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Monday, February 04, 2013

HHS: Stan Musial’s Cardinals faced a LOT of lefties

Yikes! Guess “gutless” Bowie Kuhn couldn’t help Murcer out with lefties either.

Despite sitting against lefties as a rookie and somewhat in his later years, Musial faced a LHSP in 38% of his actual games played. The precise PA platoon data are only 67% complete for Musial, but show him facing 36% lefties.

A hunch says that’s among the highest rates of any great lefty hitter. But why play hunches, when we have the Batting Split Finder?

[sound of numbers crunching]

The results are in! Using the actual platoon splits for all known plate appearances,* here are the top 10 career rates of lefty/lefty PAs (with at least 500 games against a southpaw):

38.1% Bobby Murcer
37.8% Graig Nettles
36.9% Larry Doby
36.3% Keith Hernandez
36.2% Stan Musial
35.3% Don Mattingly
35.2% Mickey Rivers
34.4% Tony Gwynn
34.4% Reggie Jackson
34.2% Darryl Strawberry

Repoz Posted: February 04, 2013 at 06:08 AM | 45 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, sabermetrics

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   1. bjhanke Posted: February 04, 2013 at 06:43 AM (#4361952)
Interestingly, Stan Musial is on record as saying that he turned himself into the great hitter he became when he learned to hit to the opposite field. Since his ballpark (Sportsman's Park his whole career) was a hitter's park in right field but not in left, that's an odd comment - unless you're facing a lot of lefties. - Brock Hanke
   2. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: February 04, 2013 at 06:54 AM (#4361954)
Growing up, it was always amazing to me how many MLBers were left-handed. Me and my best friend were both left-handed and both pitchers, the best pitchers in our age group. So whatever team we were on had a #1 and #2 pitcher who were lefty, which was very odd. Most of our opponents had at most one or maybe two lefty hitters, many had none. And we never ran across any opposing lefty pitchers. The left side of the pitching rubbers and the left handed batter's boxes were always in pristine condition. Yet there was MLB where it seemed like 30-40% of the guys were left-handed. Never made any sense to me.
   3. bobm Posted: February 04, 2013 at 08:02 AM (#4361959)
How many of the "Bats LH / Throws RH" and switch hitters are born lefties ? I would guess pretty few.

2012, Bats LH, Throws RH, (requiring Qualified for league batting title): Seasons found: 27 (19%)
2012, Bats LH, Throws LH, (requiring Qualified for league batting title): Seasons found: 20 (14%)
2012, Bats RH, (requiring Qualified for league batting title):            Seasons found: 74
2012, Switch-hitter, (requiring Qualified for league batting title:       Seasons found: 23
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: February 04, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4362029)
7 of the 10 played in NYC in the 1970s and 1980s, no wonder I didn't think this was so unusual.
And Doby grew up in Paterson, NJ, a couple of stone's throws from NYC.


   5. SoSH U at work Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:27 AM (#4362057)
That list looks like a lot of teams were seriously rejiggering their rotation when they came to visit Yankee Stadium in the 70s and 80s.

   6. AROM Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4362061)
Ted Williams is on the other side of the spectrum. Only faced lefties in 23.8 percent of his PAs, at least in the games we have PBP records for.
   7. McCoy Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:38 AM (#4362073)
Ted faced lefties in 21.1% of his PA and had a stat line somewhere between .309/.432/.488 and .317/.440/.499. Ted also did not duck lefties nor was he sat against lefties. Two things appear to hurt his line against lefties (though it is still rather excellent and one of the best lefty vs lefty lines that we know about), his time off because of wars and his old age. One of those things is normal while the other is unusual.
   8. Howie Menckel Posted: February 04, 2013 at 11:51 AM (#4362089)
"Most of our opponents had at most one or maybe two lefty hitters, many had none. And we never ran across any opposing lefty pitchers."

Yeah, I was a lefty batter - consigned to 1B/OF duty, of course - and noticed almost never seeing a lefty pitcher. The one I did see lived in my neighborhood, a big strong kid who was wild as all hell, Nuke LaLoosh style. I tried to bunt on the first pitch, and the ball went about 100 feet in the air backwards. yikes. was thrilled to hit a feeble grounder to first and struggle to a couple of walks against him. I couldn't see the ball coming....

btw, I'm going to guess that BBTF has more than the typical number of left-handers. Does that make sense?
   9. Mike Emeigh Posted: February 04, 2013 at 12:13 PM (#4362120)
With Williams, there were a couple of factors working:

1. Between 1939 and 1960, AL teams started left-handers against the Red Sox less often than against any other team. Left-handed pitchers who didn't play for the Red Sox started only 19.1% of the games against the Red Sox during that time frame, and 27.1% of the games against the rest of the league.

