In the year that Brady Anderson hit 50 homers, in 1996, Orioles hitting coach Rick Down remarked that he had never before seen a player have success with the approach that Anderson took that year: He swung as hard as he could at everything. He swung hard on the first pitch; he swung hard on the second pitch; he swung hard on two-strike counts. And he just kept hitting homer after homer after homer.
Anderson was a man ahead of his time, in how he had a mathematician’s attitude toward walks, strikeouts, and homers, believing that it was his job to score runs. But the approach Anderson used at the plate has gained the full acceptance of many hitters, who don’t worry about cutting down on their swing in two-strike counts and swing hard throughout at-bats, to combat a generation of pitchers who throw harder than any of their predecessors.
The Twins' Brian Dozier is the best example of that: He swings hard, puts the ball in the air and does a lot of damage throughout the ball-strike counts.
Homers with zero strikes: 13
Homers with one strike: 17
Homers with two strikes: 9
Dozier had a two-run double against Cleveland on Friday. Maybe Byron Buxton has learned something from Dozier’s approach: Buxton has hit better, and with a whole lot of power, since his most recent return from the minors. He homered again Friday and has five homers in his past eight games, with 13 hits in 30 at-bats, including four doubles.