Friday, December 29, 2017

Hall Calls: 10 Active Players on Cooperstown Path


The 2018 National Baseball Hall of Fame class will be announced on Jan. 24, and with it, a new group of legends will be revealed.

That makes now as good a time as any to ask a speculative question: Which current big leaguers might join them one day in Cooperstown? We're not talking about the easy ones: Ichiro Suzuki, Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, the few other superstars who will likely turn into shoo-ins. We're talking about the borderline candidates, the stars who may well be on their way, but aren't there yet.

We ran a similar exercise last winter, but this year's version comes with a twist. Which borderline Hall of Famers actually improved their chances during the 2017 season? Whose Cooperstown resume looks better than it did a year ago? These 10 names should ring a bell. (Note: The historical comps below are informed by similarity scores devised by Bill James and, in this case, are the retired player who plays the same position and is the most statistically similar through their current age.)

Zack Greinke, RHP, age 34
Career: 172-107, 3.40 ERA, 56.9 bWAR
2017: 17-7, 3.20 ERA, 6 bWAR
Historical comp: Mike Mussina

When we explored the topic of active, borderline Hall of Fame candidates last winter, I wrote of Greinke: "He'll need to finish his career with more seasons akin to his 2011-15 stretch than his lackluster first season in Arizona if he wants to bolster his dark horse candidacy for Cooperstown."

That's exactly what he did in 2017. In his second year with the D-backs, Greinke shaved more than a run off his 2016 ERA, eclipsed the 200-inning mark, made another All-Star team, won another Gold Glove and placed fourth in the NL Cy Young Award voting. In the process, he entrenched his place in any conversation about the defining pitchers of his era.

Max Scherzer, RHP, age 33
Career: 141-75, 3.30 ERA, 45.6 bWAR
2017: 16-6, 2.51 ERA, 7.6 bWAR
Historical comp: Johan Santana

Scherzer's third Cy Young Award puts him in rare company. Ten pitchers in history have won as many, and of them, only Roger Clemens and Clayton Kershaw aren't enshrined in Cooperstown (yet).

With the demise of the 300-game winner, the criteria for Cooperstown-worthy starting pitchers has shifted in recent years, and will only continue to do so. By the time Scherzer's name appears on the ballot, he'll likely be judged on the strengths of his dominant peak -- now entering its seventh season.

Craig Kimbrel, RHP, age 29
Career: 1.80 ERA, 291 saves, 14.8 K/9, 18 bWAR
2017: 1.43 ERA, 35 saves, 16.4 K/9, 3.6 bWAR
Historical comp: Jonathan Papelbon

Relievers are still rare in Cooperstown, and debates over their value in modern, highly specialized roles rage on. They are the main reason Trevor Hoffman, the National League's all-time saves leader, isn't in yet. If Hoffman is enshrined this year, he'll be the first full-time reliever selected since Goose Gossage in 2008.

Specialized or not, few have been better than Kimbrel since he debuted in 2010, and even fewer dominated the way he did in 2017. Kimbrel's fate will ultimately be decided by the collective philosophy of the voting pool, but at the very least, his exceptional '17 campaign may be what catapults him into the conversation.

Yadier Molina, C, age 35
Career: .284/.336/.403, 126 homers, 35.4 bWAR, 8 Gold Glove Awards
2017: .273/.312/.439, 18 homers, 2 bWAR
Historical comp: Bill Freehan

Molina's case for Cooperstown will be based on his defense, and it will come with its fair share of detractors. Molina's eight Gold Glove Awards are the third most of any catcher (behind Ivan Rodriguez and Johnny Bench), but his offensive numbers won't be enough to warrant consideration on their own. Glove-first stars are rare, but not unheard of, in the Hall of Fame.

Which is why it stands to reason that any additional offense Molina produces from here on would only boost his candidacy. On that front, 2017 offers a conflicted outlook. On the one hand, Molina's batting average and on-base percentage were lower than his career marks. On the other, he put up his second-best single-season home run total and had a career-high 82 RBIs.

Buster Posey, C, age 30
Career: .308/.376/.474, 128 homers, 37.5 bWAR
2017: .320/.400/.462, 12 homers, 4 bWAR
Historical comp: Gabby Hartnett

The Giants were not very good in 2017, but their catcher, as usual, was. Quietly, Posey enjoyed perhaps his best offensive season since his NL MVP-capturing 2012 campaign. After nine seasons, Posey's 135 career OPS+ ranks second all-time among catchers, behind only Mike Piazza.

That alone says a lot about his Hall of Fame chances, though they might ultimately hinge on how long Posey remains behind the dish full-time. Posey made a quarter of his starts away from catcher last season, more than double the year before. The more time he spends at first base, the more glaring Posey's lack of power will look to voters.

CC Sabathia, LHP, age 37
Career: 237-146, 3.70 ERA, 60.7 bWAR
2017: 14-5, 3.69 ERA, 2.8 bWAR
Historical comp: Mike Mussina

Sabathia's case could end up acting as a litmus test in regards to how voters judge starters of an era where starters were asked to do less than ever before. And his rebound season in 2017 may help sway voters who, before last season, considered him on the short side of the Hall of Fame bubble.

Chris Sale, LHP, age 28
Career: 91-58, 2.98 ERA, 37.1 bWAR
2017: 17-8, 2.90 ERA, 6 bWAR
Historical comp: Juan Pizarro

There really isn't a great historical comparison for Sale. He throws like Randy Johnson, but enjoyed much more early-career success. He ranks like Johan Santana in similarity score, but hasn't won a Cy Young or an ERA title. Four of the next nine most statistically similar pitchers are active, and two that aren't were right-handed.

At age 28, Sale still lacks the prestige of a Cy Young Award or an ERA crown. But he does have two strikeout titles and the best career strikeout-to-walk ratio ever among qualified starters. A little more hardware, and his resume may start to stack up among some all-time greats.

