Own (control) the middle 10 inches of the plate from waist to kneecap with less than 2 strikes. Below are 2013 MLB stats based on pitch location. 50% + of the pitches are in the middle area of the plate. Control the middle of the plate (eliminate the inside 3.5 inches & outside 3.5 inches) and you will have the best chance to control that part of the zone where most of the pitches end up. Based on the pitcher’s tendency, you can move that 10 inches in or out, but in general it’s hard to cover 17 inches of width (really 22 inches because a pitch that touches the corner is a strike and the ball is 2.5 inches wide). It’s difficult (a) to get to the ball on the inner 3.5 inches of the plate and (b) keep it fair. It’s difficult to get the barrel of the bat to the outer 3.5 inches of the plate. The lowest stats are on balls in & out.
Secondly, find the ball flight that best fits your physical skills. Whether you are fit for a more elevated power approach or a less elevated non-power approach, you rarely will be penalized if you consistently hit line drives. In all your drill work, focus externally on the ball flight result of your swing vs. internal mechanical thoughts. Below is some MLB data on ball flight:
Finally, attack the middle of the field (gap to gap). Below is MLB batting average by the part of the field you attack:
A future blog will address 2 strike approaches because 48% of at bats in the MLB go to 2 strikes.