2. Part of this - but not all of it - was a Fenway Park effect. Left-handers started against Boston in 15.5% of the games played there (compared to 27.4% of the time against other teams in their home parks), and in 22.7% of the games played against the Red Sox on the road (compared to 26.8% of the time against other teams playing on the road).

When you look at the construction of the Red Sox during those years, it's really not that surprising that WIlliams faced so few lefties. Except for Williams and Johnny Pesky, and Billy Goodman for a couple of years, the key hitters were almost always right-handed.

-- MWE
   10. bjhanke Posted: February 04, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4362155)
Mike - Do you have, or is it easy to obtain, this kind of data for Duke Snider? Duke was famous in his day for being the only lefty bat in the Dodger lineup, when they were winning lots of pennants. It turns out - I was able to look that up - that this was true. Aside from Junior Gilliam, who was a switch hitter, I think, The Duke was the only lefty bat of any significance in the lineup. Since this was known and commented upon while he was playing, the managers of the day had to be aware of it. Did they skew the IP in favor of righties? Duke is the most serious case I know of - sort of the test case for the theory. Almost everyone had more lefty bats in the lineup with him than Duke had. - Brock
   11. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 04, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4362157)
btw, I'm going to guess that BBTF has more than the typical number of left-handers. Does that make sense?

Politically? ;)

Um, I suspect it's true, but the perception may be driven by the fact that this is a setting where lefties are more apt to announce it. Also, baseball probably draws lefties to it (in terms of sustained interest) more than other sports.

Never made any sense to me.

Always did to me, for some reason.

I literally don't remember ever facing a fellow lefty pitcher. First few times I pitched (well, threw) against them, I remember overthinking things ('I like the ball down as a hitter - should I work up in the zone? Should I go inside more?').
   12. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 04, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4362163)
Mike - Do you have, or is it easy to obtain, this kind of data for Duke Snider? Duke was famous in his day for being the only lefty bat in the Dodger lineup,

only 14.1% of Snider's PAs were vs. lefties (1170 out of 8237)
   13. PreservedFish Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4362173)
Aren't lefties more likely to be geniuses and also more likely to be retards?
   14. McCoy Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4362177)
Here is the yearly % and total % of lefty pitchers facing Dodgers' batter as compared to total PA.

1949 38.2%
1950 32.3%
1951 23.4%
1952 15.6%
1953 15.9%
1954 12.6%
1955 8.0%
1956 11.1%
1957 5.8%
1958 14.1%
Total 17.8
   15. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:09 PM (#4362185)
13 - that's my understanding, no link though
   16. McCoy Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:10 PM (#4362187)
Here is Duke's yearly and career numbers.

1947 28.1%
1948 23.3%
1949 30.7%
1950 33.3%
1951 21.7%
1952 11.5%
1953 15.1%
1954 11.3%
1955 9.6%
1956 10.6%
1957 5.6%
1958 3.8%
1959 4.6%
1960 3.5%
1961 7.9%
1962 3.6%
1963 12.5%
1964 2.1%
Total 14.2


Duke wasn't really sat against lefties until he got old and injured which is often the case for lefties.
   17. SandyRiver Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:30 PM (#4362219)
(though it is still rather excellent and one of the best lefty vs lefty lines that we know about)

Undoubtedly true, though Musial's LH-LHP split was probably (depending onhow one weights OBP and SL) a bit better, .327/.394/.533, and much closer than Williams (0.70 vs over .200) to his numbers against RHP. Good hitters hit well against almost everybody.
   18. Mike Emeigh Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:30 PM (#4362220)
Mike - Do you have, or is it easy to obtain, this kind of data for Duke Snider?


Retrosheet has complete game logs from 1916 on.

I only looked at the years in which Snider was a regular in Brooklyn (1949-1957). Once you get to LA the data is skewed to some extent by the reduction in Snider's playing time and the funky dimensions of the LA Coliseum. (FWIW, the Coliseum probably contributed to a delay in Koufax's emergence as a quality pitcher.) The Dodgers faced left-handed starting pitchers in 18.4% of their games, while other NL teams faced non-Dodger lefty starters in 33.3% of theirs - just a little under twice as often. At home, the Dodgers saw left-handers only 17.6% of the time, while other NL teams saw them 33.0% of the time. On the road, the figures were 19.3% for the Dodgers, 33.5% for other NL teams.

