First, Pedro Martinez pointed out something really fun about hitters at the plate, and how they basically tell the pitcher where they want the ball as they step into the box. Watch the waggle.
Bumgarner said he wouldn’t use it much, but that’s because he doesn’t really plan for hitters that way. Scouting reports? “We can get em, I don’t really,” he said. “I got everything in my memory bank.” He’d tried planning for each hitter before, but then he said he got too rigid and had a hard time adjusting. “I don’t have a gameplan when I go out there — I mean I have my gameplan going out there, but my game plan is to get outs and adjust as I need to, and try to read the situation. I’m not dead set on what I’m going to do before the game starts.”
Hudson laughed when he heard the youngster’s prep work. “Don’t ask any young stud about their prep work,” the veteran Giants starter said. “They haven’t had to figure it out. They just throw the glove out there and get shutouts.”
But when Hudson goes to prepare for the game, he gets fairly granular. “I look at the scouting reports and tendencies, what they can hit, what they can’t hit,” Hudson said. “Pitches in certain counts and certain zones. Breaking balls, where in the zone. If there are some red flags with a hitter, you want to know those.”
This isn’t all pitchers all the time, but Hudson and Bumgarner prepare for the game with drastically different styles. And, in both cases, as cool as this Bat Waggle thing is, it’s not super useful. Either the pitcher isn’t looking to scout the hitter that way, or the pitcher has already seen the heat maps that tell you that Albert Pujols likes high pitches.
With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.