Giancarlo Stanton, OF, age 28
Career: .268/.360/.554, 267 homers, 35.1 bWAR
2017: .281/.376/.631, 59 homers, 7.6 bWAR
Historical comp: Juan Gonzalez

After his high-voltage 2017 campaign, Stanton now owns two league home run titles, an MVP Award, four All-Star selections and two Silver Sluggers. He still has a ways to go to reach Cooperstown, but consider his chances to reach some of baseball's biggest power benchmarks.

Stanton is signed for the next 10 seasons. Over that time, he'll need to average just 23.3 home runs per year to reach 500 and 33.3 per year to reach 600. And if you really want to dream … 43.3 per year to reach 700.

Justin Verlander, RHP, age 34
Career: 188-114, 3.46 ERA, 56.6 bWAR
2017: 15-8, 3.36 ERA, 6.4 bWAR
Historical comp: Dwight Gooden

It's possible Verlander checked the final box on his Hall of Fame resume in 2017: A World Series championship. What else does he have to prove? Verlander now owns a ring, a Cy Young Award, an MVP Award, a Rookie of the Year Award, two wins titles, two no-hitters, an ERA crown, three innings-pitched and four strikeout titles, and the reputation as the most dominant and durable power pitcher of his generation.

Verlander's candidacy for Cooperstown looked murky as recently as two winters ago, when he followed two subpar seasons with an injury-plagued year. But after two redemptive seasons in the third act of his career, Verlander looks as likely as ever to be eventually enshrined. The new hardware should help, too.

Joey Votto, 1B, age 34
Career: .313/.428/.541, 257 homers, 54.8 bWAR
2017: .320/.454/.578, 36 homers, 7.5 bWAR
Jason Giambi

Votto commands the strike zone better than any hitter since Barry Bonds, and this season, those on-base skills brought him within two measly points of his second NL MVP Award. By the time Votto's name appears on the Hall of Fame ballot, the voter pool will likely look past the question that's trailed Votto throughout his career: Does he drive in enough runs?

Still, Votto will be a fascinating case when compared to others enshrined at his position. Votto is the game's premier on-base machine in an era that values getting on base above all else. His career .428 OBP is tied for eighth all-time with legendary slugger Jimmie Foxx. But he's driven in only 830 runs over 11 seasons. How will he compare to, say, Hall of Fame first baseman Frank Thomas, who reached base at a similar clip but also hit 344 home runs with 1,183 RBIs over his first 11 years in the league?

Article Source: https://www.mlb.com/news/10-active-players-who-could-make-hall-of-fame/c-263970692

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Online Hitting Academy


Online Hitting Academy for players that can't come into The Baseball Barn for face to face hitting lessons - Richard Lovell-Epstein Hitting Online Academy.

A Customized Training Plan, Based on Your Specific Needs, And Managed by Your Very Own Personal Epstein Hitting Master Instructor, Rich Lovell, Will Show You How To Become the Best Hitter You Can Be!

Click HERE for more information

Looking for more information on baseball and fast pitch hitting? Are you part of a team, or Organization that would like to schedule a mini-camp/clinic or seminar for your players and coaches? and receive pertinent, professional instruction that includes video analysis of your players swing flaw?

Richard Lovell and The Baseball Barn are Epstein Hitting certified with Rich being 1 of only 8 Master Certified Instructors go 700+ instructors in the Epstein Hitting System.

Rich is available for individual, small group and team instruction to include clinics and seminars. Does your player, or team need expert evaluation to improve their swing?

Schedule an evaluation, or clinic/seminar with Rich and begin your swing transformation before the next season.Schedule your evaluation through our online scheduling system at The Baseball Barn,contact Rich directly at rjl41061@gmail.com, or if you are out of the area, through Rich's Online Hitting Academy (http:bit.ly/BaseballBarn)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Stride or No Stride for Weight Shift - Do You Need to Stride to Produce Power?


Rich Lovell discusses whether or not a hitter should take a stride. Game situations, pitchers and 'feel' play a role, among other things.

See more at http://www.vvbaseballbarn.com

Click Here for my Epstein Online Academy Page: https://spladap.com/sports-platform/site/splash-101-richardlovell

Friday, December 8, 2017

A Proper Launch Position to Fix Bat Drag?


See more at http://www.vvbaseballbarn.com

Rich discusses the connection between the Launch position and bat drag and then goes on to show how a proper Launch position can fix bat drag, front shoulder issues.

Click Here for my Epstein Online Academy Page: https://spladap.com/sports-platform/site/splash-101-richardlovell

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Barn Values


Work with one of only 8 Epstein Hitting Master Certified Instructors.

Hitting Instruction - Identify and find the fix for your swing flaws through video analysis (Youtube channel) schedule either a fan to face lesson, or sign up for the Online Hitting Academy

Pitching Instruction - Work with one of Solano County's top pitching instructors -identify and find the fix for your pitching flaws through video analysis

Don't forget our hitting and pitching packages. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Open Hitting Sundays at The Baseball Barn


Sunday Open Hitting at the Baseball Barn in Vacaville
from 12pm - 2pm

Fills Up Fast, Register Early HERE

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Hey Blue! - Umpiring Myths and Truths


MYTH - When over-running first base, the batter-runner must veer to the right into foul territory.

TRUTH - The batter-runner may cross first base and veer in any direction, provided the runner makes no attempt (not even a feint) to advance to second. After overrunning or over-sliding first base, the runner is required to return to the base immediately.

MYTH - The batter may not switch batter's from one batter's box to the other after two strikes.

TRUTH - The batter may switch from one batter's box to the other at any time, except when the pitcher is set and is ready to deliver the pitch.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Random MLB Facts You Never Knew


Other Home Runs That Weren't Really Home Runs-Or Were They?