From 1946 when both Musial and Williams were back from the war, to 1960 when Williams retired, the AL actually had a higher percentage of games started by non-Red Sox lefties than the NL had that were started by non-Cardinal lefties. All else being equal, then, Musial should have faced fewer lefties than Williams.

-- MWE

   19. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4362262)
(FWIWthe Coliseum probably contributed to a delay in Koufax's emergence as a quality pitcher.) 


Bill James' argument was that it didn't so much as delay that emergence, but hide it, in 1960/61 he pitched on the road about as well as he did from 62 to 66- which while true has something of a selective endpoints problem, he got hammered on the road in 59 but just fine at home...

His career ERA of 4.33 in the Coliseum was the worst mark of his career (not counting his 9 ip in Seals Stadium)

There is case to be made that he was unusually advantaged by LA Stadium and unusually disadvantaged by the Coliseum.
   20. GuyM Posted: February 04, 2013 at 01:58 PM (#4362278)
Yet there was MLB where it seemed like 30-40% of the guys were left-handed. Never made any sense to me.

And it's more like 50% if you look only at good hitters, about 5x their proportion of the population. Of the hitters with a career OPS+ over 100, 49% were either LHH (42%) or switch hitters (7%). Among the top 200 hitters, 50% were LHH and 4% switch. When you consider that lefty throwers are excluded from 4 of the defensive positions, these proportions are even more extraordinary. The platoon advantage is a huge force.
   21. SoSH U at work Posted: February 04, 2013 at 02:14 PM (#4362316)
And it's more like 50% if you look only at good hitters, about 5x their proportion of the population.


I don't think lefty hitters are nearly as small a percentage of the population as lefthanded people. A good percentage of lefty hitters are righthanded people.

Not to say the platoon advantage isn't real and sizable, but the selection pool for lefthanded hitters is a bit larger than the pool for lefty throwers.

   22. GuyM Posted: February 04, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4362347)
I don't think lefty hitters are nearly as small a percentage of the population as lefthanded people.

Fair point. Anyone know what % of LHHs are RH throwers?
   23. Mike Emeigh Posted: February 04, 2013 at 02:39 PM (#4362367)
Anyone know what % of LHHs are RH throwers?


Of all of the players in the Lahman DB who are listed as hitting left-handed and who have a throwing designation, 42.6% as listed as right-handed throwers.

-- MWE
   24. SoSH U at work Posted: February 04, 2013 at 02:52 PM (#4362390)


Of all of the players in the Lahman DB who are listed as hitting left-handed and who have a throwing designation, 42.6% as listed as right-handed throwers.


Wow, that's higher than I would have thought, though it's probably also considerably higher than the general population, given the sport is tilted in favor of both throwing righthanded and batting lefthanded.

   25. PreservedFish Posted: February 04, 2013 at 02:58 PM (#4362400)
I tried to get a discussion going about this once in the dugout but it didn't take. Suppose that baseball went the other direction - runners go clockwise. What would happen? I think if that were the case both righties and lefties would play shortstop.
   26. SoSH U at work Posted: February 04, 2013 at 03:31 PM (#4362451)
I tried to get a discussion going about this once in the dugout but it didn't take. Suppose that baseball went the other direction - runners go clockwise. What would happen? I think if that were the case both righties and lefties would play shortstop.


I think what would happen is baseball soon realized that counterclockwise made more sense. (-:

Barring that, I think you'd find righthanders at positions that are more suitable for southpaws, just as we see right now at first base. There may be one infield position where being lefthanded was such an advantage (possibly where today's second baseman plays) that it left righties out of the mix entirely, though that's probably something we'd only discover through trial and error.

   27. GuyM Posted: February 04, 2013 at 04:59 PM (#4362544)
Of all of the players in the Lahman DB who are listed as hitting left-handed and who have a throwing designation, 42.6% as listed as right-handed throwers.

Boy, that is high. Assuming that the large majority of switch hitters are RH throwers, it suggests that almost half of all LH plate appearances are from RH throwers. That tells us a lot of kids are being taught by their dads and/or coaches to learn to hit LH. I wonder if this has increased noticeably over time?
   28. Walt Davis Posted: February 04, 2013 at 05:02 PM (#4362551)
Of all of the players in the Lahman DB who are listed as hitting left-handed and who have a throwing designation, 42.6% as listed as right-handed throwers.

