Astros’ outfielder Josh Reddick is going back to the basics to rework his batting approach and get back to 2017’s level of performance.
The Astros’ position players are officially in their third day of workouts at the Spring Training facility in West Palm Beach, and Josh Reddick is making the most of it. Last year was arguably the worst season he has endured, and he’s determined to rectify that by going back to the basics and hitting off a tee.
"“Everybody talks about not liking to hit on a tee,” Reddick said. “Nobody does, but it’s the best tool I could have.”"
Reddick developed a habit in 2018 of only covering the inside portion of the plate, resulting in pulling the ball 45% of the time versus 36% in 2017. This allowed the opposing defense to play in a shift more often, knowing he was less likely to hit to the opposite side of the field.
"“As he tried to cover the inside part of the plate, he got a little too big or too strong of a swing and started pulling off the ball quite a bit,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “I saw teams shift him even more extreme than they did the previous year because there was no threat to him hitting the ball the other way."
As a result, Reddick saw his performance drop considerably in 2018. His slash line dropped to .242/.318/.400 last season from .314/.363/.484 in 2017. The drop was even more significant against right-handed pitchers. In 2017 Reddick had an OPS against righties of .867 and in 2018 it went down to .669, almost a 200 point drop.
To remedy the situation, he has been hitting balls from the top of a tee placed on the outer portion of the plate. He’s also concentrating on keeping his hips from opening too much, which allows him to drive the ball more with his hands.
Reddick has workouts this week and Spring Training games beginning Saturday to get back to his old batting style and cover more of the plate. Therefore, hitting the ball to all areas of the field and keep the defense more on their toes. If he’s successful, maybe we’ll see the Reddick that had the best season of his career in 2017.