We’ve all seen Raven Chavanne, Caitlin Lowe, and Natasha Watley make defenses look silly for years. No matter how the defense sets up, slappers are able to adjust their plan of attack to get on base.
What is a Slapper?
There is not a template of what makes a player a possible slapper. Typically, college coaches want to see slapper get Home to 1st in less than 2.9 seconds. The elite slappers are going to be under 2.7 seconds. The truly great ones get there in the 2.5s.
You don’t have to be a natural lefty to be a slapper. In fact, most successful slappers are converted righties. If a young player is fast and has good plate discipline and bat control but does not have home run power, they might be a great candidate to try on the left side.
There are many types of slappers, but the truly great ones are what we call “triple threats.” These players are the ones that can drag bunt, slap (soft and power slap), and swing away with power. Being able to read a defense and attack their setup weaknesses is a must for any slapper. Being able to bunt when the defense is back, being able to slap when the infield is in, and swing away when the outfield is in are all crucial components to the success of slappers.
There is not a part of slapping that is more important than the other, but in order to be affective, they must be good bunters. Drag bunting is vital to the success of any slapper. If the defense does not respect your ability to get the ball on the ground and your speed, they will not play as far up and give slappers the opportunity to get a ball through the infield.
Why are Slappers so dangerous?
Slappers are a special breed of player. They are, typically, the leadoff hitter. Not everyone can handle the pressure of being a leadoff hitter. They have to have the mentality of getting on base, no matter what. For slappers, On-Base Percentage is much more important than Batting Average! The slapper has a tremendous advantage over “conventional” leadoff hitters, because they are able to get on base using drag bunts, slaps, full swings, and are typically more patient with pitch selection and able to draw more walks.
Once they are on base, they continue to cause problems for the defense. Slappers are usually among the fastest players on the team, and are very likely looking to steal a base or two to get into scoring position. This, obviously, leads them to being amongst the team leaders in runs scored, because they are going to put their teammates in better RBI situations to score more runs.
Slappers at the next level
Great slappers are a hot commodity to college coaches. You can teach a player a lot of things, but you cannot teach speed and you cannot teach the ability to control the bat and ball to be a great slapper. Many coaches have already fallen in love with slappers, and many more are starting to realize their importance to a team and to the game.
If you think you are a candidate to become a slapper, don’t assume that you are guaranteed to be great at it or that you will automatically play in college. It takes a tremendous amount of work and determination to become an elite slapper. But, if you feel that you can be a weapon on the field by transitioning to become a slapper, then you will have a chance to bring something to the table that will set you apart from the others.
How can NSR help?
National Scouting Report Scouts, continuously, receive College Coach Requests from schools looking for slappers. The two hottest commodities, recently, have been pitchers and great slappers. Slapping is becoming a new craze in the softball world, but not everyone will get a chance to be evaluated and recruited. NSR has the great pleasure of having relationships with coaches all across America that are looking. If you are a slapper and feel you have what it takes to play in college, make sure you get in touch with your local NSR scout for an evaluation. Also, visit www.nsr-inc.com/softball and fill out a “ Evaluation” form. Don’t get stranded on base because you didn’t have the power hitter, like NSR, behind you.