Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 09, 2004
BASEBALL: O The Patience
The Blue Jays, like the A's, have a brain trust committed to, among other things, patience at the plate. But while the A's have had some signal successes with that formula in the past, we have yet to really see dividends in Toronto.
One player on the Jays' roster who could use an infusion of patience is 26-year old second baseman Orlando Hudson, an athletic player who's flashed signs of power but has yet to make himself an offensive asset. Hudson drew just 39 walks last season. If you've been watching Hudson thus far for signs of patience, though, the early signs may be modestly encouraging.
Through the opening three-game set (albeit) against the Tigers, Hudson saw 4.09 pitches per plate appearance, up from 3.65 and 3.76 his first two seasons. Today, against the Red Sox and Bronson Arroyo, Hudson was a picture of patience his first four trips to the plate:
Second Inning, first and second, none out: Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Hudson walked.
Fourth Inning, leading off: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Hudson walked.
Fifth Inning, second and third, one out: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Hudson struck out looking, Hinske caught stealing, catcher to shortstop.
Eighth Inning, runner on first, one out: Foul, Ball, Ball, Hudson doubled to center, Hinske scored
In the ninth, however, Hudson faced David McCarty, making his debut as a pitcher with a runner on first and one out; Hudson swung at McCarty's first pitch and grounded out. I wasn't watching the game; maybe McCarty threw him a meatball. Still, you'd like a guy to take a pitch in that situation, see what McCarty has to offer and whether he can get the ball over the plate in a real game.
Overall, though, looks like another small step towards Hudson learning a valuable skill: 5 plate appearances, 23 pitches seen (4.6/plate appearance), including 13 balls, three strikes taken, 5 fouled off, and an extra-base hit. Keep your eyes on Hudson to see if this keeps up; if it does, I wouldn't be surprised to see more power follow from forcing pitchers to throw him better pitches.