* The phrase "walk-off home run" didn't apply before the 1920 season. If a player hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning or in the bottom of an extra inning before 1920, the home run was actually only credited as a single, double or triple, depending on how many bases it took to advance the winning run. For instance, if the score was tied in the bottom of ninth with a runner on third, if the batter hit a home run, he would only be credited with a single.

A Switch-Hitting Feat 133 Years in the Making

* On Opening Day in 2009, the Arizona Diamondbacks faced the Colorado Rockies. In the bottom of the fourth inning, D-Backs second baseman Felipe Lopez, who had already homered in the game off Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook in the first inning, launched his second home run, however, this time he hit it right-handed against lefty reliever Glendon Rusch. It marked the first time in Major League Baseball history that any player had hit home runs from both sides of the plate on Opening Day. Ironically, the feat was repeated in the very same game just one inning later. Diamondbacks first baseman Tony Clark, who had also homered off Cook, launched a solo blast off Rusch with one out in the bottom of the fifth.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Private Camps 2017


Hitting Camps can accommodate teams-up to 12 players and private groups of 6 players. If you have a team, or small group of players and are looking for a specific date, but don't see it, contact Rich direct at rjl41061@gmail.com to set up a date for your Team or Private Hitting Camp.

Only a few spots left for the November 18th Private Hitting Camp

Visit my Camps Info Page to see more details on Dates, Times and to Register

Friday, November 10, 2017

Online Hitting Academy


Online Hitting Academy for players that can't come into The Baseball Barn for face to face hitting lessons - Richard Lovell-Epstein Hitting Online Academy.

A Customized Training Plan, Based on Your Specific Needs, And Managed by Your Very Own Personal Epstein Hitting Master Instructor, Rich Lovell, Will Show You How To Become the Best Hitter You Can Be!

Click HERE for more information

Looking for more information on baseball and fast pitch hitting? Are you part of a team, or Organization that would like to schedule a mini-camp/clinic or seminar for your players and coaches? and receive pertinent, professional instruction that includes video analysis of your players swing flaw?

Richard Lovell and The Baseball Barn are Epstein Hitting certified with Rich being 1 of only 8 Master Certified Instructors go 700+ instructors in the Epstein Hitting System.

Rich is available for individual, small group and team instruction to include clinics and seminars. Does your player, or team need expert evaluation to improve their swing?

Schedule an evaluation, or clinic/seminar with Rich and begin your swing transformation before the next season.Schedule your evaluation through our online scheduling system at The Baseball Barn,contact Rich directly at rjl41061@gmail.com, or if you are out of the area, through Rich's Online Hitting Academy (http:bit.ly/BaseballBarn)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Sports World Mourns the Death of Roy Halladay


The sports world took to Twitter to mourn the death of former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Top Game 7 Moments in World Series History


Check out Bill Mazeroski's walk-off HR, the Cubs breaking their 108-year curse and other top Game 7 moments in World Series history

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Hey Blue! -Umpiring Myths and Truths


MYTH - The batter cannot be called out for interference if he is in the batters box. 

TRUTH - The batter's box is not a safety zone. A batter could be called out for interference if the umpire judges that interference could or should have been avoided. 

Official Rules of Major League Baseball - Rules: 2.00 INTERFERENCE, 6.06©

Thursday, October 26, 2017

5 Ways To Improve Your Offensive Game During The Off-Season


1. USING A TEE or Other Hitting Aid With A Stationary Ball - Impact/Punching Bag, backspin tee, Swing-Away, etc, but remember to slow your swing down to work on the movement, not on your power...yet.

2. LEARN TO TAKE A LEAD Base running can be just as important an offensive weapon as hitting. Often times taking an extra base can be the difference between a win and a loss in a close game. During the winter, all that's needed for this drill is one bag. Players can then learn to practice taking their leads. A good base runner eventually knows exactly how large of a lead to take without being picked off. Players should learn to get comfortable with their leads off the base without having to look back as they are moving off. Learning how to take a lead can eventually lead to taking that extra base, or scoring the winning run.

3. READING SIGNS AS YOU RUN The key to good base running is never looking down. One way to learn how to properly run without looking is to find a long hallway, or path. Pick out some sort of sign located farther down the hallway/path and start running while never peeling your eyes off the sign. This drill helps players keep their eyes up at all times and have more of an awareness of what's going on around them. In time, they'll learn to follow the signs of their base coaches with their eyes as well.

4. LEARNING TO KEEP THE BAT INSIDE THE BALL (attack from the inside) This drill incorporates the use of a bat and anything that can be set up between the player and the plate and easily moved. Start by placing the object, a tee or pool noodle, just behind the trail foot and at the point of the plate. As you become better at not hitting the object, move it close to the inside part of the plate towards you and slightly in front of your trail foot. See a demonstration on my YouTube Channel: https://youtu.be/m7EzMrnj7Mk

5. SIMPLY USING A MIRROR It may sound silly, but practicing your swing in front of a mirror can yield great benefits. As mentioned above, proper repetition is an important component to developing a proper and effective swing. By practicing a swing in front of a mirror, hitters can quickly find flaws and work to correct them.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Little League & Softball News


Little League® International has assembled an online resource page dedicated to baseball bat information, that includes the latest bat information, current Little League Baseball rules and regulations governing bats, definition of terms, the moratorium on the use of composite bats, and a series of frequently asked questions, with answers and licensed bat lists.

Please note that as of January 1, 2018, the new USA Baseball Bat Standard will be implemented. Little League-approved baseball bats that are approved for use for the 2017 season will no longer be acceptable for use in any Little League game or activity starting on January 1, 2018. For more information on the USABat standard and a complete list of bats approved through the USABat Standard, visit usabat.com.

Note on Softball Bats: The composite moratorium only applies to baseball bats with 2 1/4 inch barrels. It DOES NOT apply to any divisions of Little League Softball. Also, there is no list of approved softball bats. In softball, the bat only needs to meet the specifications of Rule 1.10 for a softball bat.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Random MLB Facts You Never Knew


Dave Winfield Traded for Expensive Dinner

In late August 1994, MLB was over two weeks into a strike that interrupted the season. Just before the waiver trade deadline expired, the Minnesota Twins traded aging outfielder/designated hitter Dave Winfield to the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later.

