Shane Victorino Newsbeat
Friday, September 27, 2013
The question is if Wieters should drop the switch hitting act and follow Victorino into hitting exclusively from the right side. Considering league averages from the American League, the platoon advantage is somewhere between 35 and 65 points of OPS. There are all kinds of complicating factors to that calculation, but we’re only going to use it as a rough baseline.
Over the last three seasons, Wieters OPS split is more than 250 points. This year, it’s more than 200 points. Matt Wieters is gaining the platoon advantage in a technical sense when he hits left-handed against right-handed pitching, but he’s doing dramatically worse than we would expect him to perform if he simply stayed on one side of the plate.
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Interesting article on Victorino batting right handed because of an injury. It also has some stuff of the Red Sox suggesting to Saltalamachia and Nava they bat left handed against Bruce Chen. More teams should play matchups like this, and guys who can’t switch hit shouldn’t switch hit.
“In fact, the day the Red Sox were scheduled to face soft-tossing Kansas City lefty Bruce Chen on their last road trip, manager John Farrell approached Nava and Saltalamacchia to ask if they’d thought about hitting from the left side instead of the right.
Lefties this season have hit Chen significantly better (a .442 slugging percentage) than righties (.292). The reason for that is that his best pitch has been an outstanding, mid-70s changeup.”
Posted: August 24, 2013 at 12:37 PM | 4 comment(s)
Friday, August 23, 2013
Not Cesar Geronimo? No, just Geronimo.
I just saw that you participated in this month’s Atlantic feature “The Big Question”. They asked you and several others “Who was the greatest athlete of all time?”, and you chose Bo Jackson. Congratulations on being published in the Atlantic. Is this the first time you’ve appeared in that magazine?
There was an article about my work in the Atlantic some time in the 1980s, an article by Mike Lenehan. I’ve never written FOR the magazine, but I was in there a long time ago.
Who changed the title of The Politics of Glory to Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame, and why?
That book had an amazing history. The publishing company with which I originally signed the contract for the book went bankrupt, and its assets were purchased by another publisher. The original editor was fired, and the project passed on to another editor.
The book was built around two subjects, standing in for the sides of a Hall of Fame debate: Don Drysdale and Phil Rizzuto. After the book was in the hands of the publisher, but before it was published, Drysdale died suddenly and unexpectedly, and Rizzuto was elected to the Hall of Fame, so nothing in the book read the way it was supposed to read.
Baseball went on strike just after the book was released, souring the public’s appetite for baseball anything. The publicist who was assigned to co-ordinate publicity for the book quit his job, without giving notice, on the Monday of the week the book was released.
Sales of the book, shall we say, struggled a little bit, although I would characterize sales of the book as remarkably good in view of all of the things that happened to it, but. . .that’s just me. So that fall, the editors were talking about bringing the book out in paperback, and they had to decide: Did this book fail to meet expectations because the original publisher went bankrupt, the editor was fired, baseball went on strike and the publicist quit suddenly, or did this book fail to meet expectations because it had a bad title?
Must have been that title. So they changed the title.
On this, the anniversary of Eddie Gaedel’s lone AB, I’ve often wondered whether the rule enacted after the game, banning him (and others like him) from being used would withstand a court challenge… Related question. Would it be reasonable to carry a guy that would always get on base to lead off 81 games, maybe have 70, 75 walks as a pinch hitter in home games, but could do nothing else?
1) The rule probably is indefensible in a modern legal environment. Not a lawyer, but. . .I don’t see how you would defend it.
2) The question assumes the player can ALWAYS get on base. If the player can ALWAYS get on base, then yes, it would pay to carry him as a walk specialist. If his on base percentage was .500, yes, it would pay to carry such a player. I play in a BALLPARK baseball league, a table game. A few years ago we were playing the 1959 season, and Solly Hemus was that player. . .a .500 on base percentage, couldn’t do anything else, and the rules allowed us to use him every game. He was a useful asset, not a tremendous asset, but. . .he helped out a little.
If his on base percentage was .425, .450. ..then it’s a tough call. Then it’s not clear that the gain from having that player would be substantial enough to justify using a roster spot.
Hey Bill, a friend of mine recently asserted to me that Koufax could dominate to such an extent because he was one of, if not the, only lefty to throw a true overhand curve, 12 - 6. He was the rare lefty who, based on his pitches, was never really hitting “wrong way”... Can you think of another player? And do you think his assertion about Koufax (and lefties in general) has any merit? Thanks
1) Koufax had no platoon differential. . ..598 career OPS by lefties, .594 by right-handed hitters. I never knew that, and that’s extremely interesting. I hadn’t heard that theory before.
As to using this explain his dominance. ..well, if you hold left-handers to a .598 OPS and have a normal dropoff against right-handers, you’re going to win a lot of ball games.
2) David Wells had the best 12-to-6 curve ball that I ever saw. Koufax’ curve was thrown hard; Wells not so hard, but Wells had phenomenal control of it. He was able to drop the curve at the very bottom of the strike zone, falling at a tremendous angle, pitch after pitch after pitch.
Wells also had a low platoon differential. . ..716 OPS against left-handers, .742 against right-handers.
Hi Bill. I don’t know if you can answer this question or not, but did Victorino decide to start batting right handed against right handed pitchers on his own or did the organization show him his splits when batting right and left handed and convince him to make a move?
I honestly don’t know the answer. I would assume he is acting on his own initiative.
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