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View Full Version : Really, Is A Righthanded Hitter A Necessity?



Krusty
12-11-2008, 04:40 AM
After reading this article, maybe the Reds are better off pursuing the likes of Bobby Abreu.

12.10.2008 10:33 am
The Trouble with Trading Outfielders

By Derrick Goold
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

LAS VEGAS — Back in 2003, Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry went into the offseason looking for a lefthanded bat to balance out his lineup. He came to that year’s general manager meetings with that in mind, he planned to hit the Baseball Winter Meetings with that bat atop his shopping, and inbetween the two he made a deal … for righthanded-hitting Derrek Lee.

Go figure.

“We were too righthanded,” Hendry said here at the Baseball Winter Meetings. “Same problem we still seem to have.”

Hendry told the Lee story to provide context for how these meetings often spin and whirl in unexpected directions. He came to find a lefthanded bat. He may leave with another pitcher (i.e., Jake Peavy). But in doing so he also helped describe what is one of the overcrowded markets in this winter’s free-agent field: outfielders. Specifically, lefthanded hitting free-agent outfielders. The Cubs are said to be pursuing Milton Bradley, but a whole handful or other outfielders have also been on their radar. The list of options is long:

Garret Anderson, who would prefer to go back to the Angels
Bobby Abreu, whose agent has put together a packet of stats that includes a statement placing Abreu in the company of Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez. They are the only three players with at least 100 RBI in each of the past six seasons.
Raul Ibanez
Adam Dunn on the high end.
Ken Griffey Jr.
Milton Bradley
etc. (Jim Edmonds, Cliff Floyd, Luis Gonzalez … )
Add into that market players like Jeremy Hermida, who the Florida Marlins are willing to move, and even a DH-like hitter in Jason Giambi, who could satisfy some of the teams looking for a DH/OF best-buy hybrid in this market. There are more available outfielders than teams looking for outfielders. The Cubs are one. Cincinnati has been mentioned as another team, though a righthanded bat may be a better fit for the Reds. Tampa Bay has been talked about here as a team looking to sign an outfielder after the dust has settled.

There is a glut of outfielders available to teams who are looking.

Therein lies the trick for the St. Louis Cardinals as they plan to deal from a strength — their depth in the outfield — and possibly clear a spot for Colby Rasmus in the big-league outfield. (Asked the other night if there was a scenario he saw where Rasmus broke camp with the major-league club this coming April, GM John Mozeliak nodded in the affirmative.) Rick Ankiel may attract a team like Atlanta — where true believer Bruce Manno is the assistant general manager — but for what return? Ankiel is eligible to be a free agent after this coming season and is his arbitration reward going the be all that different than what the market may do to some of the salaries for the free-agent outfielders?

This market has been billed as one that would encourage teams to deal because of the set salaries and the attractive quality of control through arbitration. But the outfield market is so overrun with options that the better price may be not giving up a prospect or two at all. But will that land the better outfielder?

Valid points to be sure…but if Chris Duncan proves he can play at all, like it or not, the 2009 Cards will have 4 outfielders with at least a season of major league experience before Rasmus even laces up his cleats. If they’re not going to trade this kid, they have to play him…but where?

nate
12-11-2008, 11:19 AM
To answer the subject, no.

Better hitters are necessary, regardless of their handedness.

Raisor
12-11-2008, 11:35 AM
To answer the subject, no.

Better hitters are necessary, regardless of their handedness.


Something a lot of us have been saying since forever.

Nice to have you on board, Krust.

:thumbup:

flyer85
12-11-2008, 11:40 AM
To answer the subject, no.

Better hitters are necessary, regardless of their handedness.without a doubt, the reds outside of Votto are loaded with bottom of the order hitters. They need to find guys with some plate discipline and pop regardless of which side of the plate they stand on.

Kc61
12-11-2008, 11:41 AM
For the middle of the order?

Absolutely yes. A righty bat is needed.

Votto, Lefty hitter, and Bruce is not the way to go in the middle of the order.

Neither Phillips nor EE is the right guy to hit between these two. They are both essentially sixth place hitters.