Two weeks after the trade, on Sept. 14, the rest of the 1994 season was canceled, so Winfield never played for the Indians that season, and no player was ever named in exchange.

Later on, executives from both the Indians and Twins got together for a dinner, with Indians' execs picking up the dinner tab, making Winfield the only player in MLB history ever traded for a five-star meal.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Private Camps 2017


October 28th:

October 29th:

November 5th:

November 12th:

Hitting Camps can accommodate teams, individuals and small, semi-private groups

Email Rich Lovell if you have any questions

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Top 10 Home Runs of the Week


Francisco Lindor's grand slam sparks the Indians' comeback and a big fly from Bryce Harper highlight MLB.com's Top 10 Home Runs of the Week

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Rhythm and Tempo - Why is it Important?


Rich Lovell discusses the importance of rhythm and tempo with not only experienced players, but introducing it to younger players for Development...

See more at http://www.vvbaseballbarn.com

Click Here for my Epstein Online Academy Page: https://spladap.com/sports-platform/site/splash-101-richardlovell

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Top 10 Home Runs of the Week


More homers from Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge highlight the top 10 home runs of the week

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Master Tip: Stance, Stride - BALANCE


As Rich explains stance, Stride and balance, if you have more questions send a message or response to the video.

See more at http://www.vvbaseballbarn.com

Click Here for my Epstein Online Academy Page: https://spladap.com/sports-platform/site/splash-101-richardlovell

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Look at Some Memorable Game-Ending Grabs


Dating back to Coco Crisp's catch in 2007, we look at some of the most notable game-ending catches through the years

Friday, September 8, 2017

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Hand Hitch vs Dropping Hands-Dropping the Hands in the Baseball or Fast Pitch Swing


See more at http://www.vvbaseballbarn.com

Online Hitting Academy - http://bit.ly/BaseballBarn

Rich goes over the difference between a hand hitch and dropping the hands during the swing. It may seem obvious, but many times what we see with our eyes is not what we see on video. Know the difference before telling a player they are dropping the hands.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Sunday, August 27, 2017

This Week in MLB History


Rickey Henderson of the Oakland A's wore the spikes pictured here when he broke Hall of Famer Lou Brock's single-season stolen base record on Aug. 27, 1982. Henderson stole his 119th base of the year, surpassing Brock's record-setting total of 118 during the 1974 season. The history-making theft came in the third inning, when Henderson drew a walk with two outs. After a pitchout, Henderson stole second against the Milwaukee Brewers' combination of George "Doc" Medich (the pitcher) and Ted Simmons (the catcher). Henderson, who went on to swipe three more bases in a 5-4 loss to the Brewers, would finish the season with a remarkable 130 stolen bases.

Source: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/history/mlb_history_thisweekhistory.jsp

Friday, August 18, 2017

Open Hitting Sundays at The Baseball Barn


Sunday Open Hitting at the Baseball Barn in Vacaville
from 12pm - 2pm

Fills Up Fast, Register Early HERE

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mike Trout on Sharpening Your Swing


By many measures, reigning AL MVP Mike Trout is still just a kid. But at 25 years old, he’s already accomplished more than most adults. In 2012, he won the AL Rookie of the Year Award after scoring 129 runs, still a career high. Two years later, he took home AL MVP honors. And in 2016, he led MLB in on-base percentage (.441) and runs scored (123) to win the award a second time. The New Jersey native, whose father played in the Minors, grew up around the game. Now, he’s eager to share what he’s learned on his way to the top.

Imitation Game
My dad played baseball, so once I touched a bat, it was [like] an instinct. I'm competitive, so I wanted to be good at it and play to win.

When I was a kid, I played Wiffle Ball in the front yard. Ken Griffey Jr. always had that sweet swing, and I would [practice his] stance every once in a while.

Hit ’Em All
When you’re in the cage, you’ve got to have fun. Hitting off a tee gets a little boring after a while. If you add something to it, like a target game, it will help. My teammates and I actually put up targets, and you get points if you hit them. You can also put another tee somewhere else in the cage, and try to hit the tee. Our team is always thinking of new games to play in the cage. That way, you’re working on your swing, but you’re still competing while you’re doing it.

Warning Track Workout
The best part of the game to practice is hitting. I love to take BP. And when I’m in the field during BP, I get to rob home runs.

Article Source: http://www.littleleague.org/Assets/forms_pubs/media/2017-ll-magazine.pdf

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Thursday, August 3, 2017

This Week in MLB History


On Aug. 1, 1972, Nate Colbert of the San Diego Padres set a Major League record by driving in 12 runs during a doubleheader sweep of the Atlanta Braves. The slugging first baseman broke the record of 11 RBIs in a twinbill -- a mark shared by Earl Averill of the Cleveland Indians, Jim Tabor of the Boston Red Sox and Boog Powell of the Baltimore Orioles. The 26-year-old Colbert also set a record with 22 total bases and tied a Major League record by clubbing five home runs in the twinbill. As Colbert rounded the bases after hitting his fifth home run against the Braves, he commented to umpire Bruce Froemming: "I don't believe it." Froemming responded in agreement, "I don't either." Colbert, whose lifted his seasonal home run total to 27, would finish the year with a career-high 38 home runs and 111 RBIs.

In a remarkable coincidence, Colbert had attended the May 2, 1954, game at Sportsman's Park, when Hall of Famer Stan Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals also hit five home runs in a doubleheader. "Stan the Man," a 1969 Cooperstown inductee, wore the spikes pictured here during his career with the Cardinals.

