Justin Turner On Hitting Heaters

Justin Turner
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports activities

Justin Turner has confronted plenty of fastballs through the years. Now in his fifteenth season, and his first with the Boston Pink Sox, the 38-year-old infielder has logged 5,597 plate appearances, a superb variety of them in opposition to pitchers with elite heaters. Furthermore, he’s had his fair proportion of success. One of many sport’s most-respected hitters, he has a 128 wRC+ to go along with a .289/.365/.467 slash line for his profession.

4 years after interviewing him for one of many early installments of my Talks Hitting series, I caught as much as Turner to deal with one particular side of his craft: the artwork of hitting a fastball.


David Laurila: How totally different is it to arrange for high-velocity fastballs when not all high-velocity fastballs are the identical? Does that make sense?

Justin Turner: “It does. There are guys within the sport that throw onerous and put up huge [velocity] numbers, however for no matter purpose it doesn’t really feel that tough once you’re within the field. There are additionally guys that don’t throw as onerous. however within the field it looks like they’re throwing tougher than what the quantity says. If you get a man who throws onerous and it feels onerous, that’s a fairly good mixture for his or her facet of it.”

Laurila: Who’re a few of the pitchers who stand out in these respects?

Turner: “I don’t have a particular instance in thoughts, however there are just a few pitchers the place you get within the field and… I imply, guys will discuss it. It’s like, ‘Man, that truly feels slightly mild, it doesn’t really feel like 100 [mph].’ I don’t need to name anybody out, trash their fastballs or something like that.”

Laurila: What about guys the place it does really feel onerous?

Turner:Spencer Strider is a man that throws onerous and it feels onerous. Jacob deGrom throws onerous and it feels onerous. There are guys the place the fastball comes out of their hand and it seems to be like an aspirin. The ball seems to be smaller as a result of they’re throwing so onerous.”

Laurila: What about pitchers who don’t have huge velocity however the ball will get on you fairly fast?

Turner;Kutter Crawford right here [with the Red Sox] is 92–95 however he has 19–20 vert, so the fastball feels tougher than what the gun is telling you. There are many guys like that. They name it experience, spin fee, no matter. Zac Gallen is a type of guys. We confronted a man with the A’s who I believe simply acquired despatched down. [Richard] Lovelady, I believe his identify is. He’s a lefty who throws 92, however he’s acquired extension and it form of explodes out of his hand. Kenley Jansen, he’s 92–95, and his extension and the traits of his cutter make it play up. Chris Martin… I imply, he’s a man that throws onerous and it feels onerous. He’s 97–98 with elite extension. It looks like he’s throwing 102.”

Laurila: What in regards to the preparation side I discussed on the onset?

Turner: “To ensure that us to arrange for a man who’s 95–97 with good extension, my thought, and my dialog to the fellows, can be like, ‘Hey, deal with it like 100. Prepare such as you’re on the point of hit 100, though it’s 95–97, as a result of it’s going to really feel prefer it will get on you slightly bit.’

“It’s a cue to arrange for a pitcher, identical to the rest. As an example, if it’s a sinkerball man, you say, ‘Hey, search for him up, like at your neck.’ If it begins waist excessive, you don’t need to swing at it as a result of it’s going to be a ball. Treating 95 like 100 is similar psychological cue as wanting in an space, or making a pitch begin in sure spot.

“With the fellows the place it feels lighter, I say this on a regular basis, it’s like, ‘Hey, don’t really feel like you must cheat to the fastball. You possibly can see it, decide, and put a superb swing on it.’ When the gun says 100, everybody’s intuition is like, ‘Oh, I’ve gotta go, I’ve gotta prepare, I’ve gotta begin my swing early to catch as much as 100.’ However once more, there are guys the place it doesn’t really feel like 100. To have that thought, for guys to know that earlier than they face the man, I believe is big.”

Laurila: Giving recommendation to youthful hitters is one thing you’re recognized for. You’re considered as a mentor, nearly as an additional hitting coach.

Turner: “I spend as a lot time within the cage watching different guys as I do engaged on myself within the cage. I need to know their swings. I need to know their ideas. I need to know what they’re going by means of. I need to know what they’re feeling. On the similar time, I need to provide up something that I’ve gone by means of previously that is likely to be comparable, some ideas and concepts that I’ve used, to attempt to assist them get a greater really feel after they’re scuffling slightly bit. I might say that I make investments far more time on everybody else’s swing than I do by myself.”

Laurila: Any ultimate ideas?

Turner: “I assume the largest factor when speaking hitting, and I’ve stated this a number of occasions this 12 months, is that what’s being ignored so much is timing — hitters being on time. Everybody needs to run the swing adjustments, devices and whatnot within the cage and make these changes. However I believe guys usually aren’t ensuring that they’re on time earlier than they go and alter their swing.

“My level is that everybody’s swing works. In case you’re on time, you could have an opportunity on your swing to work. In case you’re behind schedule, irrespective of how good your swing is, it’s not going to work. So if you happen to’re behind schedule and also you suppose your swing is damaged, possibly it’s not your swing. Perhaps you’re simply behind schedule. So earlier than you go overhaul your swing, it’s good to be sure to’re on time.”