Patience at the plate wins ball games.

patience

Jackie Bradley, Jr. shows his patience at the plate! Photo courtesy of www.csnne.com

Have you ever been to a lower level baseball game, like a high school or even little league game? If you have, I can guarantee that you’ve heard someone at some point yell at the batter, “make him pitch to you!” I can also promise that you’ve probably seen the kid swinging at the air, chasing pitches, because he was too impatient to wait for a good pitch. What is the result? Most likely the batter strikes out and goes back to the bench.

Patience at the plate is key, yet it is one of the most challenging things for young players to remember.

Why is patience so important?

  • If the batter waits for a quality pitch, the pitcher’s pitch count will go up. This results in the pitcher getting tired faster, thus causing more bad pitches creating more batters to walk.
  • Waiting for a good pitch allows the batter to see more pitches. Seeing more pitches makes it easier to find the right pitch for the batter to knock it out of the park. Also, waiting makes the batter more familiar with the pitcher.
  • Pitchers tend to get frustrated when batters aren’t swinging. Frustrated pitchers end up making mistakes.
  • Batters can’t score if they strike out. Working up the pitch count can end up in a walk more often than not. A walk puts the batter on base where he’ll be able to score.
  • Patience at the plate is extremely important for speedier players. If they can get to first base on a walk, they’re an even bigger threat to steal.

The takeaway: If the batter tires out the pitcher, they’re more likely to score.

Usually, younger players are not collectively known for being patient at the plate. However, on Monday’s Opening Day game against the Yankees, the Red Sox saw 22 year old rookie Jackie Bradley, Jr. staying very calm and keeping his patience at the plate. As a result, he had 3 of the 8 Red Sox walks in the game. Pitchers are going to hate this kid. He’s a young player with patience and a lot of speed. He’s going to be stealing left and right, but only if he stays patient and gets on base. Lucky for Red Sox fans, he can hit, too. So as long as he stays patient on base as well as at the plate, he’ll be golden.

Bradley Jr.’s walks were part of the plate-patience effort of the Red Sox that led Yankee pitcher CC Sabathia to tire out early. Thanks to team patience, we’re able to celebrate an Opening Day 8-2 victory for the Sox.

Let’s just hope that his plate patience rubs off on the rest of the team!

 

Vernon Wells: Signed, sealed, and delivered to the Yankees

Vernon Wells

Vernon Wells officially joined the Yankees this past Tuesday, March 26. In exchange for the left fielder, the Yankees shelled out minor leaguers Exircado Cayones (outfielder) and Kramer Sneed (left handed pitcher) to the Angels.

The addition of Vernon Wells, and the $42 million dollars that is left on his contract, put the Yankees as the team with the highest projected payroll on Opening Day. However, if you read the original Vernon Wells post, you know that the Los Angeles Angels are paying for $28.1 million of his remaining salary. This deal will help the Angels stay under the tax luxury threshold this season, which is currently $178 million. When it rises to $189 million in 2014, this deal will also help the Yankees get under the threshold.

Apparently, joining the New York Yankees has been a sort of dream to Wells. He became a fan of the Yankees when he was in AAA Syracuse in 1999. The team played the Yankee’s farm team in Columbus and he got to play against the infamous Daryl Strawberry.

“I remember the first time I played the Triple-A Yankees when I was 20 years old and [Darryl] Strawberry was on that team,” he said. “It was the first time that I actually got goose bumps playing against another team. From that day, I’ve quietly been a Yankees fan. Obviously not when we played against the Yankees, but every time or any time the Yankees were in the playoffs and I was sitting at home, I was cheering for the Yankees.”

On receiving the news of his trade:

“They called me into the office and said they have a deal in place. When they told me the team, I tried not to smile too big in the office.”

Well, good for him. I’m always excited for players that get to play where they want to play. There’s more good news for Wells: former Blue Jays teammate, Lyle Overbay, has just signed with the Yankees as well! As of right now, both will be starting for the team on Opening Day.

All that aside, I’m personally not thrilled that Wells is part of the Yankees. However, if he plays like he has the past year or two, he’ll be no threat for Boston this year. In the past two years, he’s batted .222. He’s averaged 18 home runs and 47 RBIs a season. He only played 77 games last year after he tore a ligament in his right thumb. Wells’ .230 average, 11 home runs, and 29 RBIs are his career lows. I don’t think the Red Sox will have much to worry about.