Thursday, July 5, 2007

Righty-Tighty, Lefty-Loosey!

Most major league managers live and die by the Righty-Lefty Theory. Those on the offense make changes so that their batters are turned around opposite and those on the defense counter with bringing in a reliever matching the batter. Former Cleveland Indians manager Jeff Torborg believed so strongly, he wrote his college graduate thesis on the theory.
However, the current version of the Cleveland Indians has some team members that are out to dispel the success of the theory. Best of all, they have converted and convinced their manager Eric Wedge to play them, or leave them in against the same predilection of arm vs. bat. Let’s look further:

Player________Bats_____Batting Avg._____Vs. Lefties_____Vs. Righties

Victor Martinez_Switch____.326___________ .330_________ .323
Kelly Shoppach _Right_____.363___________.350_________.367
Josh Barfield___Right_____.257___________.215__________.271
Casey Blake____Right_____.271___________.267__________.273
Ryan Garko____Right_____.294___________.293__________.294
Jhonny Peralta__Right_____.276___________.288__________.272
Ben Francisco___Right_____.450__________.000__________.450
Travis Hafner___Left______.257__________.264__________.253

Victor Martinez switch hits and does it very successfully, but it is necessary to see how close in average he is to either righty or lefty pitching.

Kelly Shoppach bats right and hits 4 percentage points higher against righties than his .363 average. He has proven to be a strong hitter whether starting or pinch hitting.

Josh Barfield bats right and hits 14 percentage points higher against righties than his .257 average. He will play every day as the second baseman receiving a day off from Mike Rouse very infrequently.

Casey Blake bats right and hits 2 percentage points higher against righties than his .271 average. This guy does it all and exhibits huge confidence against right-handed pitching.

Ryan Garko brings it either way!

Jhonny Peralta is the every day short stop and it is worth mentioning his consistency, especially with the good season he is having. He only gives up 4 percentage points to his average facing righties.

Ben Francisco has not touched down to earth yet since being called up from the minors on June 20th. He bats right and all of his heroics have come against right-handed pitching!

Travis Hafner bats left and only gives up 4 percentage points batting against lefties. He just needs to get on track as he is hitting blistering outs and pressing too hard.

Most of the players mentioned above have become the nucleus of the current Cleveland Indians. Grady Sizemore’s at bats vs. lefties are improving as he has begun to bunt successfully against them. He is batting 21 percentage points lower than his average vs. lefties currently.
These guys are making Eric Wedge’s job as manager more difficult as they continue to hit outside of “The Theory.” But that’s OK, Wedge isn’t about to complain about such “difficulty!” It is interesting and fun to see these guys come to the plate night after night and dispel the right-lefty theory.

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