Source: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/history/mlb_history_thisweekhistory.jsp

Monday, July 31, 2017

2 Ways To Get More Bat Speed and Power



Rich goes over 2 techniques to increase your power and bat speed and how to an advanced technique to "load" your shoulder blade. See more at http://www.vvbaseballbarn.com

Friday, July 28, 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Online Hitting Academy


Online Hitting Academy for players that can't come into The Baseball Barn for face to face hitting lessons - Richard Lovell-Epstein Hitting Online Academy.

A Customized Training Plan, Based on Your Specific Needs, And Managed by Your Very Own Personal Epstein Hitting Master Instructor, Rich Lovell, Will Show You How To Become the Best Hitter You Can Be!

Click HERE for more information

Looking for more information on baseball and fast pitch hitting? Are you part of a team, or Organization that would like to schedule a mini-camp/clinic or seminar for your players and coaches? and receive pertinent, professional instruction that includes video analysis of your players swing flaw?

Richard Lovell and The Baseball Barn are Epstein Hitting certified with Rich being 1 of only 8 Master Certified Instructors go 700+ instructors in the Epstein Hitting System.

Rich is available for individual, small group and team instruction to include clinics and seminars. Does your player, or team need expert evaluation to improve their swing?

Schedule an evaluation, or clinic/seminar with Rich and begin your swing transformation before the next season.Schedule your evaluation through our online scheduling system at The Baseball Barn,contact Rich directly at rjl41061@gmail.com, or if you are out of the area, through Rich's Online Hitting Academy (http:bit.ly/BaseballBarn)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Open Hitting Sundays at The Baseball Barn


Sunday Open Hitting at the Baseball Barn in Vacaville
from 12pm - 2pm

Fills Up Fast, Register Early HERE

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Barn Values


Work with one of only 8 Epstein Hitting Master Certified Instructors.

Hitting Instruction - Identify and find the fix for your swing flaws through video analysis (Youtube channel) schedule either a fan to face lesson, or sign up for the Online Hitting Academy

Pitching Instruction - Work with one of Solano County's top pitching instructors -identify and find the fix for your pitching flaws through video analysis

Don't forget our hitting and pitching packages. Also, keep a look out for "Blast Savings" in the near future. We will send out an email blast for a day or weekend savings event. Don't miss them!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017

Quote of the Month


"You're born with two strikes against you, so don't take a third one on your own."
-Connie Mack

Friday, July 7, 2017

Outfield Drill Progession

When it comes to outfield play, on the surface, many just think patrolling the outfield means catching fly balls. (USA Baseball)

Drills are the lifeblood of skill development. Whether it be for Major Leaguers as a part of their daily routine, or youth players as their means of learning the basic skills of the game, it's in the batting cages and backyards where ability is truly cultivated. Drills allow you to isolate a specific part of a specific skill that, when put together, help develop the overall talent of the individual player.

Within each skill of the game lies a natural progression straight out of the "crawl before you can walk, walk before you can run" school of thought. For instance, hitters can't focus on putting the ball out of the ballpark without mastering the skill of putting the ball in play, while pitchers can't concern themselves with throwing ten different pitches until they've actually figured out how to consistently throw one for a strike. By following a simple step-by-step, building block approach with each specific skill of the game, players will not only find a comfortable routine that will build consistency in their daily work, but will also reap the benefits in their entire ability.

When it comes to outfield play, on the surface, many just think patrolling the outfield means catching fly balls. The reality is quite the opposite, as over the course of a season, outfielders will handle far more balls on the ground than they ever will in the air, so that has to be taken into account when setting up a practice plan. Additionally, with so much ground to cover, the reads, jumps, and routes can make a huge difference not just with whether a play is made and an out recorded, but also whether or not an extra base can be prevented.

LINE DRILL

Since so much of outfield play is done on the ground, starting a drill progression with a focus as such will translate into games very quickly. Put simply, there are only two types of ground balls an outfielder will ever have to field: one where they don't have to make a throw, and one where they do. For a ground ball without a throw- like a hard base hit directly at the outfielder- he will become an infielder with his technique to field the ball. On a ground ball with a throw to be made- think base hit with a runner on, or a ball to a gap- the focus turns to the feet, first setting up to field, then setting up to throw. The line drill puts an emphasis on both.

With outfielders standing in foul territory down the right field or left field line facing centerfield, we can roll (for younger players) or hit (for those more advanced) ground balls from fair territory, as the players use the foul line as their guide. Taking the approach out of the play by forcing outfielders to stay behind the line, the focus is on fielding technique, first on balls without a throw, moving the feet to get in front of the ball, catching it with two hands just like an infielder. Next with attention placed on ground balls with a throw, the outfielder keeps his feet moving while the ball is rolling his way, setting them up to field, and only crossing the line aggressively with his footwork to go field the ball, then replacing them to set up to throw.

Lastly, for balls that force the outfielder to move laterally, the correct angle and efficient route are vital, and the last progression of the line drill puts the emphasis on cutting the ball off. Now working on a ground ball to their left or right while behind the foul line, once they have successfully gotten in line with the ball laterally, only then can they aggressively cross the line and gain ground up the field to go get the ball, using their feet correctly as they had been previously.

READ AND REACT DRILL

Often times, a play is made not in the final moments before the catch, but rather at the moment the pitch is put in play. A great jump and the correct read can turn an average outfielder into a Gold Glover, while a late jump or a poor read off the bat can do the outfielder in. Putting a focus on seeing the ball and reacting accordingly teaches a skill that will repeatedly be the difference between making a play or not.

There are four parts to this drill. With the player holding a ball 10-15 feet away, he'll toss the ball to the center of their coach or partner's chest, who then can catch the ball with either his right or left hand. Whichever hand the tossed ball is caught with is the side the outfielder will open up to. The first part of the drill deals strictly with opening up to the correct side, turning after reading which hand the ball was caught with- partner catches with his right, player opens with a quick jump turn to his left, and vice versa. The next step adds the break which can be set in any direction- straight back, at a 45-degree angle, laterally- all now after opening up to the correct side after the same toss to the coach.