I have always believed that a major league lineup should be primarily right handed. Righty hitters face so many righty pitchers that the good ones hit them decently -- and destroy lefty pitching.

Lefty hitters usually have more trouble facing same handed pitchers.

The only way the Reds should consider another lefty bat now is if they plan to sit Dickerson and use a righty centerfielder. Then they can afford another lefty bat.

But with Dickerson, Bruce and Votto -- and with Alonso on the way -- the need is from the right side.

corkedbat
12-11-2008, 11:43 AM
If the Cards really want to clear room for Rasmus,send them Bailey and a prospect or two for Ludwick. There's our slugging RH OF and Bailey would probably win a Cy Young inside of three years under Duncan. :beerme:

M2
12-11-2008, 11:46 AM
To answer the subject, no.

Better hitters are necessary, regardless of their handedness.

Perfectly stated.

TRF
12-11-2008, 12:02 PM
For the middle of the order?

Absolutely yes. A righty bat is needed.

Votto, Lefty hitter, and Bruce is not the way to go in the middle of the order.

Neither Phillips nor EE is the right guy to hit between these two. They are both essentially sixth place hitters.

I have always believed that a major league lineup should be primarily right handed. Righty hitters face so many righty pitchers that the good ones hit them decently -- and destroy lefty pitching.

Lefty hitters usually have more trouble facing same handed pitchers.

The only way the Reds should consider another lefty bat now is if they plan to sit Dickerson and use a righty centerfielder. Then they can afford another lefty bat.

But with Dickerson, Bruce and Votto -- and with Alonso on the way -- the need is from the right side.

IMO you couldn't be more wrong. better hitters should ALWAYS be the focus. which side of the plate they stand on should be way down the list.

Now if you are talking about balance, the balance I prefer is in type of hitter not handedness. While my preference is known ( he who cannot be named, per the Boss-Hog :) ) I'd love to see the Reds find another Sean Casey circa 1999-2000, 2004. .315-.330 BA excellent OBP, near .400 and solid power. That's balance. In those years, he was as productive as just about any player in the league not named Pujols. Health is the only thing that kept him from that level too.

Yep, I want a healthy Sean Casey type of hitter. Kevin Youklis is close. He happens to be right handed, but I wouldn't care either way. For all the talk about getting Matt Kemp, Ethier is a better target because he's a better hitter.

Hoosier Red
12-11-2008, 12:06 PM
Yes better hitters are necessary, no doubt, but the handedness does matter.

Not to insult anyone's intelligence, but either you hit right handed or you hit left handed.

Our #3 hitter and #5 hitter almost assuredly will be left handed. While their splits righty versus lefty aren't huge, they are there and it does correlate negatively. And of course that is versus a generic lefty. What a left handed 3-4-5 order does is set the table for the opposing team to bring in their Loogy in the 7th or eighth inning.

Now, you shouldn't base your entire lineup on the 7th or 8th inning, so the right handed hitter has to be able to hit right handers as well(this leaves' Phillips out.) They also have to carry whatever burden comes with batting cleanup,(I think this knocks Encarnacion out of the running.)

But the late inning loogy does make a right handed bat that much more valuable, assuming he can also produce enough in innings 1-6.

So I nominate Pat Burrell, 2 years, 25 million and let it fly.

bucksfan2
12-11-2008, 12:08 PM
For the middle of the order?

Absolutely yes. A righty bat is needed.

Votto, Lefty hitter, and Bruce is not the way to go in the middle of the order.

Neither Phillips nor EE is the right guy to hit between these two. They are both essentially sixth place hitters.

I have always believed that a major league lineup should be primarily right handed. Righty hitters face so many righty pitchers that the good ones hit them decently -- and destroy lefty pitching.

Lefty hitters usually have more trouble facing same handed pitchers.

The only way the Reds should consider another lefty bat now is if they plan to sit Dickerson and use a righty centerfielder. Then they can afford another lefty bat.

But with Dickerson, Bruce and Votto -- and with Alonso on the way -- the need is from the right side.

I am in agreement with you. It may just be preception but it seems like Righties hit righties better than lefties hit lefties.