Wow, among those with careers, it's more like 60% -- 314 of 538 LHB with 3000+ PA. I never would have guessed this. LHB (not including switch) are about 1/3 of the total.

In that list at the top, it's just Murcer, Doby, Nettles.

Interestingly (to me), at SS, it's only 17 of 254 who played at least 500 games at SS. (i.e. 17 L/R out of all SS) Only 8-9 of them are in the expansion era. It strikes me as unusual that there'd be such a R/R bias at SS but not other positions. Stephen Drew is the 2nd greatest LHB SS of the expansion era (McAuliffe, who had only 600 starts there so you might still make a case for Drew).

At 2B, it's 45 of 239 with 29-31 from the expansion era (McAuliffe counted here too). At 3B, it's 34 of 226 with just 18 from the expansion era. Finally C, it's 63 of 305 with 38-40 from the expansion era. In the OF, it's 209 L/R out of 866 (any combo) or 649 RHT.



   29. SoSH U at work Posted: February 04, 2013 at 05:04 PM (#4362555)
That tells us a lot of kids are being taught by their dads and/or coaches to learn to hit LH. I wonder if this has increased noticeably over time?


I don't know how much is taught and how much is natural. The oldest Unacceptable boy is a decided non-athlete, and a righthander in all other aspects of life, but he only batted lefthanded because that's what felt natural to him. I know I've played with others whose lefthanded stick had similar origins.

   30. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: February 04, 2013 at 05:11 PM (#4362557)
My son learned to hit from the left by copying me. I'm a righty, but when he was two he'd stand in front of me with his little plastic bat and mimic my swing like he was looking in a mirror. Seemed to work for him, so we stuck with it. We'll see how it goes this spring when he joins a coach pitch league.
   31. GuyM Posted: February 04, 2013 at 06:39 PM (#4362635)
It strikes me as unusual that there'd be such a R/R bias at SS but not other positions.

Could this be a cultural thing -- are Latin players any less likely to be L/R?
   32. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 04, 2013 at 07:12 PM (#4362676)
Of all of the players in the Lahman DB who are listed as hitting left-handed and who have a throwing designation, 42.6% as listed as right-handed throwers.
Wow, among those with careers, it's more like 60% -- 314 of 538 LHB with 3000+ PA.

in contrast, there have only been 7 players in MLB history with >3000 PA's who threw left and batted right (not counting pitchers--there are a suprprising number of pitchers who fit this profile, including Koufax)
   33. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 04, 2013 at 07:29 PM (#4362688)
And two are active right now! It is the BR/TL golden age.
   34. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 04, 2013 at 07:46 PM (#4362705)
in contrast, there have only been 7 players in MLB history with >3000 PA's who threw left and batted right (not counting pitchers--there are a suprprising number of pitchers who fit this profile, including Koufax)


I think there are two factors at work here. First, baseball is vastly more favorable to batting left and throwing right than the other way around (save on the mound, so it's no surprise a lot of the TL/BR players are found there).

Second, I suspect there are far more people in general who BL and TR than the other way around. If your throwing arm is more indicative of your handedness than your batting side (which seems a fair assumption), than it stands to reason that more people would fit the BL/TR profile.

   35. Walt Davis Posted: February 04, 2013 at 08:33 PM (#4362738)
there are a suprprising number of pitchers who fit this profile

At one point there was a theory floating around that it was safer for pitchers to bat from the other side -- not getting your pitching hand whacked on a bunt attempt and I suppose the front shoulder/arm is the first thing you get out of the way when a pitch is riding in on you.

Could this be a cultural thing -- are Latin players any less likely to be L/R?

I wondered about that too but I don't see any way to do this within b-r. What I did do was sort Dominican born players by PA and looked at the famous ones. LH batters period seem pretty rare:

Ortiz, 11th in PA
Matty Alou, 25th
Carlos Pena, 34th
Polonia, 36th
Cano, 39th
Geronimo, 48th
Henry Rodriguez, 57th

Hopefully I didn't miss anybody and that's everybody in the top 60 (3000+ PA). So it's only 7 out of 60 who hit lefty at all which is close to the (US) population norm of left-handers. The only guy on the list who throws R is Cano. There are a lot of switch-hitters, at least as many as there are LHB, probably more. Perhaps they go that direction rather than L/R.

Do they think LHB are children of the devil?

