New hitting coach Seitzer discusses his approach

Former All-Star held position with D-backs, Royals and Blue Jays

New hitting coach Seitzer discusses his approach

Kevin Seitzer certainly was not at a loss for words when he was introduced as the Braves' new hitting coach on Monday. Seitzer, who has previously held this same role with the D-backs, Royals and Blue Jays, will attempt to instill a new mindset that could prove beneficial to Atlanta's young, aggressive offense that struggled throughout the 2014 season.

Below are some of the most interesting things Seitzer had to say when he spoke to a group of Atlanta reporters about his new opportunity.

On being a hitting coach who preaches hitting the ball up the middle and the other way:

Seitzer: I kind of feel that is one of my big strengths, being able to show guys how to hit the ball the other way. When I first became a hitting coach, I was kind of an anomaly from a sense that I didn't like guys to go up there and just try to turn and burn on pitches, just because you're so vulnerable to [many different pitches]. The way I present it to hitters is you can pick your spot when you want to go early on a guy. If you get yourself in a good hitting count and you're going up against a guy that doesn't have very good command where you think he might make a mistake middle-in, but you pick that spot and it's not a way of life. It's a pitch here or a pitch there. It doesn't mean [you do that] every time you get a 2-0 or 3-1 count. It's when you're feeling good and you're feeling right and you want to take a shot.

But the majority of the time, you need to stay in the middle of the field. Then, when you get deeper into the count and you get two strikes, then you have to stay on the fastball, but you try to hit the fastball the other way, which will give you a better chance on the secondary stuff. That plays into hitting into [defensive] shifts. That plays into hitting with a runner on third base with less than two outs when you've got the infield in or the corners in and middle back. There are times that you'll pick this tool out of your toolbox and make this your plan of attack and approach in order to beat the guy.

I'm a big fan of a home run too. I might be the biggest fan on the planet in that I love homers. But I know how you get homers and how you don't get them. Going up and trying to hit homers is exactly the recipe for not only not hitting for power, but for not hitting for average and striking out more and walking less, and being in terrible hitting counts. All of these things play into being able to hit the ball the other way and picking your spot when you're going to go early. But probably 75 percent of the time, you're going to stay in the middle of the field and stay aggressive, which will allow you to have better [pitch] recognition.

On how to improve approaches and situational hitting:

Seitzer: The more guys try to stay in the middle of the field, it seems like the more home runs that they hit, the more they hit for extra-base hits and hit for power, better [slugging percentage] and better OPS. That generates more runs. Frankly, this is all about scoring more runs. To be able to help the guys think a little different with men in scoring position or in situational at-bats, I'm big on every single bitty detail to generate runs. There might be a three-, four- or five-hitter that needs to try to hit the ball the other way and beat a shift if we're in a tight game with two outs in the ninth with a man in scoring position. So we're going to work on it. We'll work on it during batting practice. It will be a part of the daily routine. I've had a pretty set program that has really been successful at every place I've been, so I'm looking forward to getting with these guys to hopefully turn this thing around.

On the success some of his former Royals players have had en route to the World Series:

Seitzer: It's a tremendous satisfaction. Alex Gordon was kind of at the end of his rope [when I was in Kansas City]. We made some major adjustments and a total overhaul. My last year there, they wanted more home runs. I said this lineup with these young kids aren't ready to hit home runs and this park is not conducive to home runs. So we need to be able to use our assets and hit according to our park and let these guys have time to mature and figure out how to face big league pitching on a daily basis. I told them I was trying to fast-forward the process as fast as I can, but it's going to take time for these guys to be able to get it. To see them be able to get it and be where they are right now, it's very rewarding. That's what I hope to be part of in Atlanta.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.