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CMD has been clear that he supports moving base runners as part of his game strategy.  I took a look at current overall statistics of SEC teams to see if it reveals any useful insight (as if I would recognize insight).  Keep in mind that all teams have not played the same number of games so I defaulted to percentages for comparisons.  First off, Auburn is next to last in BA at .280, just ahead of last place LSU at .268.  Kentucky on top at .364 while the conference average is .308.  With a “low end” batting average maybe we require another way to produce base runners. You can get on base via a walk but as a % of our AB we rank lowest in the conference at 9% of our AB.  Next lowest is 12% while  TA&M came in at 18%.  In our 49 SB attempts we have a success rate of 82%, a success rate we share with  TA&M and  1%  above KY. I discarded Arkansas because they show only 3 attempts with 1 SB which seemed to be confirmed looking at their team page.  LSU was the leader (39-40) with 98%, so if they get someone on base they are successful moving them forward.  Tennessee and Florida were at 96% with Georgia at 93%.

How much success do teams have when attempting a SB vs Auburn; I calculate 88%, which is 2nd highest opponent success rate.  LSU was highest at 94%.  I don’t know if Ole Miss has a super human catcher that strikes fear into opponents but there have been only 7 attempts with a 57% success rate.  Arkansas (65%) and South Carolina (68%) also rated well.  BAMA was at 71%. 

Looking at the above it appears we have trouble getting on base period; either by hits or by walks.  When we do get on base, we are far from the most successful team at advancing the runner and our opponents are more successful at it than we are.  This is not intended to be a critical analysis of the staff or team and looks primarily at creating offense and means pitching and fielding will need to be top notch to be successful (a formula Florida has used for at least a couple of years.

As an aside, I wanted to mention something I noticed in the stats.  AU has fewest HR in the conference at 13.  Alabama has only 16 which surprised me and Florida 18.  Arkansas, with a team BA of .286 has 56 HR and one of their players, Braxton Burnside, has 15 herself which exceeds the total Auburn team effort.

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You mean we might not win the conference?😮  Seriously, I've been thinking about the same general topic.  Thanks for your research in fleshing it out.  Clearly, we have the same problem we've had since 2017.   

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Questions for the interweb coaches:

1. There is a saying "You cannot teach a player how to hit. They either can or they can't." Y'all think this is true ?

2. Have we failed to recruit many players that can hit, or do the players that we have need a better batting coach ?

3. Although we seem to have shown a bit of improvement, would a better ability to bunt help the team ?

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Good hitting is clearly an asset for success but seemingly there is more than one way to skin the cat.  I have noted in the past that in 2019 Florida won the SEC Softball Championship, their regionals and super regionals and lost in 1st round of College World Series.  In SEC games they finished last in batting (AU was 3rd from last), 4th in pitching ((AU 10th)and 2nd in fielding.  In the overall season stats Florida finished  last in batting average, 1st in pitching era and 1st in fielding pct.  Recall their stud pitcher Barnhill was pitched in the post season until her arm fell off.  She pitched 66 innings in 10 post season games.  Last game in loser's bracket of WCWS lost to BAMA and got pulled after 2/3 inning after giving up 6 runs.  BAMA ended up winning 15 - 3 (3rd most runs scored against Gators in team history).  In the bottom of 4th inning and behind 11 - 0 Walton reinserted Barnhill for one pitch (a strike) and then pulled her for the ovation she deserved. This year the Gators have a similar profile except they are currently middle of the pack as far as era rather than last.  So basically it seems you can win with good pitching and fielding even if not a superior hitting team.  

Something I have wondered about is that if you read player bio you find that Penta and Dismukes were both good hitters in HS.  He clearly allowed his star pitcher to bat when at James Madison but that has not been the case at AU ( I did see Makayla bat in a couple of fall ball games) and I am not sure I would want to take the chance.  Recall Rainey Gaffin (P/UT) at  Tennessee suffered an at bat  arm fracture during a game.

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I think it is more natural or self-developed ability than coaching at the college level.  Notice Tina Deese recruited the bulk of our 2015 and 2016 teams, who got to the WCWS with hitting. When those players (Estell, Rhodes, Carosone, Melero) graduated, the hitting dropped off.  I think coaches could help batters recognize pitchers' tactics and patterns, and recognize and control tendencies in themselves.  There seems to be an acclimatization period as the new player becomes accustomed to the pitching at this level, after which the player reaches her potential; but after that, further improvement is not seen.  For example, Rivera is no better a hitter today than she was as a sophomore.

If we're going to use the bunt extensively, then all the players should be good bunters, capable of bunting in the direction they want.  Otherwise, it's losing strategy.

 

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I believe hitting is a process that takes several years to become very good at. There is no mastering hitting, a player is always trying to find their swing everyday. Now there are fundamentals to hitting and that is where a good hitting coaches can do wonders. For example look at Duke Softball and Coach Bloomer. Also look at Texas Softball and Coach Singleton. Those guys have come in and had immediate success. The players have bought in to their hitting style and philosophy. Hitting takes two main components: very good swing fundamentals and a very good mental game. Hitting is hard. If you bat .350 or .400 you are considered a very good hitter in softball. That means you will fail at least 6 out of 10 times. It takes a strong mind to deal with that failure.  

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We are 13th (or 12th) in almost every SEC offensive category. This weekend will be an interesting juxtaposition because Mizzou is a hitting team with questionable pitcing at times (almost a complete reverse of AU). 

I hate to say it, but I think our lack of offense could be the difference in the series. I would love if this is the weekend that we put it together on the road because most people regard Mizzou as a better team. 

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3 hours ago, all4AU said:

We are 13th (or 12th) in almost every SEC offensive category. This weekend will be an interesting juxtaposition because Mizzou is a hitting team with questionable pitcing at times (almost a complete reverse of AU). 

I hate to say it, but I think our lack of offense could be the difference in the series. I would love if this is the weekend that we put it together on the road because most people regard Mizzou as a better team. 

That's hard to swallow after what we all know Auburn is capable of doing, from the Myers years.  Borderline unacceptable if this staff doesn't get things turned around pronto.

JMHO on this, i'm not bashing the coaching staff.......yet. 

  

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On 3/24/2021 at 7:31 PM, Hspoprn said:

3. Although we seem to have shown a bit of improvement, would a better ability to bunt help the team ?

Statistically, bunting is a loser. Now on rare occasions there may be a situation late in a game when, if the batter is a skilled bunter it might be the thing to do. Just as not every batter is a good home run hitter, not every batter is a capable bunter. Bunting takes a certain knack and many players don't have it. The team's coach needs to know his players and only call for a bunt when the right hitter is at the plate.The hitter's bunting ability needs to be considered every bit as much as the game situation before a bunt is called for.

That's my experience with baseball and I don't see why softball should be different.

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