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Articles Tagged Left-handed Pitchers 

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08-10

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6

Raising Aces: Hocking LOOGYs
by
Doug Thorburn

09-07

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13

Spinning Yarn: Home Plate Umpire Positioning
by
Mike Fast

08-17

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11

Spinning Yarn: Why are Batters Hit by Pitches?
by
Mike Fast

03-02

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12

Spinning Yarn: How Accurate is PitchTrax?
by
Mike Fast

02-16

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59

Spinning Yarn: The Real Strike Zone
by
Mike Fast

02-03

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16

Overthinking It: A Little Bit Softer Now
by
Ben Lindbergh

04-04

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3

Prospectus Q&A: Buck Showalter
by
David Laurila

02-08

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37

Baseball Therapy: Why Not Two Pitchers?
by
Russell A. Carleton

06-28

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29

Prospectus Idol Entry: LaRussa's Choices
by
Brian Cartwright

02-11

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9

You Could Look It Up: Going South?
by
Steven Goldman

12-07

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5

Every Given Sunday: Winter Meetings Preview
by
John Perrotto

07-17

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0

On the Beat: The Two-Week Watch
by
John Perrotto

08-16

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0

Schrodinger's Bat: Putting the Pedal to the Metal
by
Dan Fox

06-28

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0

Schrodinger's Bat: Playing Favorites
by
Dan Fox

06-14

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0

Schrodinger's Bat: The Science and Art of Building a Better Pitcher Profile
by
Dan Fox

10-16

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0

Future Shock: Monday Morning Ten-Pack
by
Kevin Goldstein

10-16

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0

Prospectus Today: LCS, Day Six
by
Joe Sheehan

10-14

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0

Future Shock: Where Did the Tigers and the Athletics Come From?
by
Kevin Goldstein

10-14

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0

Prospectus Today: LCS, Day Four
by
Joe Sheehan

10-14

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0

Playoff Prospectus: The Best and Worst of Mets and Cardinals Postseason Pitching
by
Jim Baker

10-13

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0

Prospectus Today: LCS, Day Three
by
Joe Sheehan

10-12

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0

Prospectus Today: The Games Go On
by
Joe Sheehan

10-12

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0

Player Profile
by
Marc Normandin

10-11

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0

Remembering Buck O'Neil
by
Alex Belth

10-11

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0

Prospectus Today: LCS, Day One
by
Joe Sheehan

10-09

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0

Completely Random Statistical Trivia
by
Keith Woolner

10-09

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0

Prospectus Today: Division Series, Day Six
by
Joe Sheehan

10-07

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0

Prospectus Today: Division Series, Day Four
by
Joe Sheehan

10-06

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0

Prospectus Today: Division Series, Day Three
by
Joe Sheehan

10-06

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0

Prospectus Matchups: October Musings
by
Jim Baker

10-05

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0

Prospectus Today: Division Series, Day Two
by
Joe Sheehan

05-11

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0

Doctoring The Numbers: The Draft, Part Ten
by
Rany Jazayerli

04-27

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0

Schrodinger's Bat: Of Crowds and Splits
by
Dan Fox

04-13

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0

Schrodinger's Bat: The Irreducible Essence of Platoon Splits
by
Dan Fox

06-30

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0

Crooked Numbers: Left Wing Conspiracy
by
James Click

04-05

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0

Prospectus Q&A: Juan Marichal
by
Carlos J. Lugo

03-18

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0

Prospectus Matchups: Lefty Roundup: The Sinister Starters
by
Jim Baker

09-02

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0

The Disappearing Southpaw
by
James Click

05-27

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0

Lies, Damned Lies: Southpaw Stories, Part I
by
Nate Silver

10-17

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0

World Series Prospectus: Florida Marlins vs. New York Yankees
by
Joe Sheehan

02-21

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0

Doctoring The Numbers: Do Lefties "Break Out" More Than Righties?
by
Rany Jazayerli

10-12

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0

Call It In The Air!
by
Dave Pease

10-03

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0

Playoff Prospectus
by
Christina Kahrl

10-02

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0

Playoff Prospectus
by
Rany Jazayerli

08-01

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0

Transaction Analysis: July 27-31, 2000
by
Christina Kahrl

06-28

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0

Doctoring the Numbers
by
Rany Jazayerli

04-28

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0

Transaction Analysis: April 24-27, 2000
by
Christina Kahrl

04-17

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0

Transaction Analysis: March 23-31, 2000
by
Christina Kahrl

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August 10, 2012 5:00 am

Raising Aces: Hocking LOOGYs

6

Doug Thorburn

How do left-handed specialists make the most of their platoon advantage, and at what cost does their approach come?

Growing up left-handed is a tough gig. We left-handers can't write a sentence in ink without needing to wash our hands, classroom scissors malfunction in our claw-like grips, and driving a stick-shift requires a certain degree of ambidexterity. In little league, defensive assignments were restricted to roaming the outfield pasture unless one happened to have a hyperactive pituitary gland, thus earning a trip to play first base with the right-handed infielders. I was able to fool one coach into putting me at catcher for a season, but that experiment was predictably short-lived.