I don't think it matters all that much through the first few innings. Unless you are facing a Randy Johnson I think the better hitter should always be inserted into the lineup. Where it matters is when you get later into the games. A middle of the order combo of Votto then Bruce would be easier to pitch to than a Votto, RH bat, then Bruce. While I think Votto is a good all around hitter, a lefty specialist should be able to neutralize him. If Bruce is next then the manager won't be forced to make a decision.

corkedbat
12-11-2008, 12:09 PM
Yes better hitters are necessary, no doubt, but the handedness does matter.

Not to insult anyone's intelligence, but either you hit right handed or you hit left handed.

Our #3 hitter and #5 hitter almost assuredly will be left handed. While their splits righty versus lefty aren't huge, they are there and it does correlate negatively. And of course that is versus a generic lefty. What a left handed 3-4-5 order does is set the table for the opposing team to bring in their Loogy in the 7th or eighth inning.

Now, you shouldn't base your entire lineup on the 7th or 8th inning, so the right handed hitter has to be able to hit right handers as well(this leaves' Phillips out.) They also have to carry whatever burden comes with batting cleanup,(I think this knocks Encarnacion out of the running.)

But the late inning loogy does make a right handed bat that much more valuable, assuming he can also produce enough in innings 1-6.

So I nominate Pat Burrell, 2 years, 25 million and let it fly.

Just sign Milton Bradley and you're covered from both sides. :D

M2
12-11-2008, 12:10 PM
If the problem is that your RH hitters don't hit RHPs well enough, the solution is not necessarily more RH hitters. It is better hitting vs. RHPs.

BRM
12-11-2008, 12:12 PM
Just for sake of argument, here's Votto's splits:

vs RHP: .880 OPS
vs LHP: .862 OPS

I can somewhat understand the hand-wringing over getting a RH bat to hit cleanup due to the fear of a LOOGY. However, the Reds as a team actually struggled more against righties last year than lefties. And Votto in his one full season handled left-handers pretty well as his numbers show. Just get a good middle of the order hitter and don't focus so much on the handedness. If a really good LH hitter can be had, don't walk away from him just because he hits left handed.

TRF
12-11-2008, 12:15 PM
I get the feeling that managers, specifically Baker tend to look at matchups in the micro so much they ignore the macro. Plan for what might happen later in the game or the season too soon and in too much detail you ignore what's happening right now. 7 Innings vs a RH starter and you have the lineup so staggered to prevent the L/L matchup in the 8th inning that might not have happened had you planned the game against the starter and not the pen.

70%. 70% of all AB's are vs RH pitching. Why GM's and managers continue to ignore this simple fact in search of a stat that proves a point that might be meaningless, is beyond me.

RANDY IN INDY
12-11-2008, 12:18 PM
I am in agreement with you. It may just be preception but it seems like Righties hit righties better than lefties hit lefties.

I don't think it matters all that much through the first few innings. Unless you are facing a Randy Johnson I think the better hitter should always be inserted into the lineup. Where it matters is when you get later into the games. A middle of the order combo of Votto then Bruce would be easier to pitch to than a Votto, RH bat, then Bruce. While I think Votto is a good all around hitter, a lefty specialist should be able to neutralize him. If Bruce is next then the manager won't be forced to make a decision.


I tend to agree with you, bucksfan2. I think that, particularly late in games, too many middle of the order hitters batting from one side of the plate is not a good thing. Makes them very susceptible to LH or RH relief specialists and makes it very easy for the opposing manager. Personaly, I would like to see the Reds score a good middle of the order RH bat.

M2
12-11-2008, 12:24 PM
2008 Reds

Innings 1-6 - .245/.316/.408
Inning 7+ - .252/.329/.408

Neither is good enough, but, once again, it seems to me that the club is trying to fix a problem it doesn't have. The main offensive problem for the Reds is the starting lineup against RHPs isn't up to snuff.

BRM
12-11-2008, 12:33 PM
The main offensive problem for the Reds is the starting lineup against RHPs isn't up to snuff.

Yep. And none of the RH options I've seen presented will go very far in fixing that problem either. Bob Abreu would help it quite a bit though.

