Hitting with Albert Pujols

“When I’m hitting off the tee like this, I’m getting loose,” Pujols says, “but I’m also thinking, Put that perfect swing on it and repeat it.”

After 11 years of having the best offensive start in MLB history, Albert is still working on that perfect swing.  “I love the tee,” Pujol says.  It’s better than soft toss to get me prepared.  What I find with soft toss is they throw you one ball down the middle, one ball down, one ball up.  But to build a quality swing you want to build it off the tee because the ball isn’t moving.  You can’t blame that guy who’s throwing to you.  You only blame yourself.

Pujols often drills himself on NOT pulling the inside pitch.  He says, “I can do whatever I want with that ball – hit it the other way or take it back through the middle, which IS what I want.”

Hitting a baseball is, basically, turning into the ball on two levels: first the hips and then the upper body.  Turn too late on an inside pitch, and you are jammed.  Turn too early or too much, and you hook the ball foul.  It’s known as “coming around the ball”, the wicked inverse of staying inside of it.  Pujols laughs.  “If I want to pull the ball, believe me, I can pull it, he says. “But I don’t want that.”

“Pulling the bottom hand THROUGH the baseball…Every time you see a perfect swing, the top hand almost looks like it’s UNDERNEATH your bat (at contact).  It’s the bottom hand. All the time. That where backspin comes from.  Get your hands inside the ball and let your hands work.”  “I want to hit it the same height as the pitch”

excerpts taken from SI March 26th issue

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