Tool Time: Top Bad Ball Hitters

Swinging at pitches outside of the strike zone and still making contact isn't necessarily ideal. Swinging in the strike zone is preferable. These San Diego Padres prospects are, however, able to go outside the zone and still make some things happen. Oftentimes, it is not enough, but they still chase and connect.

Luis Durango

With an eye-popping ability to wield the stick and put it on the ball from anywhere – from outside corner that borders on a pitch out to overhead – Durango is the epitome of a bad ball hitter.

His excellent hand-eye coordination allows him to hit balls that would have others flailing. He can dive out and reach for a ball – slapping it the other way – or fight one off on the inside corner. Of course, it does lead to unnecessary outs and his confidence is so high he can strikeout on a pitch he believes he should hit.

Cedric Hunter

The lowest strikeout percentage in the California League, Hunter tracks the ball and can put his bat to it with precision. He truly believes he can hit anything thrown his way – but that takes away from his ability to drive some balls.

Hunter will hit himself into outs by going outside of the zone. While he gets the bat on the ball, it is not sound contact he is making. His knowledge of the zone is solid, but he can be overconfident in his ability and a conscious effort would see his walk totals skyrocket.

Seth Johnston

Coming up to bat, Johnston believes in getting in his hacks. With a rather large swing and a big frame give him the reach to expand the strike zone and still get the barrel of the bat on the ball.

Add in the loft in his swing and Johnston is able to send balls outside of the strike zone into the gaps, muscling balls that others would pop out on.

Ali Solis

Solis is a chaser that doesn't mind the breaking ball but can be beat with a good fastball. He has the ability to sit back and wait on the off-speed pitches and is a solid hitter out of the zone.

He has the ability to take balls low in the zone or off the outside corner and make solid contact. As with others, he will miss some but might be as good at hitting balls than strikes.

Andrew Parrino

It does not matter whether it is a strike or ball, Parrino will go down and attempt to get it. He certainly misses a lot, but part of that is from swinging for the fences.

While he misses pitches from overexertion – putting his whole mechanics out of whack – the infielder also happens to be able to put good wood on balls outside of the zone when he stays under control.

Honorable Mention:

Jesus Lopez

The shortstop actually has solid command of the strike zone but will chase pitches high in the zone and has a knack for putting them in play – and quite hard.

Will Venable

The outfielder has impressive plate coverage that includes pitches out of the zone. Balls that are in, out, up, down, or in the middle of the plate have an equal chance of being hit.

Eric Sogard

Marginal pitches that could be called a strike are fair game for Sogard and his two-strike approach is extremely solid. While he lays off the true "bad ball", he comes in ready to take his hacks and is adept at hitting those balls where the fielders aren't.

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