The Yankees are keeping it simple. See the ball, hit the ball


The Yankees are at the top of the game in making technology accessible to any player who wants to use it to enhance their game. But with this group, they see the ball, and they hit the ball. And they score lots of runs.

The Yankees Double-A Trenton ballclub, unlike the team in the Bronx, relies heavily on the use of video to make themselves better individually.

Miguel Andujar, an off and on again top Yankees prospect, recently credited his 14-game hitting streak to watching video, telling

"“I feel good,” Andujar said through a translator. “I am just trying to do what I do every day: practicing hard, looking at video, and even though I am seeing the ball well, keeping my daily routine.“I kept with the process. I was looking at video, and I saw that what I was doing wasn’t what I do when I produce well. So, by looking at the video, I was able to find that thing that was holding me back.”"

And if you’re in the Bronx with the Yankees, you can order up a specially designed compilation of all your at-bats against a particular pitcher, and it’ll be in your locker the next day where you can watch the video at your leisure, or if you choose, with one of the hitting coaches.

These Yankees don’t need video, and they don’t need to make a science out of hitting a baseball.

But it’s all a matter of choice. Ted Williams, the master of all things, hitting, along with Pete Rose would undoubtedly be regulars in the video room looking for that one little thing they could turn to their advantage if they were playing today.

Not with these Yankees, though

But the 2017 version of the New York Yankees have dipped back into an adage in baseball and are finding great success in employing it. It’s the one that says, look for the ball, see the ball, and hit the ball. Oh, and one other thing, have fun doing it.

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Typically, that would invoke the idea that the Yankees are a bunch of free swingers who go up to the plate without an idea in their head. Except that’s not true as we proved the other day when I pointed out that Aaron Judge, Matt Holliday, and Brett Gardner all place in the Top Ten in the number of pitches seen per at-bat. And Chase Headley comes in at #13.

Up and down the lineup, the Yankees are seeing the ball from the moment it leaves the pitcher’s hand to the time it crosses the plate, or not.

They’ll tell you to look for the spin because that’ll signal, slider, change, etc. But that takes time to decipher, and you only have a precious half-a-second to hit a 95 mph fastball, so why use the time that way.

Instead, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Hicks, and now even Chris Carter can be seen following the flight of the ball with their eyes and wherever the path takes the until their bat meets the ball, more often than not in the sweet spot.

Video courtesy of the YES Network

Pete Rose can tell you the pitch he hit and what the count was the last time he faced Greg Maddox in a night game. That was Rose’s way of having fun.

Judge, on the other hand, would probably be hard-pressed to tell you who the pitcher was when he hit that 450 ft. blast the other day, or what the previous pitch was before he launched that 495 ft. Bomb yesterday.

Free-wheeling hitters and finesse pitchers

As a fan, I’ve always preferred the free-wheeling style of hitting and the finesse style of pitching. Watching CC Sabathia take apart a lineup piece by piece gives me the same jolt of enthusiasm as watching Sanchez punch one the other way into the bleachers.

And that doesn’t mean that Vladimir Guerrero should be held up on a pedestal because he hit doubles on balls that bounced off the plate. But it does give extra credence to hitters like Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols, who like Judge and Sanchez, see the pitch they want and they hit it – hard!

And it hardly matters whether the pitch is a curveball, splitter, slider, whatever.

Balls that are hit 121 mph, as Judge did yesterday while keeping MLB Statcast working overtime, are not an accident. And sometimes they’re not even the fault of the pitcher. Instead, the credit should go to the batter who simply see the ball and hits the ball.

These Yankees don’t need video, and they don’t need to make a science out of hitting a baseball. And in this day and age where technology is everything, that is a very refreshing thing to see in baseball.