From there, we now add a short thrown fly ball to this specific drill progression. After tossing the ball, opening up to the correct side, breaking in the pre-determined direction, the partner who just caught it will then throw a short distance pop-up that the outfield can now go catch. This is a very isolated drill done in a relatively small area, but the technique is identical to that which will happen in a game on a batted ball. The thrown pop-up also offers the opportunity to focus on catching the fly ball correctly with proper technique, whether that be a ball to get behind, setting up for a throw, or one caught on the run. For the final part of this read and react progression, we can get the outfielder to practice recovering from an incorrect read by now throwing that same short distance pop-up to the opposite side that they opened up to. Wind, spin, or just a bad read in general can make certain plays a bit tougher, but when specifically working on getting back around to the correct side to catch the ball, they too can become routine.

FUNGO

Now putting everything together for outfielders prior to playing in a game, getting reads off of a batted ball gives them the opportunity to work at very specific skills that will be needed when the lights go on. Fungoed balls off the bat have been a constant at ball parks everywhere as both a part of players' pre-game routine, but also as a means to improve their abilities in a controlled environment. Every type of ball in play in a game can be simulated by the fungo, and just a little creativity can keep your outfielders engaged by having a different focus each and every day. Additionally, the fungo helps introduce the pre-pitch stance (or ready position), putting outfielders on the balls of their feet on contact to get the quickest jump off the bat.

A short distance fungo- hit from 100 to 125 feet away- is a good start, building from the read and react drill with an emphasis more on the read and technique than on actually going to get the ball. From that same short distance, using some fungo-wielding skill, with a ball hit directly over the outfielder's head, they can work on identifying the well-hit ball on contact, putting their head down- taking their eyes off the ball for the first few, dead-hard sprinting steps- and running to the spot where it will land to make the play. This head down, eyes off the ball technique allows outfielders to cover the most ground possible, as opposed to keeping their eyes on the ball the entire time. An uncomfortable way to go get a ball at first, when practices and learned offers great benefits for outfielders when it comes to their range.

Lastly, from a greater distance- some 200 to 250 plus feet away- the fungo can be hit as high (or low) and as far (or short) as possible, giving the outfielder a ball (or on the ground) in the air as close to what they might get in a game. Position the fungo in direct line with the sun, and outfielder can practice blocking its rays to catch the ball, a situation that will assuredly come up in a game. Make two lines and hit the ball in between, and now we have a focus on communication between outfielders. Move the outfielders in, and they can work on going back on the ball, or move them back to emphasize coming in on a pop-up. Instead of self-tossing to hit, create a side soft toss to fungo, and now all of a sudden outfielders have a completely different read on contact off the bat, and really must concentrate on getting their best jump.

There are many parts to becoming a great defensive outfielder. While it all starts with the attitude and simple effort to go get the ball, the specific skills to field every kind of base hit, line drive, and fly ball that will come up in a game can and should be worked on in practice. It's not just about hitting pop-ups to outfielders all day- the position is far more than that. By implementing the aforementioned drill progression into a daily practice routine, outfielders will undoubtedly help develop at a consistent pace, putting themselves in position to enjoy success patrolling the vast green space when under the lights.

Article Source: http://web.usabaseball.com/article.jsp?ymd=20160826&content_id=197197108

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July!


"I believe in America because we have great dreams, and because we have the opportunity to make those dreams come true." 
-Wendell Willkie

Have a Safe and Happy 4th of July!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Hey Blue! - The Ball Is Dead On A Foul Tip


Reality: The ball is NOT dead on a foul tip. Rule 2.00 FOUL TIP explicitly says that a foul tip is a live ball.

Much of the confusion surrounding this probably comes from a misunderstanding of what a foul tip actually is: A FOUL TIP is a batted ball that goes sharp and direct from the bat to the catcher's hands and is legally caught. It is not a foul tip unless caught and any foul tip that is caught is a strike, and the ball is in play. It is not a catch if it is a rebound, unless the ball has first touched the catcher's glove or hand. A foul tip can only be caught by the catcher. Thus, it is only a foul tip if the catcher catches the ball. A ball that hits the bat and goes straight back to the backstop is a foul ball not a foul tip.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

It All Began With A Game Of Catch


In 1938, Carl Stotz, a lumberyard clerk living in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, was playing catch with his nephews one day when he tripped over a lilac bush. His frustration quickly turned to inspiration when he decided to start a local league where kids could play organized baseball on a real baseball field. That summer, he set down the rules for Little League Baseball-including field dimensions that are still used today-and gathered enough kids and equipment for three teams to begin playing.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Random MLB Facts You Never Knew


Dave Winfield's Errant Throw Lands Him in Jail

On Aug. 4, 1983, during a game between the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto, Yankees right fielder Dave Winfield was warming up between innings when he threw a ball that struck and killed a seagull. After the game, during which fans screamed obscenities and hurled objects at Winfield for his "fowl" act, police officials in Toronto arrested Winfield and charged him with cruelty to animals.

Winfield posted bond, however, the charges were dropped the following day. Winfield's throw prompted Yankees manager Billy Martin to say, "They say Winfield hit that bird on purpose. They wouldn't say that if they saw some of the throws he's been making all year!"

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Upcoming Camps/Clinics


Hitting Camps - 8 players max each session

1st Session:
July 6: 6-8 years old - 9a.m. - 11a.m.
July 7: 9-11 years old - 9a.m. - 12p.m.
July 8: 12 years old & older - 9a.m. - 12p.m.

2nd Session:
July 12: 6-8 years old - 9a.m. - 11a.m.
July 13: 9-11 years old - 9a.m. - 11:30a.m.
July 14: 12 years old & older - 9a.m. - 12p.m.

Details will be on our website mid-June with links.


Email Rich Lovell if you have any questions, or have siblings.

Monday, June 19, 2017

New Summer Hours at The Baseball Barn!


