Looking at hitter platoon splits 2002-2012

Ezra Shaw

Platoon splits can be fascinating to look at. Managers can use them when they are determining how they want to attack a certain match-up during a game, or if we as analysts want to see how a player performs in certain situations.

Matt Klaasen took a look at platoon splits for lefties, righties, and switch hitters over at FanGraphs:

Some brief explanations: I use platoon data since 2002 from our database. Each row is for a separate season. As for columns, "wOBAvL" and "wOBAvR" should be self-explanatory; "wOBA" is he overall wOBA for that year in the cases looked at (more on this in a bit), "%vLHP" is percentage of plate appearances versus left-handed pitchers examined (since plate appearances versus southpaws are what one regresses against when estimating hitter platoon skill), and "Split%" is the percentage of the split compared to the overall wOBA, since that is what is measured when projecting platoon skill.

Based on the data from the last ten seasons, left-handed batters tend to have larger splits than their fellow counterparts do. The difference in wOBA for left handed batters when facing left handed pitchers and right handed pitchers is .353, while the difference for right handed batters is only .249. As a group right handers tend to perform better, so this is something that is expected.

Switch hitters are tricky because the talent level among switch hitters are, and they haven't shown a ton of consistency.

Question for the community:

1) Although there have been successful switch hitters throughout baseball, do you think the switch hitters that aren't successful should just hit on their "strong" side?

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