Justin Turner recently talked hitting with David Laurila of Fangraphs and had some pretty interesting quotes regarding his approach and the idea of the fly ball revolution along with the common misconception of what it entails.
Justin Turner Talks Hitting | FanGraphs Baseball https://t.co/j6xgK5oDnf
— Doug Latta (@LattaDoug) July 18, 2019
In the beginning of the conversation, Laurila asked Turner about his willingness to get jammed, citing the common phrase: ‘good hitters want to get jammed:
“That’s one of the old cliches of hitting: Let the ball get deep; back the ball up. I think that’s a very old-school mentality of hitting. You see a lot of guys who kind of get out over their front side, and chase off-speed. Personally, I have my eyes set out in front of me. I have my zone where I want to hit the ball, and I want to make contact out in front. If I’m on time, I shouldn’t get jammed.”
Hitters these days keep on getting better and better as the science behind hitting improves and the knowledge base we have on kinetic chain and the like gets broader.
JT on the Fly Ball Revolution
When asked about the concept that line drives up the middle are no longer sure things for hits, JT responded by saying this:
“Ground balls in general aren’t hits anymore. With all the information, the shifts, the defensive positioning, it’s hard to get a ground-ball base hit now. That said, I think there’s a misconception about launch angle. A lot of people think it means you want to hit fly balls all the time. Well, line drives are air-balls, too. It’s not about hitting a fly ball, it’s about not hitting a ground ball.”
That is an interesting way of approaching hitting and he is exactly correct. When most hitters discuss the importance of optimal launch angle, they are not discussing their willingness to hit the ball out of the ballpark. When you fully understand what the revolution is, you understand that this type of thinking would be counterintuitive for a hitter. There is a major difference between a fly ball and a line drive and both are achieved by using different launch angles — the former using a launch angle to large and the latter entailing the use of optimal launch angle.
The idea is complex, but hitters like Justin Turner are elite because of what they know regarding this ‘revolution’ and how it can benefit them at the plate.
Turner remains one of the game’s elite third basemen and is currently slashing .297/.373/.469 across 89 games this season.