Tyler Pastornicky may be part of the minority that is actual decent against lefties, but we will need to wait awhile before we can know for sure. (Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE)

Hitting Lefties: Taking a look at splits


 

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.

Michael Bourn .235 .286 .312
Martin Prado .274 .343 .433
Brian McCann .265 .330 .434
Dan Uggla .242 .338 .433
Chipper Jones .294 .383 .487
Freddie Freeman .253 .306 .404
Jason Heyward .226 .322 .364
Tyler Pastornicky - - -
Juan Francisco .207 .233 .207
Eric Hinske .220 .294 .378
David Ross .245 .328 .443
Matt Diaz .328 .368 .505
Jack Wilson .277 .333 .398

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.

 

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Tags: Atlanta Braves Lefties Splits

  • FredOwens

    I just posted a comment (pending moderation it said so maybe not) over on Rant Sports about using Ross as a pinch hitter. I’d use him more often if I could but your options should Mac get run over and injured or take one off a finger would be Diaz.
    I watched Jack Wilson in spring training against major league pitchers and he hit the ball hard. That doesn’t mean he’s a homer guy but Jack was once a good stick. I believe Seattle kills hitters traded there and preliminarily research indicates I’m not completely out of my mind. I suspect Jack could with more at bats be a viable option.
    Fredi’s real problem (well besides being unable to manage choir practice at the Mormon tabernacle)  is the way the roster is built. BC blames Liberty Media and they have their share of the blame to carry. However, the players assembled here today except for Chipper and McCann were Wren acquisitions or signings. His share of the blame is much bigger than Liberty’s. He made bad choices when better ones were there to be had but has had his butt covered by pitching until last Sept.
    Teams can be assembled with our payroll and contend for a title. Look in Tampa for example and Minnesota before the recently fired GM went crazy with his wallet. It isn’t easy and you can get derailed quickly if you make unwise signings – Derek Lowe, KK, McLouth – instead of using your system. If your minor league system is weak because you chose badly in draft or minor league free agents you’re screwed too. Our minor league system isn’t well stocked. Wren made bad moves and covered them with more bad deals, so did JS between 2004 and 2007. So not having a RH bat isn’t Fredi’s fault. Not using what he has more effectively is.

  • FredOwens

    Oh and BTW, Heyward will hit lefties, he just has to stop pressing as he clearly was last night. With him in the 3 hole Mac in 5 Chipper or freeman in 6. The lineup’s a whole lot tighter.

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

     @FredOwens I’m really interested to see how Freeman/Heyward hit against lefties this year. I feel like both of them could do well but I’m worried Jason won’t get as many opportunities as he should because our wonderful manager will decide to use Diaz.

  • FredOwens

     @CarlosCollazo Replacing Jason with Matty is like replacing a Lexus with a pickup truck. The truck may take you on a 1000 mile trip but I don’t want to be riding in it when it does. All this platoon crap is wasted when you have a talented player like him. If he’s always told he can’t make that adjustment and he won’t ever learn to.
    Billy Williams played every day for the Cubs when they were bad – his career line was .291 .352 .462 with 266 walks and 360 Ks. His first year he his line was
    .260 .309 .400 then it went .264 .321 .370 , .295 .380 .416, .304 .350 .509
    .351 .403 .602. .314 .363 .568, .276 .362 .500, .314 .337 .506, .321 .380 .451
    .308 .331 .467, 308 .391 .491, .306 .379 .513
     
    That’s 12 years facing lefties like Spahn, Koufax, Carlton, Padres, Mizell, Simmons and Osteen. No one ever said “he’s a lefty Billy I’ll play someone else.” They might have lost their teeth.
    You sit a platoon talent level guy – Hinske for example. But Heyward has the tools. He’ll never learn to use them sitting down when the going gets a little tough. He should play every day. He’ll either learn or he won’t. I bet he learns.
    Fredi of course is not the sharpest butter knife in the drawer so who knows.

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

     @FredOwens Exactly. Just listening to him after games is enough to realize it. Did you hear his response to someone’s questions about Francisco’s defense? Classic.

  • FredOwens

     @CarlosCollazo I was lucky enough not to hear him but I read some silly stuff on the AJC.