Lars Nootbaar aspires to drive extra balls within the air, and understandably so. The 25-year-old St. Louis Cardinals outfielder has a 120 wRC+ this season — his profession mark is one level decrease — however he additionally has a 55.7% groundball charge, which ranks sixth highest amongst certified hitters. Not coincidentally, his slash line is an OBP-heavy .267/.390/.382.
Nootbaar does possess the flexibility to make exhausting contact. His common exit velocity was within the ninetieth percentile a 12 months in the past, though he has admittedly backslid this season to the much less spectacular 53rd percentile. And once more, he’s killing too many worms. Furthermore, not solely has his groundball charge risen — final 12 months’s mark was 43.8% — the proportion of balls he’s hit pull aspect has dropped from 42.4% to 32.3%. Whereas his plus plate self-discipline has remained pretty much as good as ever, Nootbar must discover a solution to up his energy manufacturing with a view to do significant harm.
Nootbaar mentioned his still-in-progress identification as a hitter, and his efforts to develop extra pop, when the Cardinals visited Fenway Park earlier this month.
David Laurila: How would you describe your self as a hitter? In different phrases, what’s your identification on the plate?
Lars Nootbaar: “I don’t actually know. I assume I’m nonetheless form of looking to determine what sort of hitter I’m. Within the meantime, I’m simply making an attempt to do the most effective I can to compete up right here. So yeah, proper now I assume I’m not precisely positive.”
Laurila: I’ve had guys inform me that it’s essential to know who you might be as a hitter with a view to succeed on the highest ranges. That stated, you’ve had success within the massive leagues…
Nootbaar: “Like I stated, I’m simply making an attempt to compete, and no matter occurs occurs. I imply, clearly, I would love my energy numbers to go up. However I’d like my on-base to go up as effectively. I’d like my hit totals to be greater. I’m not happy, by any means, with the place I’m in any aspect of the sport. Greater than something, I simply wish to preserve getting higher as a hitter.”
Laurila: How did you first study to hit?
Nootbaar: “I keep in mind my mother would at all times say ‘degree swing.’ My dad was form of the identical; he would say, ‘degree swing.’ So yeah, sadly… I imply, not sadly, however I’ve form of at all times had a flat swing. Now I’m stepping into the behavior of making an attempt to get out of that.”
Laurila: I perceive that you just went to Driveline a couple of years in the past. What did you deal with there?
Nootbaar: “It was primarily about including bat pace. That was the principle focus. I knew stepping into that was one thing I wished, as a result of I’d labored with anyone who was near them on the time. His identify is John Soteropulos — he works for the Crimson Sox now — and he was telling me, ‘You may add bat pace.’”
Laurila: How a lot had been you in a position to enhance it?
Nootbaar: “It was a gradual factor, however eight to 10 miles an hour.”
Laurila: How did you go about growing your bat pace?
Nootbaar: “Swinging weighted bats was a giant factor for me. There have been plenty of drills I mixed with that, however yeah, primarily weighted bats. We did 20% overload, 20% underneath load, after which 20% overload within the deal with.”
Laurila: What do you swing in video games?
Nootbaar: “A 33-and-a-half, 31, Lindor mannequin.”
Laurila: Circling again to your swing airplane, is creating extra loft one thing you’ve talked to your coaches about?
Nootbaar: “Sure. We’ve talked about it, how there can be extra worth in doing that, for positive.”
Laurila: How exhausting is it to make that adjustment?
Nootbaar: “It’s fairly powerful. I’ve taken plenty of swings with my flatter swing, so making an attempt to create extra loft is a problem. It takes plenty of work within the cage. One factor is solely catching the ball out entrance extra, however I form of grew up letting it journey. Hitting the ball deep is a pure tendency for me. Placing extra balls within the air pull aspect can be of worth, however I feel step one can be simply getting extra within the air.”
Earlier “Talks Hitting” interviews can discovered by means of these hyperlinks: Jo Adell, Jeff Albert, Greg Allen, Nolan Arenado, Aaron Bates, Alex Bregman, Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, JJ Bleday, Bobby Bradley, Jay Bruce, Matt Chapman, Michael Chavis, Gavin Cross, Jacob Cruz, Nelson Cruz, Paul DeJong, Josh Donaldson, Brendan Donovan, Donnie Ecker, Rick Eckstein, Drew Ferguson, Justin Foscue, Michael Fransoso, Ryan Fuller, Joey Gallo, Paul Goldschmidt, Devlin Granberg, Andy Haines, Mitch Haniger, Robert Hassell III, Nico Hoerner, Rhys Hoskins, Eric Hosmer, Tim Hyers, Connor Joe, Josh Jung, Jimmy Kerr, Heston Kjerstad, Steven Kwan, Trevor Larnach, Doug Latta, Evan Longoria, Michael Lorenzen, Gavin Lux, Dave Magadan, Trey Mancini, Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Hunter Mense, Owen Miller, Ryan Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins, Daniel Murphy, Logan O’Hoppe, Vinnie Pasquantino, Brent Rooker, Drew Saylor, Trevor Story, Fernando Tatis Jr., Spencer Torkelson, Mark Trumbo, Justin Turner, Trea Turner, Josh VanMeter, Robert Van Scoyoc, Chris Valaika, Zac Veen, Alex Verdugo, Mark Vientos, Matt Vierling, Luke Voit, Anthony Volpe, Christian Walker, Jared Walsh, Jordan Westburg, Jesse Winker, Mike Yastrzemski, Nick Yorke, Kevin Youkilis