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  1. These Q&A pieces have been really excellent. Thanks, David!

    Comment by Justin Bailey — May 27, 2011 @ 11:06 am

  2. Thanks David for another insightful article.
    As a Sox fan I was happy to get Crawford but THRILLED to get Agon.
    Him and Youk are fun to watch at the plate.

    Comment by Tim — May 27, 2011 @ 11:08 am

  3. Watching Gonzalez this season has been a complete joy and his ABs are must see.

    I read somewhere recently that Ortizs revival this season was partly because of discussing hitting with Adrian.

    and to think we have another 7 years of this guy.

    Comment by Zak — May 27, 2011 @ 11:13 am

  4. Good stuff.

    Comment by Deadeye — May 27, 2011 @ 11:23 am

  5. I’ve been struck recently how methodical, or scientific, Gonzalez’ approach at the plate is. It’s amazing. I’ve been reading about baseball for over 20 years, and this is the first time I’ve heard anyone talk so clearly about the difference between pitch recognition and plate discipline — Vladdy, say, vs Daric Barton. Makes me think of batters in a whole new way…

    Dude’s a friggin’ hitting genius.

    Comment by Jay Stevens — May 27, 2011 @ 11:41 am

  6. Great questions, great piece.

    Comment by Big Oil — May 27, 2011 @ 11:54 am

  7. Wow, that is a great read. Good job.

    Comment by woodman — May 27, 2011 @ 12:03 pm

  8. Great interview, I love these. Watching Gonzalez gives me a boner

    Comment by Jasper — May 27, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

  9. Great article, new bookmark!

    Comment by Shaun — May 27, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

  10. He brought up an interesting point that I haven’t considered: Are there more breaking balls or pitches with more movement now versus ten+ years ago?

    Comment by steve-o — May 27, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

  11. Great interview… makes me look at O-Swing vs O-Contact in a whole new way. Interesting to compare these over the last few years. Biggest takeaway: Alfonso Soriano has neither recognition nor discipline. Marco Scutaro seems to have both… why isn’t his OBP higher?

    Comment by Gauss — May 27, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

  12. I am a biased Yankees fan, but this was one of the best interviews with a player I’ve seen. Insightful answers to focused, non-gimmicky questions.

    Comment by Joe — May 27, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

  13. Between this and the Byrd interview you are covering some really new ground with players. Keep it up!

    Comment by Blue — May 27, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

  14. What an incredible player interview. These Q&As are a real highlight on Fangraphs.

    Comment by Oscar — May 27, 2011 @ 1:15 pm

  15. Excellent piece. Don’t think I’ve read a more insightful interview regarding hitting.

    The analogy I use between a batter and hitting coach (or pitcher and pitching coach) is that of a writer and editor.

    No matter how good a writer is, he’ll miss stuff that only an editor will catch. You can edit your own material to a degree, though having an experienced, objective second set of eyes is invaluable.

    Comment by Mike B. — May 27, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

  16. Check with your doctor if it lasts more than four hours.

    Comment by KyleL — May 27, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

  17. I’d peg Scutaro’s problem as a lack of bat speed–he can see the ball well and makes contact at a high rate, but it’s not quality contact. Combine that with a lack of power or speed, and you have the reason Lowrie is most likely the starter even when Scutaro’s healthy.

    Comment by Daern — May 27, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

  18. Great, great piece. Really not the normal cliche riddled stuff I see on so many other sites. I’d pay for this quality of work on this site to keep it coming.

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 27, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

  19. Great piece. Gonzalez seems like a guy is a real pro who supplements his incredible talent with a serious work ethic and respect for his job.

    I was hoping to see a question about that HR he hit off Sabathia by copying Ichiro’s swing.

    Comment by Roger — May 27, 2011 @ 6:51 pm

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    Comment by fdhjstf — May 27, 2011 @ 9:51 pm

  21. I’ll be 80% as good as you for 2.9% of the cost.

    Comment by Anthony Rizzo — May 27, 2011 @ 10:11 pm

  22. If you don’t have a clock, and it’s still there when the Red Sox game is done that means it’s been longer than four hours.

    Comment by glassSheets — May 27, 2011 @ 10:29 pm

  23. But you still won’t be me.

    Comment by Adrian Gonzalez — May 27, 2011 @ 10:39 pm

  24. Good work, intelligent questions which were topped by even more intelligent answers. I’d love to see those same questions being asked to a Vlad-esque hitter.