The Baseball Barn will open from 12p.m. to 9p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday for the months of June and July. Get in early for your hitting and pitching practice during the summer.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Open Hitting Sundays at The Baseball Barn


Sunday Open Hitting at the Baseball Barn in Vacaville
from 12pm - 2pm

Fills Up Fast, Register Early HERE

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

LITTLE LEAGUE® BASEBALL AND SOFTBALL PLEASED TO SEE OVERALL INTEREST IN SPORT INCREASE, ACCORDING TO SFIA REPORT

Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) reports that casual participation in baseball in the United States increased 18.1 percent in 2016.


According to the annual report produced by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) released last month, participation in baseball in the United States has shown a significant increase in 2016. Overall baseball participation in the U.S. has increased 7.7 percent, while “casual” participation, defined as playing 1-12 times per year, has increased by 18.1 percent. Fast-pitch softball also saw a slight increase in total participation.

“Since the time of the recession, we have seen a decline in team sports participation overall,” said Tom Cove, SFIA President and CEO. “In the last couple of years, we have seen a pretty significant trend and uptick in baseball participation, particularly at the casual level. What this means is that there is something going on with people getting introduced to the game, which is pretty exciting.”

Along with the large increase in overall casual baseball interest, fast-pitch softball has also seen a growth recently as casual participation has increased by one percent in the last year and over the last three years has recorded an average annual growth of 2.4 percent.

“This is an exciting time for the game of baseball and softball,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “With the help of MLB’s PLAY BALL initiative and the Little League’s Tee Ball Program, Grow the Game Grant Program, and other initiatives focused on the development of baseball and softball at the youth level, Little League will continue to work hard to provide young boys and girls exciting opportunities and memorable experiences both on and off the diamond.”

Launched by MLB and USA Baseball in 2015 as an effort to encourage youth participation in both formal and casual baseball and softball activities, the “PLAY BALL” initiative has been a major focus for Little League® to try and grow casual participation at the youth level. Another major focus for Little League over the last five years has been the introduction of the Little League Tee Ball Program, which has been shown to improve the Tee Ball experience for players, parents, and coaches through a focus on Fun, Fitness, and Fundamentals.

“Little League’s idea of Fun, Fitness, and Fundamentals at the Tee Ball level is great because the focus is not on playing formal baseball games, but rather being able to do the fun parts of baseball – throw a ball, catch a ball, hit a ball, slide, field,” added Mr. Cove. “That’s a way to get kids involved and expose them to the fun parts of the game.”

While continuing to look for ways to introduce children to the sport at a young age, Little League remains focused on finding ways to keep participation in the Little League program affordable for all of its participants through programs such as the Grow the Game Grant Program, which was introduced in June 2015 and has since provided assistance to more than 150 local Little League programs working to further the mission of Little League in their community. With grants available for general league enhancement, local leagues can also help boost involvement in their league by using the funds for the enhancement, development, and/or creation of programs within the Little League Challenger Division®, Little League Softball® program, and the Little League Urban Initiative. Little League is also exploring ways to make the games of baseball and softball more fast-paced and exciting for its young participants.

“Following the decrease in participation after the recession, we surveyed people to find out what barriers to participation for kids there were, and one of them was cost,” said Mr. Cove. “The PHIT Act (Personal Health Investment Today Act), we believe, will speak to a lot of families because it will provide a 30 percent discount on what they are currently paying for in youth sports. The other important concept that is on the horizon is finding a way to make sports more family friendly and keep a positive family experience around the sport.”

As the world’s largest youth sports program with nearly 2.4 million players and one million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and more than 80 countries, this research shows an exciting time for the future of the game of baseball and softball and provides more opportunities for Little League to get young boys and girls involved starting at an early age. For more information on a local Little League program near you, visit PlayLittleLeague.org.

Article Source: http://www.littleleague.org/media/llnewsarchive/2017/Little-League-Baseball-and-Softball-Pleased-to-See-Overall-Interest-in-Sport-Increase.htm

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Thursday, June 1, 2017

This Week in Baseball History


On June 2, 1925, 21-year-old Lou Gehrig started a game for the New York Yankees when regular first baseman Wally Pipp was hit in the head during batting practice and complained of a headache. Gehrig collected three hits in five at-bats, helping the Yankees to an 8-5 win over the Washington Nationals. Gehrig would play in a Major League record 2,130 consecutive games (since surpassed by Cal Ripken Jr.) on his way toward enshrinement in Cooperstown.

After Gehrig's death, his widow Eleanor donated the bracelet pictured here to the Hall of Fame. The bracelet was given to her by Lou and includes many of the diamonds from World Series and All-Star Game rings that he earned.

Article Source: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/history/?tcid=mm_mlb_news

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

How To Pitch A Baseball With Pin-Point Control: 3 Simple Tips


Every parent and coach wants to teach pitchers how to pitch a baseball with good mechanics, high velocity and pin-point control. But learning how to pitch a baseball with great skill requires a high volume of practice.

One of the most important things is to first teach your son the mechanics of pitching so he is using his body to produce velocity…not just his arm.

Here are 3 important tips on how every pitcher can pitch a baseball with pin-point control and at the same time with improved velocity and less risk of injury. 

Do Not Catch For Your Son – Use a Target Instead
 
There are a number of reasons for this.

If you catch for him, more than likely his total focus will be on hitting the target in order to please dad, rather than on hitting the target with his best fastball. Make sure that when you are teaching him how to pitch a baseball with good control that he is throwing his maximum effort fastballs, rather than throwing at 75-85% intensity.

If you pitch a baseball during a practice bullpen at less than game intensity, this has proven not to work to help game performance pitching.

Leather Pitching Target

That is why I like targets rather than having the father catch for his son. Plus, the father should be back at the mound offering feedback to his son after every 5 or 6 pitches because the father is smart enough to videotape rather than just eyeball as most instructors do. The pitching delivery is too complex to just eyeball. 

