I just watched Oscar Taveras’ 81st plate appearance of the 2014 MLB season, then tweeted this:
Folks are going to begin to panic on Oscar Taveras after 81 plate appearances. Don’t be one of them. His timing/rhythm is off. He will hit.
I became frustrated upon seeing this response:
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@gabekapler timing get off because pitchers are just better? More stuff to keep them off balance? Quicker to the plate?
Enter, Baseball Joe.
From time to time during every hitter’s season, they experience difficulty getting in sync with the cadence of the pitcher. Often, they’ll overcompensate a rushed visceral feeling by beginning their load too early, thereby creating a start and stop swing. There are many variables to consider, such as pitchers who regularly change up their delivery times, but inevitably over the course of 162 you just find yourself "off". A lack of confidence can create jerky actions and a frenzied stride.
Most often, a mental rather than a mechanical adjustment related to calming down the mind is necessary. The fix is not the same for every hitter and it is a mistake to write the same prescription for all. For Taveras, his timing issues are unrelated to elevated competition levels. He’ll simply need to employ trial and error as he learns how to manage his tempo.