Anyway, it does seem to be a cultural thing. Since 1990 (to give Latin integration plenty of time to be established), 472 players have 3000+ PA and 144 of them hit lefty only -- almost exactly 30%. But it's more like 10% among those born in the DR.

But, given this is all Dominican LHB not just L/R, this phenomenon should impact across all positions, albeit I suppose DR players are still more likely to end up at SS and other IF positions.
   36. bjhanke Posted: February 05, 2013 at 06:43 AM (#4362883)
Thanks to everyone who responded to my Duke Snider request. I wasn't wondering about whether he got benched against lefties. I was more interested in whether the league in general sent out more RIGHTIES against the Dodgers when the Duke was in his prime, because he was the only lefty bat the Bums had. All the data is a help in trying to figure that out. It was sort of assumed, in the 1950s, that Snider wasn't quite as good as his stats showed, because it was assumed that he got to hit against a lot more righties than other teams' lefties did, so he had a team-generated platoon advantage. What showed up here suggests that the effect wasn't quite that huge. - Brock
   37. bobm Posted: February 05, 2013 at 08:54 AM (#4362897)
From PI Batting Season Finder

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, Born in D.R., From 1901 to 2012, Bats LH, Throws RH, sorted by greatest Plate Appearances

                                                                                                                      
Rk              Player   PA From   To   Age     Pos                                                                 Tm
1        Robinson Cano 5110 2005 2012 22-29    *4/D                                     NYY  San Pedro de Macoris D.R.
2        Pedro Alvarez 1234 2010 2012 23-25    *5/D                                     PIT         Santo Domingo D.R.
3        Manny Jimenez 1116 1962 1969 23-30     7/9                             KCA-PIT-CHC  San Pedro de Macoris D.R.
4       Sandy Martinez  611 1995 2004 24-33      *2                     TOR-CHC-FLA-MON-TOT           Villa Mella D.R.
5       Juan Francisco  386 2009 2012 22-25     /*5                                 CIN-ATL                 Bonao D.R.
6    Fernando Martinez  275 2009 2012 20-23  /*798D                                 NYM-HOU          Rio San Juan D.R.
7         Danny Richar  252 2007 2009 24-26   /*456                                 CHW-CIN             La Romana D.R.
8    Jordany Valdespin  206 2012 2012 24-24 /74896D                                     NYM  San Pedro de Macoris D.R.
9       Julian Tavarez  168 1993 2009 20-36      *1 CLE-SFG-COL-CHC-FLA-PIT-STL-BOS-TOT-WSN              Santiago D.R.
10   Ricardo Rodriguez    8 2002 2005 24-27     /*1                                 CLE-TEX              Guayubin D.R.
11         Julio Manon    1 2003 2006 30-33     /*1                                 MON-BAL                Guerra D.R.
12        Jhonny Nunez    0 2009 2009 23-23     /*1                                     CHW San Jose de las Matas D.R.


   38. GuyM Posted: February 05, 2013 at 09:46 AM (#4362913)
bobm: cool. Sure looks like hitting LH is not something taught to kids in the DR. But, what if you include switch hitters? After all, there's no reason to teach your kid to hit lefty even when it costs him the platoon advantage.
   39. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 05, 2013 at 10:11 AM (#4362930)
It was sort of assumed, in the 1950s, that Snider wasn't quite as good as his stats showed, because it was assumed that he got to hit against a lot more righties than other teams' lefties did, so he had a team-generated platoon advantage. What showed up here suggests that the effect wasn't quite that huge. - Brock

Snider benefited from playing in the Ebbets Field bandbox, where he put up a .999 OPS for his career and hit 35% more HR/AB than he did on the road. The extra dose of RHP he faced only added to that advantage, and it was a big one: .949/.743 vs RHP/LHP. Bottom line is that it's hard to think of a slugger who enjoyed more environmental advantages than Duke Snider.
   40. bobm Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:12 AM (#4362994)
Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, Born in D.R., From 1901 to 2012, Switch-hitter, Throws RH, sorted by greatest Plate Appearances