Kc61
12-11-2008, 12:36 PM
If the problem is that your RH hitters don't hit RHPs well enough, the solution is not necessarily more RH hitters. It is better hitting vs. RHPs.


Yes.

If a true cleanup hitter replaced EE or Phillips, there would be less need for the new guy to be righty. To take an extreme (and unrealistic) example -- if A Rod replaced EE at third base, I wouldn't be wedded to adding a righty bat.

Remember all the complaints about Phillips hitting cleanup? I dare say there would be similar complaints if it were EE, especially during his cold periods. Neither guy is a cleanup hitter, both are basically sixth hitters.

So, yes, if the Reds replaced EE or Phillips with a better all around hitter the need for a righty would be diminished. But these guys are apparently staying -- which is ok with me -- and they don't present the major righty bat the team needs.

I think the Reds view the departures of Dunn and Griffey as an opportunity to rebalance the offense. So I expect a righty bat, not a lefty bat, to be added. Eventually, with Alonso, the issue will present itself again, who knows what the overall situation will be then.

Another way to go is to assume EE's performance will skyrocket. I'm sure there are some around here who think it will.

M2
12-11-2008, 12:44 PM
Even if you keep EdE and Phillips, the fundamental problem of not hitting RHPs well enough is not necessarily solved with a RH bat. The problem is not enough offense, not a lack of right-handedness.

Hoosier Red
12-11-2008, 12:48 PM
70%. 70% of all AB's are vs RH pitching. Why GM's and managers continue to ignore this simple fact in search of a stat that proves a point that might be meaningless, is beyond me.

I'm not sure how looking for a big time right handed bat who doesn't have a severe split goes against this thinking.

BRM
12-11-2008, 12:50 PM
I'm not sure how looking for a big time right handed bat who doesn't have a severe split goes against this thinking.

Why not get a LH bat who mashes righties and isn't dismal against lefties? That makes more sense to me.

M2
12-11-2008, 12:53 PM
I'm not sure how looking for a big time right handed bat who doesn't have a severe split goes against this thinking.

It doesn't, but it does beg the question, why does it have to be a RHB?

What side of the plate the guy hits from ought to rank well below how well he hits, how well he plays defense, how well he runs, what he costs and what you have to trade for him. Unfortunately it sounds like the Reds have made what side he hits from the paramount concern.

BRM
12-11-2008, 12:55 PM
It doesn't, but it does beg the question, why does it have to be a RHB?

What side of the plate the guy hits from ought to rank well below how well he hits, how well he plays defense, how well he runs, what he costs and what you have to trade for him. Unfortunately it sounds like the Reds have made what side he hits from the paramount concern.

The more I think about this, the more I'd like to see Walt sign Abreu.

Kc61
12-11-2008, 12:56 PM
Why not get a LH bat who mashes righties and isn't dismal against lefties? That makes more sense to me.


Because loading up with lefty bats who "aren't dismal" against lefty pitchers makes you vulnerable against lefty pitching.

A lefty who OPSs .750 against lefty pitching may not be dismal, but doesn't give you the attack against lefties you need.

BRM
12-11-2008, 12:58 PM
Because loading up with lefty bats who "aren't dismal" against lefty pitchers makes you vulnerable against lefty pitching.

A lefty who OPSs .750 against lefty pitching may not be dismal, but doesn't give you the attack against lefties you need.

So we are still focusing on 30% of the team's plate appearances? The Reds have a pretty big issue against RH pitching as well. Why aren't we concerned with fixing that?

TRF
12-11-2008, 01:01 PM
Because loading up with lefty bats who "aren't dismal" against lefty pitchers makes you vulnerable against lefty pitching.

A lefty who OPSs .750 against lefty pitching may not be dismal, but doesn't give you the attack against lefties you need.

Votto isn't Dismal.

Bruce likely won't be dismal.

Dickerson is bad, but he's likely platooning anyway.

But if said lefties DESTROY RH pitcing, pitching they face 70% of the time, I like the Reds chances.

Better hitters period. That's what the offense needs.

