Beckham’s problems now are almost certainly mental, hitting coach Greg Walker said. ”It has been all along,” Walker said. ”His swing is pretty simple. It’s a mind thing. He’s put himself in a position where he’s worrying about what he’s doing wrong instead of concentrating on what he does right.”
Walker said he saw Beckham’s problems beginning in spring training. ”He came into spring really hot,” Walker said, ”which shows he’s pretty darn good. Then I saw he started thinking about the pitches he was missing. If you concentrate on the negatives, it’ll eat you up.”
While Beckham’s plate discipline numbers are roughly in line with the MLB average, he’s not supposed to be an MLB-average hitter. Beckham is swinging at more pitches out of the strike zone and making more contact with those pitches than he did in 2009, which leads to 1) more strikeouts and 2) more weakly-hit balls in play.
The latter is worse given that, if you swing and miss, you aren’t out unless there’s two strikes. No matter the count, if you hit a ball weakly into play, chances are, you’re going to be out.