Hall has completely changed his philosophy to small ball. Like it or not, I think it is more effective. We are following in UVa's model - emphasis on great defense and pitching less emphasis on great power hitters. Look at the large number of pitchers we have on the roster -17 with two others as fielders first. And look at our recruits - most are pitchers. Look at our power numbers, the highest number of HRs for any of our players I remember is 4 this year. And our double plays lead the NCAA.
At the ACC CG, we had several conversations in the stands about the sacrifices to get a man from 2nd to third with no outs. I didn't like it at all, but it is part of the plan. A UVa fan (who was a coach) said that absolutely was the right statistical play.
From wiki: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_ball
), teams may incorporate a small-ball strategy for a variety of reasons, including:
- They are confident that their pitching staff will allow very few runs, thus one or two runs may win the game.
- The opposing pitching staff allows few hits, especially extra-base hits, and small ball may be the best way to score runs at all.
- The team lacks consistent hitters and must find a way to score runs with few base hits.
- The team has several members who are very quick and are likely to steal bases, or go from first base to third base on a single.
- The team is in the late innings of a close game and a single run will tie the game, break a tie, or extend a narrow lead.
Reasons 1 (good pitching), 3 (lack consistent hitters) and 4 (fast runners) apply the most and are what we are built for. Reasons 2 and 5 are game specific. You both remember what it was like when we had power but not as good of defense or pitching. Now we have to play good fundamental baseball to win and can't hope to be able to bludgeon the opponent to defeat.
For me, this is very much like the football flexbone / TO / running game discussion and a question of what you like to watch. Like football, I like to watch us win.