M2
12-11-2008, 01:04 PM
Because loading up with lefty bats who "aren't dismal" against lefty pitchers makes you vulnerable against lefty pitching.

A lefty who OPSs .750 against lefty pitching may not be dismal, but doesn't give you the attack against lefties you need.

The Reds had a .716 OPS vs. RHPs last year. Use you big acquisitions to fix your big problems.

If you want to add a little more juice against LHPs, there are plenty of low cost options available.

*BaseClogger*
12-11-2008, 01:08 PM
Yep, I want a healthy Sean Casey type of hitter. Kevin Youklis is close. He happens to be right handed, but I wouldn't care either way. For all the talk about getting Matt Kemp, Ethier is a better target because he's a better hitter.

Bob Abreu is that kind of hitter. Good BA, great OBP, and gap power that would play well at GABP.


It may just be preception but it seems like Righties hit righties better than lefties hit lefties.

It's not perception, it's reality:


2008 National League

BA OBP SLG OPS
vRHP as RH .251 .315 .397 .713
vLHP as RH .271 .346 .432 .778
vRHP as LH .270 .345 .428 .773
vLHP as LH .236 .306 .373 .679

The platoon split for RH hitters was (.773 - .713) .060 points of OPS. The platoon split for LH hitters was (.778 - .679) .099 points of OPS. You've also gotta figure there is some bias with this data, because I would think managers are more likely to replace LH batters than RH batters when facing a pitcher of the same handedness, meaning the gap is even larger because only the very best LH hitters are staying in the game to face lefty pitchers...

bucksfan2
12-11-2008, 01:43 PM
The Reds had a .716 OPS vs. RHPs last year. Use you big acquisitions to fix your big problems.

If you want to add a little more juice against LHPs, there are plenty of low cost options available.

If you take the Reds core group of players what would have been their OPS against righties last season? I wonder what the OPS would be for Votto, Bruce, Phillips, Encarnacion, and Dickerson. The guys who you count on to have the most atbats for the season.

That OPS number can be a little decieving due to the number of atbats given to Patterson and Bako. Keppinger was bad last season and Jr and his 3 hole hitting did the team more harm than good.

I expect Votto, Bruce, and Dickerson to mash against RHP. I know Phillips struggle and I am not so sure what can be expect by Edwin. The one problem I can foresee with adding an Abreu in between Votto and Bruce is what a LOGGY can do in a late inning situation.

M2
12-11-2008, 02:13 PM
If you take the Reds core group of players what would have been their OPS against righties last season? I wonder what the OPS would be for Votto, Bruce, Phillips, Encarnacion, and Dickerson. The guys who you count on to have the most atbats for the season.

That OPS number can be a little decieving due to the number of atbats given to Patterson and Bako. Keppinger was bad last season and Jr and his 3 hole hitting did the team more harm than good.

I expect Votto, Bruce, and Dickerson to mash against RHP. I know Phillips struggle and I am not so sure what can be expect by Edwin. The one problem I can foresee with adding an Abreu in between Votto and Bruce is what a LOGGY can do in a late inning situation.

And the starting pitching was going to be fine once the club shuffled Joey Hamilton out the door too.

Swapping out Bako, Keppinger and Patterson for competent replacements will help, but don't kid yourself, the Reds are not constructed to do much damage to RHPs. I'd much rather see the Reds land a LHB who addresses the main problem and then shuffle around for a suitable platoon than land a RHB who isn't up to fixing the main problem.

Ideally what the Reds should want is an offense that works even if every single player isn't performing at or near career bests.

flyer85
12-12-2008, 09:59 AM
The Phillies didn't think so ... they have replaced their RH bat with a lesser lefthanded bat in Ibanez. The Phillies just downgraded and got older.

Ibanez career OPS is .818 and Burrell's is .852. Ibanez will be 37.

BRM
12-12-2008, 10:00 AM
The Phillies didn't think so ... they have replaced their RH bat with a lesser lefthanded bat in Ibanez. The Phillies just downgraded and got older.

Ibanez career OPS is .818 and Burrell's is .852. Ibanez will be 37.

They didn't get any better defensively either.