Clay, home run question...

From what I understand, this is the FIRST time that Ar. had led the SEC in home runs.
Do you have any thoughts on wether or not coach has any concerns about this affecting his teams approach at the plate. I know after Sunday’s sweep that he was happy to see the that his kids played more small ball and didn’t try to play the home run derby route.
They are obviously a powerful line up and with the showing to this point, do you think they are thinking too much about it?
This is a very fun team to watch. I love the HR production. You just never know when it’s coming.

Obviously, I’m not Clay.

But in reading your question, my response is that a team doesn’t necessarily have to be one kind of team (“Big bang”), or the other (“small ball”). As it turns out, most are (one or the other).

Having watched DVH’s teams at Arkansas, it’s clear to me that he embraces small ball techniques and will never totally abandon them, no matter how much HR power he has in the dugout. On the other hand, he’s a smart dude and he certainly understands that he has the type of long-ball hitters on this team - top to bottom - that he hasn’t had on one squad before.

So, I think what you will see is a mixture. I don’t think we’ll see as much small-ball as we have the last 5 years (when DVH rightly moved strongly to a small ball attack, when the bats were deadened). I think we’ll see less bunting runners from first to second early in games, which was almost an automatic tactic in 2011-2014. Now, he might modify that for a game against a dominant pitcher. But, by and large, I think DVH will give his big bats a chance to be a factor through 5 or 6 innings before he turns to small-ball tactics. Of course, that also depends on how our pitching trends the rest of the season.

These are some of the things that makes baseball the nuanced game that it is. Everybody knows and understands ball and strikes, home runs and strikeouts. But there are so many ways to approach how to score more runs in 9 innings than your opponent does, and a lot of room for second- guessing when it doesn’t work. As some local DFW radio guys are fond of saying, that’s why baseball is “the talking sport”.

I think there is danger in going for the home run. You see it with players, but not entire teams. I thought Bernal slipped into that mode last year. He was really on an uppercut binge at one point and had to be slowed down. Too many strikeouts.

Shaddy understands line drives are his ticket. His home runs are generally line drives that just happen to get out.

Koch is a flat swing guy, but does lift the ball too much when he pulls off of it. When he’s going up the middle, he seems to have better success. But he’s young and they know how to coach him away from that.

Bonfield is the most mature in his approach. He’s going to try to hit to all fields and if they leave it inner half and up, he’ll jerk them out of the park. But the highlight of the weekend was that he got his home run with an opposite-field shot.

This is a team that was expected to hit home runs. There is a little bit more power scattered through the lineup. They hit home runs in the fall.

But as you saw yesterday, they will use the bunt, too. It was a fun weekend in that this team displayed that it could pitch, hit, hit with power and play defense. There were some terrific plays in the field, although Shaddy and Spanberger each made an error.

Thanks for the reply.
Like I said, this team is very physical and has power up and down the line up. It is a fun and exciting team to watch.
Agreed, that the quality of pitching we face will determine strategy. It’s a big, big plus that this team is very versatile it its approach at the plate. I just don’t believe there is a better coach than DVH. I can’t imagine the the disappointment he suffered from the results of last season. I’m sure he is feeling much better in this season so far. Great way to open the SEC season.

Fletcher, Biggers and McFarland have some home run power. It’s a more physical team for sure.