The type of pitch to hit depends on the hitter’s plan. Most hitters prefer to hit fastballs, and focus on timing and adjusting to the breaking ball or change up. However, if a hitter is looking for an off speed pitch and the pitcher sneeks in a fast ball, it is very difficult to find your timing with the ball.
DID YOU KNOW? Most pitchers cannot throw more than one breaking ball strike during an at-bat. Breaking balls are effective when the pitcher is ahead in the count, or against impatient hitters or hitters that swing outside the zone. If the hitter has a habit of chasing breaking balls, the pitcher may only throw one fast ball off the plate so the hitter has to chase it.
The experienced hitter will know which counts the pitcher will throw the breaking ball on. Knowing the pitchers tendencies gives the hitter a huge advantage. Pitchers are creatures of habit, so studying a pitcher’s tendences can lead to an understanding of the pitches he will throw. Ted Wiliams said that he didnt guess what pitches were being thrown, but anticipated what pitch was going to be thrown. Knowing the pitchers and the counts gave him a huge advantage.
Good hitting requires the hitter to learn how, when and where the pitcher will throw certain pitches. Guessing gives no solid facts or background knowledge to gain confidence from. Knowledge is information the hitter can trust, while guessing leads to scatterbrained thinking, which in turn leads to lack of success.
Baseball is a game of percentages. There are ball strike counts where a high percentage of fastballs are thrown, such as 0-0 counts (68%,) 1-0 count (84%), 2-0 count (93%), 3-0 count (98%.) Youth and high school teams rely pretty heavly on these strike counts. Hitters need to be aggressive and think every pitch is going to be a strike, and know the strike zone. If a hitter gets below in the strike count, he should try to hit the ball deep in the strike zone, allowing for more time to react and read the pitch.