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"Hit Tool"

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Tool_medium

As I read scouting reports in preparation for the draft, one phrase that keeps cropping up this year is "hit tool."

I could be wrong about this, but I don't recall the exact phrase "hit tool" popping up much before the last year or two, not phrased in quite that way. I usually see hitting as more of a skill than an organic tool.  Physical strength is a tool. Running speed is a tool. Arm strength is a tool. No one would argue with that. A skill is when you learn to use a tool properly.

There are many different components to hitting, of course...swing mechanics, bat speed, feel for the strike zone, pitch recognition. How many of these components can be taught or learned (skills), and how many are organic to the physical body (tools)?  Are there blurry lines between the two?  Can a player be taught to hit? 

What say you?