Every coach faces a challenge every time they head to the ballpark on game day. What each coach values is going to be as unique as the coach themself. Trying to determine what a coach values is like trying to evaluate the art hanging in the art gallery: Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder.
I have always tried to find the balance between offense and defense with a very clear lean towards hitting. My philosophy was always based in the idea that you have to score to win so, when two players were pretty equal defensively I always picked the player who I thought was the better hitter.
That being said, there are also a couple positions on the field where I felt defense was so important that I would lean more towards the defensive player. Middle infielders, centerfield and catcher were always positions that I valued defense at a much higher level.
So quite often we would have big-time hitters at third and first in the infield. Along those lines, we would have our big bangers in right field and left field. We hoped those players would contribute defensively but we were willing to trade runs for outs in these four spots. When we had a pitcher who was one of our nine best hitters, we would also have her hit for herself. When our pitcher wasn’t a great hitter, we would use the DP and count on that player to also add some punch to our offense.
What’s the perfect world? When you get a player who can hit and play defense but we all know that we don’t coach in a perfect world. Trying to find the right combination is always the key. Most importantly is the idea that you must know what you are looking for if you ever hope to find it.
Coach, what are you looking for?