                                                                                                                  
Rk                 Player   PA From   To   Age       Pos                                                        Tm
1          Tony Fernandez 8793 1983 2001 21-39    *654/D     SDP-CIN-NYY-CLE-TOR-TOT     San Pedro de Macoris D.R.
2           Luis Castillo 7471 1996 2010 20-34        *4             FLA-MIN-TOT-NYM     San Pedro de Macoris D.R.
3         Alfredo Griffin 7331 1976 1993 18-35    *6/4D5             CLE-OAK-LAD-TOR            Santo Domingo D.R.
4           Rafael Furcal 7200 2000 2012 22-34      *6/4             ATL-LAD-TOT-STL          Loma de Cabrera D.R.
5           Jose Offerman 6582 1990 2005 21-36  643D/798         LAD-KCR-BOS-TOT-MIN     San Pedro de Macoris D.R.
6           Jose Vizcaino 5918 1989 2006 21-38  *645/3D7     LAD-CHC-NYM-SFG-TOT-HOU            San Cristobal D.R.
7         Cristian Guzman 5785 1999 2010 21-32    *6/4D9                 MIN-WSN-TOT            Santo Domingo D.R.
8             Stan Javier 5755 1984 2001 20-37  897/3D45 NYY-TOT-LAD-CAL-OAK-SFG-SEA San Francisco de Macoris D.R.
9              Jose Reyes 5556 2003 2012 20-29      *6/4                     NYM-MIA                 Santiago D.R.
10            Neifi Perez 5510 1996 2007 23-34   *64/5D2     COL-TOT-KCR-SFG-CHC-DET              Villa Mella D.R.
11             Jose Uribe 3369 1984 1993 25-34      *6/4                 STL-SFG-HOU            San Cristobal D.R.
12          Quilvio Veras 3293 1995 2001 24-30     *4/89                 FLA-SDP-ATL            Santo Domingo D.R.
13             Manuel Lee 2960 1985 1995 20-30   *64/5D9                 TOR-TEX-STL     San Pedro de Macoris D.R.
14            Erick Aybar 2930 2006 2012 22-28  *6/4D795                         LAA                     Bani D.R.
15          Abraham Nunez 2804 1997 2008 21-32   564/D17             PIT-STL-PHI-NYM            Santo Domingo D.R.
16             Felix Jose 2756 1988 2003 23-38    *9/78D     OAK-TOT-STL-KCR-NYY-ARI            Santo Domingo D.R.
17         Nelson Liriano 2487 1987 1998 23-34   *4/65D3     TOR-TOT-KCR-COL-PIT-LAD             Puerto Plata D.R.
18        DAngelo Jimenez 2480 1999 2007 21-29    *46/51         NYY-SDP-TOT-CIN-WSN            Santo Domingo D.R.
19         Ramon Santiago 2346 2002 2012 22-32    *64/5D                     SEA-DET      Las Matas de Farfan D.R.
20           Junior Felix 2340 1989 1994 21-26    *98/D7             TOR-CAL-FLA-DET            Laguna Salada D.R.
21         Wilson Betemit 2325 2001 2012 19-30 *5/36D479     ATL-TOT-NYY-CHW-KCR-BAL            Santo Domingo D.R.
22          Miguel Dilone 2182 1974 1985 19-30    78/9D5         PIT-OAK-TOT-CLE-MON                 Santiago D.R.
23       Emilio Bonifacio 1838 2007 2012 22-27   5/68479             ARI-TOT-FLA-MIA            Santo Domingo D.R.
24        Wilton Guerrero 1797 1996 2004 21-29 4/7698D53         LAD-TOT-MON-CIN-KCR             Don Gregorio D.R.
25          Alexi Casilla 1764 2006 2012 21-27   *4/6D58                         MIN            San Cristobal D.R.
Rk                 Player   PA From   To   Age       Pos                                                        Tm
26         Enrique Wilson 1537 1997 2005 23-31   465/D39             CLE-TOT-NYY-CHC            Santo Domingo D.R.
27         Carlos Santana 1459 2010 2012 24-26    *2/3D7                         CLE            Santo Domingo D.R.
28            Willy Aybar 1390 2005 2010 22-27    5D/436                 LAD-TOT-TBR                     Bani D.R.
29       Rafael Landestoy 1367 1977 1984 24-31  46/57983             HOU-TOT-CIN-LAD                     Bani D.R.
30         Domingo Cedeno 1337 1993 1999 24-30    46/D57                 TOR-TEX-TOT                La Romana D.R.
31          Geronimo Pena 1170 1990 1996 23-29     *4/75                     STL-CLE           Los Alcarrizos D.R.
32         Manny Castillo  767 1980 1983 23-26   *5/43D1                     KCR-SEA            Santo Domingo D.R.
33         Felix Martinez  731 1997 2001 23-27     *6/4D                     KCR-TBD                    Nagua D.R.
34          Eugenio Velez  718 2007 2011 25-29     4/789                     SFG-LAD     San Pedro de Macoris D.R.