The mound is a southpaw's chance at redemption, where the bar for lefties to gain acceptance is lowered. Left-handers sit right in the cross-hairs of the supply-demand curve in the majors due to the limited player-pool as well as a league-wide desire to exploit platoon splits (see table for 2012 figures). Just 10 percent of the world is left-handed, yet southpaws have been on the mound for 31 percent of all plate appearances this season. Lefty batters make up 44 percent of plate appearances, a function of the advantages that are inherent in a two-step head-start down the line, combined with the reality that it is much easier to switch sides of the plate than it is to alternate throwing arms.

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Does the way an umpire positions himself behind home plate affect the boundaries of his strike zone?

We have known for several years that right-handed and left-handed batters do not see the same strike zone in the major leagues. The strike zone for left-handed batters shifts about two inches toward the outside. This observation goes back at least to Dr. John Walsh’s analysis of PITCHf/x strike zone data in 2007.

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What factors determine how often hitters take one for the team?

Every season major league pitchers throw tens of thousands of pitches inside off the plate, yet they hit batters “only” about 1500-1800 times in a season. Why do some inside pitches hit the batter, while others do not?

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Before you yell at the umpire, consider making a few adjustments to your dataset.

After the last two postseasons, most baseball fans are familiar with the strike zone location graphic known as PitchTrax. Here’s an example from Game One of the 2010 American League Championship Series:

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Examining umpire calling and catcher framing leads to thought-provoking questions about the amorphous nature of the strike zone.

Ever since the PITCHf/x system debuted in the 2006 playoffs, people have been interested in what it says about the strike zone that the umpires call.

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February 3, 2011 9:05 am

Overthinking It: A Little Bit Softer Now

16

Ben Lindbergh

Do southpaws really tend to be soft tossers, and if so, why?

“They have crooked arms. They throw crooked, they walk crooked, and they think crooked. They even wear their clothes crooked. You have to figure they’re a little crazy.” —Al Schacht

“There ain’t a left-hander in the world who can run a straight line. It’s the gravitational pull on the earth’s axis that gets ’em.”Ray Miller

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A conversation about analysis and the game with the former skipper and present-day talking head.

Buck Showalter is in many ways an old-school baseball man, but that doesn’t mean the former Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Rangers skipper doesn‘t value data -- or that he hasn’t for more than three decades. He unmistakably understands the mechanics of the game. Currently an analyst for ESPN, Showalter offered his thoughts on a variety of subjects, including how the game has (and hasn’t) changed, why Paul O’Neill could hit southpaws, why switch-sliders make good switch-hitters, and what makes the Twins the Twins.

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February 8, 2010 11:46 am

Baseball Therapy: Why Not Two Pitchers?

37

Russell A. Carleton

Alternating left-handed and right-handed relievers by temporarily shifting them to the outfield is an old strategy to reconsider.

It was the second game of a doubleheader last July 12, and the Cardinals were visiting Wrigley Field. In the top of the ninth inning, the Cards held a 4-2 lead, and the wheels were moving in the head of Cubs manager Lou Piniella. Piniella had brought lefty Sean Marshall into the game with runners on first and second and no one out to face the announced left-handed hitting Cardinals pinch hitter Chris Duncan (Tony La Russa countered by using Nick Stavinoha to pinch-hit). Marshall walked Stavinoha, and Piniella popped out of the dugout and called to his bullpen. In came the right-handed Aaron Heilman to face Brendan Ryan, and Marshall was dismissed from the mound to left field. It was Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano who was headed for the showers, rather than Marshall. Piniella apparently wanted to keep Marshall in the game to face Skip Schumaker and Colby Rasmus, the next two hitters due up after Ryan. Piniella's strategy worked. Heilman struck Ryan out. Marshall then returned to the mound. He ended up striking out Jaret Hoffpauir (pinch hitting for Schumaker) and getting Rasmus to fly to left field, where Marshall's replacement, Reed Johnson, made a fine catch.

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Can a manager cost his team a game? It's hard to tell, as the players throw the balls and swing the bats, leaving the managers to fill out the lineup cards, give the steal sign, pinch hit, and bring in numerous relievers. We don't get to mark down a home run or a strike out for the manager, as the best we can do is see what did happen when he made a choice, and surmise what might have happened with the opposite choice.

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February 11, 2009 1:03 pm

You Could Look It Up: Going South?

9

Steven Goldman

Responding to a reader's concern about lineups that lean heavily to the left and whether they help or hurt a team.

It's reader request week here at YCLIU. Thanks to subscriber Shaun, we'll start with the Phillies, but we'll end up traveling all around time and space. Earlier this week, Shaun wrote in to observe this:

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Each team's got a list and is checking it twice, but not everybody gets everything they want this time of year.

As has been well-documented, the free-agent market has been extremely slow to develop; to date only 11 of the 171 players who filed for free agency have signed contracts. There is no word yet if Donald Fehr has asked Congress for a bailout.

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July 17, 2008 12:00 am

On the Beat: The Two-Week Watch

0

John Perrotto

With the trade deadline looming, which teams will make waves, and which will continue to flounder and drift?

Now that the All-Star Game is history and will go down as one of the more interesting Midsummer Classics in recent years, it's on to the non-waiver trading deadline as the game's next big event. Major league clubs have until 4 p.m. on July 31-just two weeks from today-to make trades without having to first secure waivers on players. While deals are often made after the deadline, they can be blocked by any club willing to claim a player.

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