Keep the ball down in the strike zone. That point is pounded home for pitchers at a very young age. As you watch many big league pitchers work you will see a continued emphasis on keeping the ball down in the zone because hitters will punish pitches that are left up.
That approach does not always apply to all hitters, however. The one and only Mike Trout, superstar outfielder on the Los Angeles Angels, feasts on low pitches, something he reminded the baseball world again on Friday night with a walk-off home run in the team’s 7-6 victory over the Houston Astros.
As a glance on Trout’s heat map from this season will reveal, he mashes any pitch in the bottom part of the strike zone and even some pitches that are below the strike zone, according to pitchF/X data.
Dave Cameron of FanGraphs noted in an article last month that Trout specifically smashes all kinds of off-speed pitches down in the zone, yet teams continue working him that way. Less than a month later Tony Sipp threw Trout a slider down at his ankles in the ninth inning of a tie game, and once again Trout made him pay. Maybe these pitchers will finally learn.
Check out video of the walk-off home run below.