35     Anderson Hernandez  703 2005 2010 22-27    4/67D5                 NYM-WSN-TOT            Santo Domingo D.R.
36        Joaquin Andujar  689 1976 1988 23-35        *1             HOU-TOT-STL-OAK     San Pedro de Macoris D.R.
37         Wilson Delgado  601 1996 2004 23-31     *6/45         SFG-TOT-KCR-STL-NYM            San Cristobal D.R.
38          Juan Castillo  534 1986 1989 24-27   *4/65D7                         MIL     San Pedro de Macoris D.R.
39          Nelson Norman  474 1978 1987 20-29     *6/54                 TEX-PIT-MON     San Pedro de Macoris D.R.
40             Tony Abreu  464 2007 2012 22-27     /546D                 LAD-ARI-KCR             Puerto Plata D.R.
41          Jesus Tavarez  463 1994 1998 23-27     8/97D                 FLA-BOS-BAL            Santo Domingo D.R.
42           Hanley Frias  359 1997 2000 23-26     /*645                     TEX-ARI         Villa Altagracia D.R.
43       Michael Martinez  356 2011 2012 28-29   /546879                         PHI            Santo Domingo D.R.
44          Abraham Nunez  339 2002 2004 25-27    /*978D                     FLA-TOT           Bajos de Haina D.R.
45            Henry Mateo  280 2001 2006 24-29  /46978D5                     MON-WSN            Santo Domingo D.R.
46          Jimmy Paredes  261 2011 2012 22-23    /*5947                         HOU           Bajos de Haina D.R.
47          Elian Herrera  214 2012 2012 27-27   /754896                         LAD     San Pedro de Macoris D.R.
48          Bernie Castro  209 2005 2006 25-26     /*4D7                     BAL-WSN            Santo Domingo D.R.
49         Pedro Florimon  160 2011 2012 24-25       /*6                     BAL-MIN                La Romana D.R.
50         Santiago Perez  160 2000 2001 24-25    /68794                     MIL-SDP            Santo Domingo D.R.
Rk                 Player   PA From   To   Age       Pos                                                        Tm
51          Argenis Reyes  139 2008 2009 25-26      /*46                         NYM                 Santiago D.R.
52        Ramon Caraballo  110 1993 1995 24-26       /*4                     ATL-STL             Rio San Juan D.R.
53            Jose Moreno  106 1980 1982 22-24   /49756D                 NYM-SDP-CAL            Santo Domingo D.R.
54          Freddy Guzman  102 2004 2009 23-28     /879D                 SDP-TEX-NYY            Santo Domingo D.R.
55          Eddy Garabito  102 2005 2005 28-28       /46                         COL           Bajos de Haina D.R.
56           Julio Valdez   96 1980 1983 24-27     /*64D                         BOS            San Cristobal D.R.
57            Jose Morban   77 2003 2003 23-23     /6D45                         BAL                 Santiago D.R.
58             Elvis Pena   58 2000 2001 23-24       /46                     COL-MIL     San Pedro de Macoris D.R.
59       Elizardo Ramirez   43 2004 2008 21-25       /*1                 PHI-CIN-TEX              Villa Mella D.R.
60              Jose Mota   43 1991 1995 26-30      /*46                     SDP-KCR            Santo Domingo D.R.
61        Wilkin Castillo   37 2008 2009 24-25       /74                         CIN                     Bani D.R.
62              Juan Diaz   17 2012 2012 23-23       /*6                         CLE                     Bani D.R.
63              Juan Melo   13 2000 2000 23-23       /*4                         SFG                     Bani D.R.
64          Julio Peguero   13 1992 1992 23-23      /*89                         PHI               San Isidro D.R.
65             Jose Reyes    5 2006 2006 23-23       /*2                         CHC                 Barahona D.R.
66         Melvin Rosario    3 1997 1997 24-24       /*2                         BAL            Santo Domingo D.R.
67         Pablo Martinez    3 1996 1996 27-27        /6                         ATL    Sabana Grande de Boya D.R.
68         Andres Santana    2 1990 1990 22-22       /*6                         SFG     San Pedro de Macoris D.R.
69         Lendy Castillo    0 2012 2012 23-23       /*1                         CHC  Las Matas de Santa Cruz D.R.
70   Francisco de la Rosa    0 1991 1991 25-25       /*1                         BAL                La Romana D.R.


