Everybody’s favorite player, Hunter Pence, had a plan. After twelve pretty successful big league seasons, he felt he needed to rebuild his swing.
So he went to the guy credited with turning Justin Turner into the hitter he is. That is quite a resumé.
His name is Doug Latta. He’s an independent hitting coach in Los Angeles. And from all accounts, he’s the real deal. Latta isn’t about launch angles and hitting home runs which is the flavor of the month right now in baseball. He is all about keeping the bat in the strike zone for as long as possible.
“It’s simple math,” Pence was quoted as saying. “The longer your barrel is in the zone, the better your have of hitting.”
Pence is coming off a season where he put up career lows in most stats, mainly due to a sprained thumb, which is to a hitter what a sore shoulder is to a pitcher. It’s hard to work around.
Pence is so eager to get results that he made a move that’s unusual for someone of his status. He played winter ball in the Dominican League. In eight games he hit .280 with a home run. Not earth shattering, to be sure, but even better. Confidence building. And for a hitter confidence is 99 percent of the deal.
You have to love a guy that loves the game so much he is willing to reinvent himself to stay in it.