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Articles Tagged Platoon Splits 

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How the pitchers who dominate lefties do it.

In last week's edition of Raising Aces, I covered those pitchers who have been especially vulnerable versus left-handed bats, noting the tendency for pitchers with large splits to share a mechanical trend toward a low arm slot. The list was naturally populated with right-handed pitchers, with the notable exception of Ricky Romero, and one would expect to see the reverse trend this week as we examine the other side of the platoon split and study pitchers who are exceptionally tough on left-handed batters.

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The mechanical causes of massive pitcher platoon splits.

On Wednesday, Jason Collette wrote an excellent piece on the improvements that Justin Masterson has made this season, specifically citing the right-hander's sudden ability to quiet the noise from left-handed bats. The article caught my attention for a number of reasons, including the revelation that Jason and I share an unreasonable affinity for Nick Swisher. Jason kindly dropped a reference to my evaluation of Masterson from the 2013 Starting Pitcher Guide, and the story came full circle thanks to the fact that Masterson had been assigned to me for podcast homework by co-host Paul Sporer at the conclusion of our most recent episode of TINSTAAPP

Jason outlined some of the statistical differences in Masterson's 2013 performance, particularly noting his split stats versus left- and right-handed batters. Left-handed batters have accounted for 43 percent of all plate appearances league-wide since 2011, yet they tend to receive the majority of the attention when it comes to pitching strategy. Lefty hitters enjoy multiple advantages, ranging from the head start toward first base they get out of the box to the lesser gloves that typically populate the pull side of the infield (one of whom is tethered to the first-base bag).

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As a group, left-handed hitters have always hit better than righties. But are right-handers about to catch up?

It was right around when my MVP ballot got six names deep on the path to a most difficult 10 that I realized what was missing. Where on this list of the National League's best were my people?

Didn't you put Ryan Braun second? He's one of your people.

Read the full article...

Jered Weaver is way better than he used to be, but all his improvement has come against left-handed hitters. This is how he's done it.

I remember this Angels-Yankees game from 2009 because MLB.tv decided to let me watch it. I was in the blacked out area for Angels games, which was unfortunate, because I had just convinced my boss to pay for my MLB.tv so I could watch Angels games. And then this game played with no restrictions. I thought maybe it was where I was sitting in the building, that I had found a 10-square-foot pocket of Southern California that was somehow outside the law, like a tiny baseball Reservation. I tried for a month but never found it again. That’s why I remember this game. 

The Yankees’ lineup that day had Derek Jeter, followed by eight hitters who batted left-handed or switch-hit. This mattered because Jered Weaver was pitching, and everybody knew that Jered Weaver was lethal against righties but vulnerable to lefties, who hit .276/.335/.477 against Weaver that year. Against lefties that year, Weaver was a below-average pitcher. Against righties, he was an ace. Overall, he was not an ace.

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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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July 16, 2012 5:00 am

Resident Fantasy Genius: To Platoon or Not to Platoon?

3

Derek Carty

Derek lists the factors you need to consider before deciding to platoon two players on your fantasy team.

On Thursday, reader “jimcal” asked me in the comments section of my article to give my thoughts on platooning players in fantasy baseball. While platooning is a bit of a complicated subject, I’ll do my best to tackle it all in one article today. When considering platooning, there are two main concepts that the discussion can be distilled down to: sample size and opportunity cost.

What most people don’t realize is that very few players truly need to be platooned. We tend to look at a player’s performance versus same-handed pitching either for the current year or even over a three-year period when making such decisions, but this isn’t nearly enough data to make a reasonable guess as to whether the player is best used in a platoon (absent scouting data that supports his performance, which makes this a more complicated decision).

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May 26, 2010 5:04 pm

Fantasy Beat: Playing The Platoon

0

Craig Brown

Three players to think about when playing the platoon advantage in Scoresheet.

One of the things I love about Scoresheet is the ability to play platoon splits to set your optimal lineup.  I find myself visiting my team on a daily basis, revisiting my lineups to get the most value out of my team.  

What follows is a look at three players whose roles should be adjusted in Scoresheet leagues based on their extreme platoon splits in the first quarter of the season.  In an effort to uncover some potential hidden gems, I searched for players with greater than normal splits.

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November 19, 2009 12:26 pm

Checking the Numbers: The 2009 Platoon Split Awards

4

Eric Seidman

Handing out awards for the best same-handed pitcher/batter and opposite-handed pitcher/batter combos.

Earlier this month, we added several new statistics reports to the site, a few of which specialize in performance splits, compiling batter performance against righties and lefties, pitcher performance in platoon splits as well, and the numbers accrued for each group at home and on the road. I outlined how to use the reports and the types of information they contain last week, but with awards season in full bloom, it felt like the perfect time to delve into the various facets of platoon splits and crown a few winners of our own. Some of the numbers I will use here are not yet on the actual reports, the same of which can be said for the handedness of the individual subjects being split, but they will certainly be incorporated in the near future.

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July 3, 2009 11:01 am

Checking the Numbers: Contextual Platooning

18

Eric Seidman

Making a choice to platoon or not to platoon cannot simply rely on one number in isolation.

Nothing grinds my gears within the realm of sabermetrics as much as the avoidance or misuse of context. For whatever reason, something simple like using the appropriate frames of reference has become the type of analytical tool that makes sense to implement only when it furthers a predetermined point. In fact, if nothing else is taken away from this article, heed the following warning: never trust any conclusions drawn from performance splits if the league average of that split is absent from the same analysis. If the goal involves evaluating pitcher performance with the bases empty vs. with ducks on the pond, the results of each individual must be compared to the aggregate league split before anything of interest can be parsed. The same can be said for gleaning useful information from platoon splits, which happens to be our topic du jour. Platoon splits are certainly existent, but before suggesting that certain players should split duty at a position, we need to understand what the data really explains and the appropriate context in addition to potential shortcomings for which to look out.

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April 27, 2006 12:00 am

Schrodinger's Bat: Of Crowds and Splits

0

Dan Fox

Dan responds to readers' thoughts on the subject of platoon splits.

In the fall of 1906 Francis Galton (1822-1911), the British polymath and half-cousin of Charles Darwin, decided to attend a country fair near his home. Galton was a man of many and varied talents--he invented the weather map, a method for classifying fingerprints, and even the silent dog whistle--but among them was a statistical bent, and he had used his skills to try and understand human differences and heredity.

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April 13, 2006 12:00 am

Schrodinger's Bat: The Irreducible Essence of Platoon Splits

0

Dan Fox

Dan takes a closer look at platoon splits, responding to some questions about why splits aren't taken more seriously in sabermetric circles.

That quote is from one of my favorite authors (himself a big baseball fan), and was appropriately used by Nate Silver when he introduced the PECOTA system in the 2003 Baseball Prospectus. The concepts embodied in the quote have been on my mind the past couple of weeks, ever since I mentioned Wily Mo Pena's platoon split in my inaugural column and received a healthy dose of reader feedback.

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June 30, 2005 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: Left Wing Conspiracy

0

James Click

Why is it that so many of the greatest hitters of all time bat from the left side of the plate? Is there more than just their platoon advantage? James takes a swing at an answer.

Towards the end of last season, I was digging up some data involving platoon splits and noticed that back in the 1980s and early 1990s, the number of lefty-lefty matchups was a lot higher than it is now. That led to an article showing that left-handed pitchers are pitching a significantly smaller percentage of the available innings (or PAs) than they were just 10 to 15 years ago. In 1991 nearly 34 percent of PAs were against LHPs; in 2002, it was under 24 percent.

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