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Thread: Lefties & Righties in Lineups and Rotations

  1. #1
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    Lefties & Righties in Lineups and Rotations

    This is something I've been wondering for awhile now and I was hoping that some people on this board would be able to shed light on it. This namely has to do with two related ideas in conventional wisdom: balance in the rotation and balance in the lineup.

    In terms of conventional wisdom, typically managers try to stagger the lineup so that they can get a decent balance of left handed and right handed hitters (LRLR, etc). Also, there is the notion of breaking up a mainly right-handed rotation by inserting a lefty into one of the slots in order to keep the rotation from being too right-handed, as it were.

    My questions are relatively simple. Is there any statistical evidence to back these ideas up in terms of their effectiveness? Or is this just a matter of a misinformed perception that has come to dominate philosophies in baseball?

    In other words, if you have a lineup that is comprised only of right-handers and a rotation that has RHPs 1-5, can your team be just as successful (if not moreso) as a team that has a balance between lefties and righties?

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  3. #2
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    Re: Lefties & Righties in Lineups and Rotations

    Quote Originally Posted by Outshined_One View Post
    In other words, if you have a lineup that is comprised only of right-handers and a rotation that has RHPs 1-5, can your team be just as successful (if not moreso) as a team that has a balance between lefties and righties?
    My short answer would be "yes". I think lefty/righty splits are more important in the pen than the rotation. And, even though, its nice to break up the lineup, right-handed hitters don't usually have ferocious splits, meaning a righty dominated lineup is harder to neutralize.

    I argued this, sort of, when everyone was saying we needed a lefty on the bench. Why?
    The widow is gathering nettles for her children's dinner; a perfumed seigneur, delicately lounging in the Oeil de Boeuf, hath an alchemy whereby he will extract the third nettle and call it rent. ~ Carlyle

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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Lefties & Righties in Lineups and Rotations

    I would love to see a detailed, stat-laden analysis of this somewhere. When I was little, I read somewhere that the righty/lefty batter/pitcher issue was the most overrated management technique in baseball, and it's stuck with me ever since just because I read it early. surely it wouldn't be so widespread if there weren't stats to back it up...would it? I mean clearly you can look at a lot of batters and see a difference in how they hit right- or left-handed pitching, and vice versa. But I'd still like to see a more detailed overview of the major leagues as a whole on this.
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

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    Re: Lefties & Righties in Lineups and Rotations

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    When I was little, I read somewhere that the righty/lefty batter/pitcher issue was the most overrated management technique in baseball, and it's stuck with me ever since just because I read it early.
    There's a good chance that it was a Bill James piece. He's called BS on LaRussa-style bullpen mambo for quite a while.
    The widow is gathering nettles for her children's dinner; a perfumed seigneur, delicately lounging in the Oeil de Boeuf, hath an alchemy whereby he will extract the third nettle and call it rent. ~ Carlyle

  6. #5
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Lefties & Righties in Lineups and Rotations

    The late inning LH matchup matters enough that organizations eschew LH hitting SS, they don't like to lose the premier glove on the field to a matchup in the late innings. That's why so many SS switch hit and do poorly at it at times.

    All time LH hitting SS by ab's and then RH and then Switch hitters
    Code:
    CAREER
    MODERN (1900-)
    SS
    LEFT HANDED HITTERS
    
    AT BATS                         AB     
    1    Ozzie Guillen              6686   
    2    Arky Vaughan               5878   
    3    Joe Sewell                 4690   
    4    Craig Reynolds             4179   
    5    Tony Kubek                 4167   
    6    Al Bridwell                3740   
    7    Cecil Travis               3159   
    8    Charlie Hollocher          2936   
    9    Johnny Pesky               2536   
    10   Ernie Johnson              2330   
    
    
    CAREER
    MODERN (1900-)
    SS
    RIGHT HANDED HITTERS
    
    AT BATS                         AB     
    1    Luis Aparicio             10230   
    2    Cal Ripken                 9217   
    3    Bert Campaneris            8459   
    4    Rabbit Maranville          8368   
    5    Luke Appling               8360   
    6    Alan Trammell              8288   
    7    Honus Wagner               8277   
    8    Dave Concepcion            8247   
    9    Barry Larkin               7937   
    10   Pee Wee Reese              7728   
    
    CAREER
    MODERN (1900-)
    SS
    SWITCH HITTERS
    
    AT BATS                         AB     
    1    Ozzie Smith                9396   
    2    Larry Bowa                 8418   
    3    Omar Vizquel               8387   
    4    Garry Templeton            7664   
    5    Don Kessinger              7651   
    6    Dave Bancroft              7182   
    7    Donie Bush                 7054   
    8    Alfredo Griffin            6780   
    9    Maury Wills                6345   
    10   Tony Fernandez             6042

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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Lefties & Righties in Lineups and Rotations

    I had no idea of that, woy...that is a crazy difference in numbers. Wow.

    You know, with the left/right-handed thing, eyesight, body type...all even before the more controllable factors of work ethic and to a lesser degree injury prone-ness and just plain talent...sometimes it amazes me that anybody becomes a major league baseball player at all. And it's hardly the most physically pigeon-holed sport.
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

  8. #7
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Lefties & Righties in Lineups and Rotations

    One thing breaking up the righties and lefties in the lineup does is it may force a manager to use another pitcher sooner than he wants. For example, if a team had 3-4 lefties in a row and the Reds brought in Shackelford to face them, he could face all of them and the Reds wouldn't have to bring in a righty and another lefty if the next hitters batted the same. Not all managers will do that but guys like LaRussa will usually bring in a righty to face a righty and vice versa.
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    Re: Lefties & Righties in Lineups and Rotations

    I don't think it has alot to do with your starters... mainly just your relievers.

    If you have a LH reliever that holds LHB to say .100 batting avg facing a LHB who hits .200 vs LHP, its not too hard to figure out what is going to happen.


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