    Comment by Steve Marino — May 27, 2011 @ 11:23 pm

  25. You won’t be 80% as good as Adrian because I’m really hungry for fly balls and I’ll eat them all so you can’t hit any HRs.

    Comment by Petco Park — May 28, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

  26. Wow this is some nice stuff and great questions too. Excellent answers by Gonzo.

    Comment by Joe F — May 29, 2011 @ 7:40 am

  27. Are you serious?

    “AG: That hitting has evolved. It’s not the same that it was 10-15 years ago. Back then it was “go get the ball, hit it out front,” and now it’s “let it get to you, stay behind the ball, and make sure that your weight stays back.”

    Pitchers are throwing more pitches now, and they’re moving the ball more”

    Comment by Nat Haniel — May 30, 2011 @ 10:44 am

  28. Somewhere, Ted Williams is nodding in approval. Gonzo is truly a worthy heir.

    Comment by Jay — May 30, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

  29. Great interview – both with the Qs and the As. Would love to see how Ortiz, Youkilis and Pedroia would answer these questions. (Biased Sox fan)

    Comment by Peter — May 30, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

  30. Agon for MVP…great read and thrilled to have him on the Red Sox squad!

    Comment by Jon — May 30, 2011 @ 3:02 pm

  31. I’ve learned a lot when it comes to staying behind the ball, and staying on top

    I’m interested to know what he means by “staying on top”.

    Obviously, by his swing mechanics, and power results, he takes a slight uppercut swing (very good thing …. very good) … So I wonder what he means by “stay on top”.

    Was looking at some pictures of him the other day and some some where his arms were “bent” during his swing (hands inside the ball) that both of his forearms were essentially in contact with his torso. That’s impressive.

    “Letting the ball get deep” is something everyone says, but few can do well.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — May 31, 2011 @ 3:46 pm

  32. Ted Williams hit the ball out in front which us not even close to Gonzalez’s approach. Plus, hitting the ball out in front is still very effective look at Pedroia and Cal’s three hitter (Dustin Pedroia clone) Tony Renda. They both do it and do it well so Gonzalez is not right about that.

    Comment by Estebansf — May 31, 2011 @ 9:29 pm

  33. Oh ya and I forgot how about Jose Bautista he yanks everything and shifts all his weight forward (uses his whole body and all the power from his torso) and he does just fine. He hits the ball out in front and does not keep his weight back and that is why he can hit 54 homers at 185 pounds.

    Comment by Estebansf — May 31, 2011 @ 9:35 pm

  34. I appreciate your enthusiasm for mechanics, but …

    [1] Bautista does hit the ball out front. But, they all do (regardless of claims).

    [2] He does keep his weight back (and very well too).

    http://www.bronxbombersbeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Jose-Bautista.jpg

    Simply put, you aren’t hitting the ball far and hard without hitting behind a stiff front leg … and you can’t do that if your weight is in front.

    I do question the “let the ball travel” bit. That’s a phrase/mindset that lots of people say, but I’d love to see the data on where Gonzales contacts the ball as compared to everyone else. My guess is there is no difference.

    Let the ball travel? As opposed to reaching for the ball?

    I will say this … it is amazing how many pictures there are of Jose Bautista with his arms straight at the point of contact. That is rare. Not quite the ‘Power V’ of Charlie Lau, but not far from it. Almost all other power hitters reach “extension” after the point of contact.

    Anyway, I would exercise caution when reading about athlete’s describing what they do. What they think they do, or try to do, isn’t always what they actually do. It’s why video is so important.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — June 1, 2011 @ 10:55 am

  35. 80% of a superstar 1b is probably just a replacement player level. Maybe league average. There’s also probably a 60%+ chance you will never even make it to be either of those.

    Comment by Reality — June 5, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

  36. I would venture the guess staying on top means not getting under it too much and popping it up/hitting towering fly balls to the outfield.

    Comment by Shawn — June 5, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

  37. So insightful. He really seems more like a professor of the game than a student. I love this. So cool to hear about how he believes pitching has changed. With different records being made and broken at different times it makes you wonder if and how the game is evolving and who reacts to the evolution? The hitters? The pitchers? Defense? So cool to see how the game changes.

    Comment by kylemegrath — July 11, 2011 @ 10:40 pm

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