Evan Longoria and the B-hack | The Process Report

Evan Longoria and the B-hack

In a 2007 interview with Baseball Prospectus Joe Maddon explained the “B-hack” to David Laurila:

JM: I think you can, I really do What I’m talking about is that when you get to two strikes, you go to what I call “The B-hack.” For me, what that means is making a mental alteration as opposed to a distinct physical one. The “B-hack” consists of maybe choking up a little bit, looking away first, and thinking fastball first. I think that too many guys, by staying at the end of the bat, lose control of the head of the bat. I think that by not looking fastball, and thinking soft instead, when you get something hard you basically have no chance. I also think that when you’re looking middle/in, and the pitcher goes away, you basically have no chance. However, when you’re looking away, and he throws it in, you do. So, I’d like to set these parameters for hitters to work with.


Although Evan Longoria has not recorded an extra-base hit yet he has done a nice job showing off his B-hack. Take the two images below as an example. Both came during last Monday’s game against Rangers starter Alexei Ogando. In the image on the left Longoria is going the other way with a fastball off the plate. In the other image Longoria is taking a slider back up the middle for a single. As you can see both pitches were off the plate, however, Longoria’s great hands allowed him to extend and get the bat head on both just enough to make it count:

longohands

These are just two cherry-picked instances but so far Longoria has shown a different approach on two-strike counts. His contact rate is currently a career-best since 2009 as he’s whiffing on fewer than 18 percent of the two-strike pitches at which he’s swung. All told six of Longoria’s 10 hits have come on two-strike counts. Yet even with the seeming shift in success and approach Longoria has kept his zone for the most part:

strike-zone

Of course this is a small sample and it’s possibly not representative of an actual shift in philosophy. Just keep the B-hack in mind as the season progresses—especially if Longoria keeps taking his.



2 Comments

  1. […] he had two positive plate appearances that involved a well-struck base hit to the left side and a B-hack at a pitch on the outer half that went to the warning track in right field. Longoria getting his […]

  2. […] thing Myers shares with Evan Longoria. Like Longoria, Myers has shown an affinity for the “B-Hack.” The B-Hack approach as Rays’ manager Joe Maddon explains is “maybe choking up a […]

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