If you haven’t notices the latest poll it has to do with the two biggest problems facing the Braves this season. So far Fredi Gonzalez has a commanding lead over our left handed split deficiencies. Personally, I think Fredi is hurting the team more than we could have ever imagined but I’ll save that for another day.
Our lineup contains three right handed hitters and a switch hitter when Chipper is involved. Everyone else (not including the pitcher) is left handed. Our right handed options on the bench are David Ross (vastly underused as a pinch hitter), Jack Wilson (solely on the team for his glove), and Matt Diaz (…).
I’ll be going over each of our hitters splits against lefties, so we can get a better idea of how truly bad we are against the south paws.
Matt Diaz is not the hitter he used to be. He hasn’t come close to his career numbers in 3 years and I don’t see him having a resurgence with Atlanta this year. David Ross should be used more to pinch hit and definitely more than Matt Diaz. He can still hit for some power and he hits lefties better than righties.
The three players highlighted are all players that need more AB’s against lefties before we can assume they are bad against them. I’m not trying to say that there is hope for any of them to become lefty killers I am saying we don’t have enough data to state that they cannot hit lefties. Tyler Pastornicky obviously falls into this category as well.
Brian McCann is slightly worse against lefties than righties but not drastically so. The same goes for Dan Uggla. Michael Bourn is dreadful against lefties and I have to wonder whether he should lead off against them or not.
Martin Prado and Chipper Jones are the only two regulars in our lineup who have had success hitting against lefties. This pretty much sucks since Chipper isn’t going to be in the lineup all the time. Unless another piece is added or Chipper finds the fountain of youth a lot of the pressure will be on him to continue his production against left handed hitters.
Currently the Braves are 25th in AVG against lefties with a whopping .157. They are 26th in OBP with .234 and 28th in SLG with .200. Those numbers are atrocious and while they should go up simply because we have only had 4 games, it doesn’t mean it is not a concern.
Not surprisingly, the Braves lead all of baseball in plate appearances against left handed pitchers. This is not just some coincidence. Every opposing team knows that the Braves can’t hit lefties and they are going to do as much as possible to exploit that weakness. We actually have less AB’s against righties (63) than lefties so far. That’s not going to continue for long simply because there aren’t enough left handed pitchers in baseball but whenever they can teams will arrange their rotations to make us face as many as possible.
The Mets threw 2 lefties and 1 righty. The Astros have thrown 1 already and will be throwing their left-handed ace against us Wednesday. Try and get use to this guys, it’s going to get really annoying really quick.