   41. GuyM Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:15 AM (#4363000)
bob/Walt: The cultural difference seems to disappear once you include switch hitters. If you look at hitters with at least 2000 PAs since 1990, 32% are RH throwers who hit left/both. For players born in D.R., the same proportion is 29%. The difference is that in the larger pool, about half are LHH and half are switch hitters, while 16 of the 17 qualifying DR players are switch hitters.

I don't know how much is taught and how much is natural.

I think it's about 90% taught. If it were mainly natural, there would be proportionately as many LHH/RHT as RHH/LHT -- but that isn't what we see. It may be that a certain number of RH kids started swinging lefty on their own, but it's also true that some adult encouraged them to keep it up. But a LH kid who steps into the batters box as a RHH will quickly be told he's doing it "wrong."

My guess is that if someone studied this they would find:
Kids whose dads are coaches, or played ball seriously themselves, are much more likely to be LHH/RHT.
The most talented kids in little league or HS are more likely to be LHH/RHT.
   42. SoSH U at work Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4363022)
If it were mainly natural, there would be proportionately as many LHH/RHT as RHH/LHT --


No, there wouldn't be. First, it is an advantage to both throw right and bat left, and a disadvantage to throw left and bat right (at least for position players. For pitchers, who not coincidentally happen to represent a high percentage of the TL/BR cohort, throwing left is an advantage while hitting side is irrelevant). So baseball selects for BL/TR position players much more than it does for BR/TL players.

Second, it wouldn't be balanced if you assume handedness is correlated with throwing arm more than than batting side (which seems a fairly safe assumption - hitting is done with both hands, and most of us can more easily pick up a bat and swing the opposite way than we can pick up a ball and throw with the opposite arm).

So if that's true, then look at the numbers:

Say true lefthanders represent 10 percent of the population (which is the number I've always heard). Let's also say that 9 out of 10 people of either handedness will naturally bat the opposite way (just a guess, but the actual number isn't that important).

In a group of 100 people, you'll find 90 righthanders, 10 lefthanders.

Of the 90 righthanders, 90 percent will naturally also bat righthanded, or 81 people will be TR/BR.

10 percent of those people will bat lefthanded, or 9 people.

Of the 10 lefthanders, 90 percent will naturally bat lefthanded, or 9 people.

And 10 percent of the lefthanders will bat righthanded, or 1 person.

So the TR/BL combination should be expected in far greater numbers than TL/BR.

My suspicion is that if kids are being taught to bat the opposite way, it's part of a switch-hitting effort, rather than switching a kid from his natural side.

Anecdotally, from playing baseball through college and now having a second son involved, I don't know if I could recall hearing of a single instance of a kid being taught by a dad to hit the opposite way. I did play with one guy whose dad taught him to switch hit (and that SOB could rake. He also, I believe, ended the nation's longest high school hitting streak when he ordered his pitcher to IBB the kid with the streak during his last time up).
   43. GuyM Posted: February 05, 2013 at 12:21 PM (#4363053)
Yes, it's possible that a significant minority of kids just naturally want to hit the opposite way. But my guess is that there is a considerable amount of adult guidance involved. The only way to know for sure would be to look at Little League ball, before any real performance selection is involved, to see if TR kids are more likely to hit left/both than TL kids are to hit right/both. My guess is the answer would be yes.
   44. SoSH U at work Posted: February 05, 2013 at 12:29 PM (#4363063)
Yes, it's possible that a significant minority of kids just naturally want to hit the opposite way. But my guess is that there is a considerable amount of adult guidance involved. The only way to know for sure would be to look at Little League ball, before any real performance selection is involved, to see if TR kids are more likely to hit left/both than TL kids are to hit right/both. My guess is the answer would be yes.


I'll make a point look at it this spring out at our diamonds (and, if possible, find out why if I see any kids who fit the bill), but as I said, I don't recall a single instance of a dad teaching his natural righty to bat the other way, and I've been involved with the game in one way or another for 40 years (not that I would necessarily know that was the origin of each and every BL/TR kid, though it seems I would have heard at least one anecdote along the way). I can speak with certainty that I had no bearing on my otherwise thoroughly righthanded son's preference to bat lefthanded.

I'm sure it does happen, I just don't believe it accounts for much when it comes to the BL/TR phenomenon. Not compared to baseball selection and natural inclination.

   45. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 05, 2013 at 01:25 PM (#4363124)
How did Musial do against Frantz Fanon?

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