Cal Poly Coach Larry Lee Joins The Baseball America College Podcast
This week on the Baseball America College Podcast, Cal Poly coach Larry Lee joins Teddy Cahill and Joe Healy to talk about fall ball, the Mustangs preparations for the 2020 season and his philosophy as a hitting coach.
Cal Poly is coming off a season in which it went 28-28 overall but finished second in the Big West with a 17-7 mark, two games behind UC Santa Barbara. That wasn’t enough to make it to the NCAA Tournament, but it marked the third straight second-place finish for the Mustangs.
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Now, Cal Poly returns the bulk of its lineup, while having to replace some of its top pitchers from last season, creating an interesting dynamic during fall ball.
“Sometimes position wise or pitcher wise, the best position guy in the fall ends up to be the worst guy in the spring,” Lee said. “You don’t know because you’re always playing against each other. If you’re bad at pitching because our hitters are feasting on them, or vice versa.
“But as long as our guys continue to develop, that’s all you can ask. We have a long way to go.”
Lee is one of the best hitting coaches in the country and has served on USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team staff in addition to his work at Cal Poly.
He said he doesn’t have one overall philosophy when teaching hitters but does believe in the importance of making contact and hitting the ball hard. Once those fundamental skills are mastered, he can help his hitter branch out.
“There’s different ways to approach individual hitters,” he said. “There’s a lot of trial and error. There’s a lot of drills. I’m not a gimmick guy.
“There’s some common denominators that usually help. It’s more of a basic approach and then once they gain those fundamental skills, they can reach out a little bit more and if they need to have a signature to their swing they can go from there.”
With so much of the lineup back this year, Cal Poly is expected to take a step forward offensively. And with so much turnover in the pitching staff, it will be important for the Mustangs to do so as they look to again compete at the top of the Big West.
“Some of them went out and had good summers,” Lee said. “They’re continuing to develop their swing mechanics, thinking that we brought in some younger players that you would hope would step in right away.
“Now there’s going to be internal competition. There’s going to be players who have played a lot in the past who are going to be good backup players, good role players – barring injury.
“This group just has a much higher ceiling than last year’s did.”