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### Tuesday, January 11, 2022

#### Finding Switch-Hitters Who Should Stop Switch-Hitting

According to the authors of The Book, it takes around 600 plate appearances against left-handed pitching for the platoon split of a switch-hitter to stabilize. Even with a 1,000-plate appearance minimum, many of the players above haven’t reached that threshold yet.

This isn’t the first time this question has been asked. Back in 2014, Ben Lindbergh investigated this same question for Baseball Prospectus. In that article, he used a heavy regression model to calculate the estimated performance of a switch-hitter who decided to go one way. Using his method, four players appear to be good candidates to stop switch-hitting: Ozzie Albies, Ian Happ, Tommy Edman, and Ketel Marte.

Using a regression model to estimate performance is a blunt way of approaching the problem, though at the time, Lindbergh didn’t have access to the kind of granular batted ball data we do today (Statcast was one year away from implementation). For Mullins, I examined the handedness splits of some of his underlying metrics, and it quickly became clear that his batted-ball and plate discipline peripherals as a right-handed hitter were extremely poor. That alone should have convinced him to drop swinging from the right side, even if his peripherals as a left-handed batter weren’t much to sneeze at.

To dig further into the list of switch hitters above, I pulled handedness splits for those same key underlying metrics to see if any of them are potential candidates to make such a drastic change. Once I had the peripheral splits, I calculated z-scores based on the league standard deviation for each metric. The sum of those z-scores should tell us which batters under or over perform from one side of the plate in particular.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 11, 2022 at 02:24 PM | 7 comment(s)
Beats: cedric mullins, ozzie albies, switch-hitting, yoan moncada

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