Is Your Son’s Body Lined Up to The Target?
 
This is pretty obvious, however what we often see while doing Video Analysis is pitchers who make a big turn away from the target.  Some even sweep their lead leg out and around and then might not land on the mid-line.

How can you expect a pitcher to pitch a baseball and hit the target when he turns away from it? How many pistol shooters do this?  Not only does all the turning affect ball control but it reduces velocity too.

Have you ever watched a cricket bowler? These guys get to run up as far as they want before getting ready to land and release the ball. Cricket bowlers can also throw 90-100 mph with a stiff arm.

But one of their biomechanical principles which most fast bowlers follow is to get lined up directly to the target so that the front shoulder it pointed that way when the front foot lands. Makes sense. You will not see a cricket bowler turning into landing as many pitchers do when learning how to pitch a baseball.

One other thing related to having the body lined up. Make sure the pitcher lands on the midline.  The midline is an imaginary line you draw from the middle of the back foot right toward the target.

You want a RH pitcher to land within 1-2 inches of that line toward first base.  A LH pitcher should land within 1-2 inches on the third base side of the line….but never across the line.

Also make sure that the front foot is directed right at the target or angled slightly no more than 10-15 degrees. 

Are You Throwing Enough Volume of Practice Pitches During Each Practice Bullpen?
 
How on earth do you expect a pitcher to hit the target consistently if he is not doing enough target practice? Pitchers will not have good control or velocity by throwing 25-30 pitches twice a week. That includes professionals.

Do you know that MLB pitchers miss their intended target by on average 12″ and the best still miss by 9’6″? Is that good control? No, it is not.

But why? Because even major league baseball doesn’t understand that pitching a baseball is a skill activity, not a strength activity. Coaches believe that pitchers should save their pitches for the game thus why they do not throw enough pitches during practice bullpens. Makes no sense at all.

If you follow those three tips on how to pitch a baseball with great control you will help any pitcher improve dramatically, plus pitching velocity will improve almost automatically.


Article Source: Pitching.com

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!


"The only thing better than a Dad who knows baseball 
is a Mom who knows baseball"

Happy Mother's Day!!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Open Hitting Sundays at The Baseball Barn


Sunday Open Hitting at the Baseball Barn in Vacaville
from 12pm - 2pm

Fills Up Fast, Register Early HERE

Monday, May 8, 2017

Friday, May 5, 2017

Stick with the Process - You Never Know When You Will Develop


Coach Rich talks about sticking with the process and how you can continue to become better through proper repetition.

See more at http://www.vvbaseballbarn.com.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

What's Happening In: Pony


DECERTIFIED BAT LIST (BASEBALL)

The BBCOR decertification process has been implemented on some bats. Please click HERE for all of the details including pictures.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Positive Coaching Alliance


Youth athletes want to have fun. In organized sports, that often depends on coaches, parents and school or organizational leaders creating a fun environment, one where the athletes receive a reasonable amount of playing time, so they can improve and learn life lessons such as the importance of hard work and persistence, free of fear that a mistake will incur the wrath of coaches, parents or teammates. Read On....

Monday, April 17, 2017

Who Created The Modern-Day Umpiring System?


When former New York Giants and Green Bay Packers tackle Cal Hubbard was done playing football, he turned to baseball, but this time as an official, not a player. Hubbard was an umpire for the American League between 1936-1951, working four World Series and three All-Star games during his career. After being forced to retire due to a hunting accident that damaged the vision in his right eye, Hubbard became supervisor of umpires for the AL, finally retiring in 1969. Hubbard came up with the idea that umpires needed to be positioned better on the field in order to make more consistent calls, so based on his suggestion, Major League Baseball implemented the four-man umpiring crew used in each game and that plan is still in use today. Hubbard is the only man in history to be elected to both the baseball and football Hall of Fame.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Online Hitting Academy


Online Hitting Academy for players that can't come into The Baseball Barn for face to face hitting lessons - Richard Lovell-Epstein Hitting Online Academy.

A Customized Training Plan, Based on Your Specific Needs, And Managed by Your Very Own Personal Epstein Hitting Master Instructor, Rich Lovell, Will Show You How To Become the Best Hitter You Can Be!

Click HERE for more information

Looking for more information on baseball and softball hitting? Richard Lovell and The Baseball Barn, combined with the Epstein Hitting System, offers up to date instruction with video annotations for those wanting to improve their knowledge and keep up-to-date on the latest in hitting instruction and mechanics. Are you a player, or parent of a player wanting direct, interactive coaching from an expert in the field of hitting? Schedule an initial evaluation with Epstein Hitting Master Certified Instructor. Receive customized training plans and in-depth video analysis of your hitting and how to fix swing flaws. Contact Rich Lovell at The Baseball Barn now to schedule your initial evaluation. rjl41061@gmail.com or 707-290-9731.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Little Leauge® To Adopt New USA Baseball Bat Standard


With the Little League® International Board of Directors formally adopting USA Baseball's new standard for bat performance testing, Little League International fully supports this program. For more than seventy-five years, Little League has used improvements in science, engineering, and technology to take the sport of baseball to higher levels. By utilizing the most current advancements available, manufacturers can now develop bats with a wood-like performance, which is important for the long-term success of the game. Developed by a USA Baseball committee of scientific experts, Little League Baseball® has decided to adopt the new bat standard for mandated use effective January 1, 2018. All national members of USA Baseball, including Little League, are encouraged to adopt this new standard. Little League-approved bats can be used through December 31, 2017, and our current bat regulations will be in effect until then. That includes the moratorium prohibiting the use of all 2 ¼ inch barrel baseball bats constructed with composite material in the barrel, unless approved. Visit LittleLeague.org for detailed information. Little League looks forward to working with USA Baseball, and will begin educating our local leagues, and the parents of our 2.1 million baseball players, preparing them for the important change coming in 2018.