CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Articles Tagged Platoon Splits 

Search BP Articles

All Blogs (including podcasts)

Active Columns

Authors

Article Types

Archives
No Previous Tag Entries Next Tag Entries >>

This is a BP Premium article. To read it, sign up for Premium today!

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.

The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.

Not a subscriber?

Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.


Cancel anytime.


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

This is a BP Premium article. To read it, sign up for Premium today!

May 27, 2004 12:00 am

Lies, Damned Lies: Southpaw Stories, Part I

0

Nate Silver

Two months ago, the Oakland Athletics signed Eric Chavez to a six-year, $66 million contract extension that will keep him with the club through 2010. Despite some head-scratching from the public, there are good reasons behind why Billy Beane campaigned to do for Chavez what he hadn't done for former MVP shortstop Miguel Tejada. Unlike Tejada, Chavez is a player whose skills, like his fine defense and his ever-improving plate discipline, are likely to be undervalued by the market. On top of which, Chavez has continued to demonstrate growth season after season, and PECOTA thinks that he's a very safe bet going forward. It is no secret, however, that Chavez has a tragic flaw: he can't hit left-handed pitching. From 2001-2003, Chavez managed a stellar line of .306/.375/.579 against right-handers, but a Mathenian .229/.278/.395 against southpaws. The A's, recognizing his defensive value and perhaps hoping that repetition would breed improvement, continued to start him anyway, in spite of a rotating array of viable platoon alternatives. This year, indeed, has brought about a turnaround--Chavez is crushing lefties so far on the season (.288/.373/.561), while performing well below his career averages against righties (.214/.358/.398). Whether there's any rationale for the change other than sample size, I'm not certain (I don't get to see the West Coast teams play as often as I'd like to). What is clear, however, is that if such a change becomes permanent--if Chavez learns how to hit left-handed pitching at the age of 26--it would be a relatively unprecedented development. In most cases, a platoon split for a left-handed hitter is something like a finger print or a dental record: it remains a readily identifiable and more or less unchanging part of his profile throughout the different stages of his playing life. A left-handed hitter with a big platoon split early in his career is, in all likelihood, going to have a big platoon split later in his career.

It is no secret, however, that Chavez has a tragic flaw: he can't hit left-handed pitching. From 2001-2003, Chavez managed a stellar line of .306/.375/.579 against right-handers, but a Mathenian .229/.278/.395 against southpaws. The A's, recognizing his defensive value and perhaps hoping that repetition would breed improvement, continued to start him anyway, in spite of a rotating array of viable platoon alternatives.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

No Previous Tag Entries Next Tag Entries >>