The Los Angeles Dodgers undoubtedly have one of the best lineups in baseball, and they also have depth beyond that, meaning a number of their bench players would likely start in many other organizations.
One player who falls under that category is Matt Beaty, who has begun swinging the bat well after a slow start to the season. In the last five games, Beaty is hitting .500/.571/.833 with a double, home run and four RBI.
That’s a drastic improvement on his .100 batting average and .432 on-base plus slugging percentage through the first 10 games. “Just trying not to chase hits,” Beaty said of the turnaround.
“I think I was kind of pressing a little bit the first couple weeks instead of just going up there and doing what I do best, and that’s trying to hit the ball hard. That’s kind of been my goal the last week and a half, just try to go up there, put the ball in play, and it’s been working for me.”
He added that mentally reminding himself not to press at the plate has also been key, along with watching teammates when they are batting.
“I would say my approach is getting better and just knowing how pitchers are going to attack me, knowing what my strengths are versus their strengths, and weaknesses or vice versa, whatever it is,” Beaty explained.
“Just going up there with a game plan every single at-bat, throughout the at-bat noticing counts, how they’re pitching, watching Seager, Muncy, Belli, Joc, all of those left-handed bats and seeing how they’re pitching those guys.”
David Freese, in particular, is one of Beaty’s former teammates who has lent assistance. “Freeser talked to me a lot about that last year,” Beaty said.
“Just watching the game and how the pitcher attacks guys in front of you and what’s he landing for strikes, how’s he moving his fastball in and out of the zone, up, down, whatever it is. Going up there with a game plan helps a lot.
“I talked to him right before the season started. Just congratulating him for a newborn. He’s a great teammate, he’s missed this year for sure, but I think he’s doing alright.”
Freese is known to be on of MLB’s all-time clutch postseason hitters. He spent the last two seasons with the Dodgers before announcing his retirement at the end of the 2019 season.
Beaty swinging at first pitch more often
Another of the reasons for Beaty’s recent success is that he began swinging at the first pitch more frequently. While that is not a conscious effort, he does believe he is stepping into the box ready from the first pitch on now.
“I just try to go up there and be ready. If my timing is off a little bit, maybe I’ll see a pitch or two, work the count, try to get my rhythm going. Right now, I feel pretty good up there. Just go up there and try to hit the ball hard,” Beaty said.
“If it’s over the plate and something I can drive, I like to pull the trigger as soon as possible, not waste any strikes. That’s just kind of how it’s going for me right now. It can change over time, but that’s how the game is rolling for me right now.”
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