WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Astros outfielder Josh Reddick vows to start hitting to the opposite field more this year, which is something he did well in 2017, but not '18. Reddick hit .242 with 17 homers and 47 RBIs last year after hitting .314 with 13 homers and 82
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Astros outfielder Josh Reddick vows to start hitting to the opposite field more this year, which is something he did well in 2017, but not '18. Reddick hit .242 with 17 homers and 47 RBIs last year after hitting .314 with 13 homers and 82 RBIs to help the Astros to the World Series title in '17.
"Looking at video, you can obviously tell I was focused on the inner-third of the plate and kind of got away from that approach from '17, so just trying to get back to that and maybe provide a little bit more pop," he said. "The pop isn't necessarily a big thing for me whenever you have guys on base."
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Reddick hit .231 against right-handers and .269 against left-handers last year after hitting both equally as well in '17. Astros manager AJ Hinch said as Reddick tried to cover the inside part of the plate, his swing was "too strong," and he started pulling off the ball.
"I saw teams shift him even more extreme than they did the previous year, because there was no threat to him hitting the ball the other way," he said. "He's a really good hitter, a good at-bat. He's tough to strike out. I think he tried to be a little bit of a different hitter and bring a little bit more power to his game, when he has plenty of power and plenty of at-bat skills, and I look forward to seeing what adjustments he's made."
Posture important in Marisnick's development
This will be an important spring for outfielder Jake Marisnick, who hit .211 last year with 84 strikeouts in 213 at-bats while drawing only 15 walks. Despite his tremendous defensive abilities, Marisnick was optioned to Triple-A three times last year and had one stint on the injured list.
Hinch said hitting coach Alex Cintron has talked about improving Marisnick's posture at the plate. The Astros want him to be less upright and more bent at the waist, which will allow him to have some clearance inside.
"His first movement is often under the ball, or has been, and I think if we can eliminate that, we'll see his contact rate go a little bit higher and see him move the ball around the field a little bit," Hinch said. "He's got tremendous power, but the swing-and-miss, especially up in the zone, can sometimes be created by your posture and how you get into the hitting zone."
Marisnick is battling with Tony Kemp for the fourth outfield spot behind Michael Brantley, George Springer and Reddick.
To-do list for prospect Dawson
When he was done playing in the Arizona Fall League, Astros outfield prospect Ronnie Dawson -- ranked No. 20 in the organization by MLB Pipeline -- asked the club to give him a list of things he needed to work on. He was told to work on his arm strength, continuing to improve his defense and being more consistent with his load during his stance so he can hit lefties better.
"I'm a lefty, so if I'm going to play in the big leagues, I've got to hit lefties," Dawson said. "That's where I really worked on this offseason, is being consistent and being comfortable with that left angle."
Dawson, a non-roster invitee drafted in the second round out of Ohio State in 2016, spent most of last year at Class A Advanced Buies Creek and hit .247 with 10 homers, 49 RBIs and 29 steals before appearing in 29 games at Double-A Corpus Christi, hitting .289 with an .859 OPS. He figures to start the season in center field for the Hooks.
"My mindset kind of changed after my first full season," he said. "After the first half, it was kind of rough for me. After that, I was like, 'Man, I've got to change.' I humbled myself and was like, 'I'm not as good as I think I am.' I want as much information as I can get, and I ask for it each year and wonder what I can improve on."
Skipper looking forward to rules meeting
Hinch will meet with Major League Baseball officials, including chief baseball officer Joe Torre and senior vice president of baseball operations Peter Woodfork, on Friday to discuss any rules changes for 2019, including the 20-second pitch clock Commissioner Rob Manfred said Sunday would begin in Spring Training games.
"I don't really know what it's going to be like or what new things we're going to try," Hinch said. "It sounds like when he speaks we know something is going to happen. I was surprised to hear that, and then looking forward to the details later in the week."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.