pitches and have the ability to lay off balls and continue the at-bat. You may have heard about my past talking about selective aggressiveness. You want to be aggressive with your pitch in the zone, have the ability to recognize the pitch and execute it. Hitting is a confidence, a belief with the ability to react and execute accordingly. The no. 1 thing is to believe in what you came up there to do. That said, nothing good happens for a hitter outside the strike zone. It’s well documented that balls not over the plate aren’t very hittable, so our job is to swing at strikes, the pitcher’s job is to throw strikes. You want to be able to take a walk, not going up there looking for a walk but if the pitcher doesn’t throw strikes you take your base. There is no time clock on a game but there are 27 outs and you want to maximize those with a good mindset. The ability to get on base creates more plate appearances, more plate appearances, the more opportunities to score runs. Name of the game for an offense is to get on base and score runs.”

Offseason

“I’ve seen some of these players along the way. Before spring training I’ll talk to them about last year, what they like to do and improve on, a routine and plan so we can get them in the best position to achieve their goals. So they know we’re on the same wavelength when spring training starts. I know what they want to do and they know what the plan of attack is in terms of a team philosophy and so the continuity starts as early as possible.

“I had 75 to 100 hitters under my belt as [A’s minor league] hitting coordinator. A struggling player or offense most of the time is a mindset of how you feel about yourself and go about your day. If you get your confidence as you perform your job and understand it, it’s a lot easier. Struggling through the course of the year becomes mental.”

Yours is a tough job

“It can be. A pitching coach and hitting coach, skill positions, about scoring and giving up runs so it’s scrutinized. If you can see improvements in areas, that’s there is a game plan you can at least say we have an idea what we want to do. It’s a very scrutinized position but it’s necessary position to keep guys prepared for 162 game season and help them understand themselves and their opponent. Give them a plan to execute a solid, fundamental at-bat.”

What have you seen of Abreau

“I watched video, I didn’t know specifically of him as I was watching the WBC a year ago. Strong man. Very strong man. Obviously has a good idea about his swing. He’s been playing a long time. One good thing I saw, there were home runs but he drove the ball up the middle and the other way a couple times, which shows he can use the whole field, not just a power hitter all or nothing kind of guy. He’ll take what’s given to him and do what’s necessary based on the position of the pitch. That’s a plus that he’s not coming in trying to be an all or nothing type of hitter. He has a clue of the strike zone and what he wants to do with the baseball.”

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