What is a “hitter’s count?”

August 18, 2017 | Category: Hitting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

A hitter’s count is any count where the hitter has the advantage. This could be a number of counts; 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-0, or 3-1. The batter can be aggressive or selective in this situation. The pitcher may feel a little pressure to throw a strike in these circumstances. Confidence plays a huge role into an at-bat. When a hitter or pitcher has confidence they usually make better decisions. They think less and go with their instincts.

“2-0 for the hitter means that you will probably get a fastball and now is the time to send it for a ride.”

-Casey Medairy, Coach COA

There are a lot of considerations to weigh in on for which approach to take as a hitter. The pitcher really doesn’t want to throw two balls in a row. In a 1-0 count as a hitter you are thinking fastball but most likely painting the corners. The pitcher shouldn’t let a batter off that easily but getting ahead early is the number one priority. 2-0 for the hitter means that you will probably get a fastball and now is the time to send it for a ride. I use “swinging out of your shoes” loosely and this is an appropriate time to do so. Some of the best pitches a hitter sees all day is in a 2-0 count. Pitchers hate 3-0 counts and the last thing they want to do is throw another ball. They will always go to their best pitch that day on a 3-0 count. For some, that might not always be a fastball. Maybe it’s their change up because they can’t find the zone. This is where the hitter has to be in tune with the pitcher’s tendencies and rhythm. Maintain good mechanics and give it everything you’ve got in your swing.

Let’s say the hitter misses it. 2-1 is not such a bad count for a hitter. The pitcher still has to get out of a hole. A hitter can afford to take another strike if needed but three balls never looks great to a pitcher. Pitchers may try to mix things up in an attempt to get the hitter to swing at something off speed and recover from a tough at-bat. Call it immature, call it confidence. Either way, it has to be a strike. Hitters should be selective. Have a pitch in mind that you hit very well. Maybe it’s an inside fastball. Maybe it’s a high outside fastball. Almost everyone hits fastballs better than curve balls so a fastball in a hitter’s wheelhouse here shouldn’t be missed. Pitchers should get to know the hitter throughout the at-bat. Try to find out where the hitter likes to hit pitches and avoid throwing it in their zone but make sure it’s a strike.

“This pitch is going to be a not-so-fast fastball down the middle. Crush it!”

-Casey Medairy, Coach COA

3-0 counts are a very hot topic in baseball right now. Most coaches say that it is an automatic take. If you think about it from a hitter’s stand point, this pitch will be the closest thing to a batting practice pitch you will ever see in a game. Treat it that way. This pitch is going to be a not-so-fast fastball down the middle. Crush it! But there is a time and a place to do so. Don’t swing if the game is a blowout. Don’t swing if you there are runners on base with two outs. Don’t swing if your coach tells you not to. Swing if you are confident in yourself and your abilities to hit a hard line drive somewhere. Walks are good things and so is a 3-1 count. Taking it is perfectly fine and a traditional strategy. Knowing this, pitcher’s may consider the option of walking a good hitter at hopes to starting a new count with a weaker hitter. I don’t agree with throwing a ball but I do agree with throwing a pitch somewhere on the edge of the strike zone to try and catch a hitter is a weak part of the strike zone.

Hitter’s in 3-1 counts should be even more selective. It has got to be your favorite pitch. Expect it to be throw so you are ready for it but at the first glance of anything other than should be taken. Young pitchers treat this like a 3-0 count in fear of walking someone where mature pitchers still work around a hitter’s wheelhouse. Don’t throw a hitter their favorite pitch, ever. Mix up your pitch heights and locations within the strike zone.

-Casey Medairy, Coach COA

If you enjoyed this blog and want to see more, SHARE and FOLLOW @CoachCOA on Facebook. Subscribe to our YouTube channel @CoachCOA. Follow us on Twitter @Coach_COA.

Check out more on our website, CoachCOA.com where coaches save hours of time planning practices and have access to other instructional videos by using the Practice Builder app.

Get Instant Access to the Builder
coach coa logo