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You’ll hear coaches and hitting gurus say it all the time to hitters: “Keep it simple.” The natural question that follows from the hitter is, “What exactly does that mean?” It can mean a lot of things, from shortening your stride, limiting your pre-pitch bat wiggle, to your mental approach. Today we are addressing a simple hitting truth that is taught at the highest levels of baseball (MLB) and can be effectively applied to hitters at all levels.
The concept was first explained to me by Arizona Diamondbacks’ prospect, Adam Eaton when I asked him what hitting adjustments he’s had to make at the professional level. In the video below, Adam refers to it as keeping the “hitting highway” open. (I incorrectly refer to it as the hitting freeway in the video, but don’t hold it against me.) So what’s the “Hitting Highway”? It’s essentially the path that your hands and bat need to travel to hit the baseball. Think of it this way: Everything you put into that path (hands, shoulders, head, front foot, etc.) needs to be taken out of the path before your hands are freed up to hit a baseball.
Adam Eaton was a good hitter in college, but has a higher batting average this year in AAA (.384) than he ever had at Miami University. One of the reasons is that he changed his batting stance to a more upright position and freed up his hands to attack the hitting zone without any interruptions. Eaton’s batting stance used to be leaned over the plate more and sometimes his front foot stride would close him off. (This means that his front foot was more towards the left side of 2nd base for a left-handed hitter and opposite for a righty). This simple adjustment of keeping the “Hitting Highway” open has only made him better and can do the same for hitters at all levels.
Congrats to Adam on leading all of AAA baseball in All Star votes this year. We appreciate him taking a few minutes for NLB in the video below explaining the “Hitting Highway”.
PS. Make sure you watch until the very end for a little clip showing Eaton’s next big career move!