The Boston Red Sox come to Kauffman Stadium this weekend; if you get a chance, come to a game early and watch batting practice. There’s something to be learned if you pay attention to what’s happening during BP. Short version?
Guys should take the same kind of swings in batting practice that they want to take in a game. If Alcides Escobar needs to concentrate on keeping the ball low and hitting it to the opposite field in a game, it’s a bad sign if you see him pulling the ball and hitting it in the air during BP. Not too many people are talented enough to play home-run derby in the afternoon and then hit opposite-field singles that night.
Batting practice is taken in groups, and Rusty Kuntz told me it’s a good idea to put similar hitters in the same group when you can. Put a little guy in with three power hitters, and pretty soon the little guy is lifting and pulling the ball. Put the same little guy in with hitters like Omar Infante and Nori Aoki and if he sees them hit low line drives the other way and up the middle, maybe the little guy will do the same.
George Brett once told me about being in the same hitting group as Bo Jackson. Bo would crush home runs and get the crowd jacked up. George would get competitive and decide to show the crowd he could do the same thing. By the time batting practice was over, Brett had hit a bunch of crowd-pleasing shots but taken bad BP.
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So when you watch batting practice, think about what kind of hitter you’re watching.
Read more on Lee Judge’s blog at KansasCity.com.