The excerpt below explains what I believe to be a common flaw regarding intent of a batter (what they want to do with a ball and how they practice to hit a ball) from the moment they learn a line drive approach. This is a fundamental mistake that coaches and hitting coach teach, alike. Only the best hitters in baseball are successful line drive hitters. It is far easier to hit a fly ball if you are a good fly ball hitter than to hit a line drive if you are a superior line drive hitter. If a hitter can hit fly balls at a 45% rate but only hits a line drive at a 25% clip, then the amount of time they are getting their intended result at the plate, is extremely diverse.
What happens during all of those “misses” or unintended results for line drive hitters is more ground balls, by a long margin over fly ball hitters. Ground balls at the MLB-level are the least valuable batted ball, producing the least runs for a team. This is also a reason that players who change to a fly ball approach, seemingly become superstars overnight (J.D. Martinez, Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, the list goes on…). Who will join these players in 2018 as the next overnight superstar of the Fly Ball Revolution?
Outliers exist. Players with line drive approaches that hit the ball hard put up good numbers. If you had a player like Joe Mauer or Eric Hosmer in your organization, could you just imagine the run production they would have if they tailored their swings to a fly ball result?