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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bats/Throws: summary

February 2013 posts, which include many graphs, deal almost exclusively with batter handedness in baseball, which is not symmetrical like football or basketball.  This post will summarize some of the findings.  It started with:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Imaginary strike zone can be made real: a unifying theory.

lefty batters getting an extremely unfair advantage by having their batters box significantly closer not only to first base but to all the bases, thus making it easier for lefties to not only get singles but also doubles and triples;
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Definitions:
Both: switch hitters
RR: bats right, throws right
RL: bats right, throws left
LR: bats left, throws right
LL: bats left, throws left
BR: bats both, throws right
BL: bats both, throws left

Saturday, February 9, 2013 Batters: better to be lefty.

Contains graphs for AL and NL seasons 1903-2007, which clearly shows that lefty batters have higher batting average (BA) and slugging average (SLG) than righties.
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Monday, February 11, 2013 Batters: Lefty v. Righty "Plate Appearances"

This is the first of s series of posts to examine just how much of an advantage it is to bat lefty since that batters box is closer to all the bases ...

gobs of data for seasons 1903 through 2012

Percent of batter plate appearances (PA):
        Righty    Lefty
Min 58.49% 32.50%
Max 67.50% 41.51%
Ave 63.55% 36.45%

recent seasons:
        Righty    Lefty
2000 63.74% 36.26%
2001 63.69% 36.31%
2002 62.35% 37.65%
2003 63.42% 36.58%
2004 62.75% 37.25%
2005 62.99% 37.01%
2006 65.65% 34.35%
2007 64.43% 35.57%
2008 61.86% 38.14%
2009 61.17% 38.83%
2010 62.96% 37.04%
2011 61.67% 38.33%
2012 60.42% 39.58%

Including switch hitters:

        Righty    Lefty    Both
Min 51.34% 27.07% 2.57%
Max 63.71% 39.47% 19.99%
Ave 57.75% 33.16% 9.09%

The high for switch hitters was 1992.

For recent seasons:
        Righty    Lefty    Both
2000 54.91% 31.23% 13.86%
2001 54.39% 31.00% 14.61%
2002 53.26% 32.17% 14.57%
2003 53.32% 30.75% 15.94%
2004 52.41% 31.11% 16.48%
2005 53.09% 31.19% 15.72%
2006 55.62% 29.10% 15.28%
2007 54.37% 30.02% 15.61%
2008 53.30% 32.86% 13.84%
2009 51.34% 32.59% 16.06%
2010 54.04% 31.79% 14.16%
2011 52.88% 32.86% 14.26%
2012 52.18% 34.18% 13.64%
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The next post showed a count of batters.

Here is the range of percentages for the seasons examined, excluding switch hitters, since their data is not broken down.

        Righty    Lefty
Min 65.76% 27.00%
Max 73.00% 34.24%
Ave 69.21% 30.79%

Max for righty batters was 1943, for lefties 1925.
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Wednesday, February 13, 2013 Batters Height & Weight 1903-2012

Height in inches:
       Righty Lefty Both
Min 70.20 69.97 70.15
Max 73.89 73.80 72.71
Ave 72.38 72.12 71.68

Weight in pounds:
       Righty Lefty Both
Min 172.17 168.88 168.22
Max 210.49 208.86 199.87
Ave 185.51 183.36 179.74
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Thursday, February 14, 2013 Pitchers: Lefty v. Righty Innings

Year  Right% Left%
Min 64.07% 18.33%
Max 81.67% 35.93%
Ave 72.98% 27.02%

2010 72.14% 27.86%
2011 73.37% 26.63%
2012 70.10% 29.90%

For batter plate appearances (PA), the annual average for righty batters was about 63.5%.  For righty pitchers it's about 73%.  This suggests that righty batters face righty pitchers more than lefty batters face lefty pitchers.  That would probably be helpful to lefty batters.
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Thursday, February 14, 2013 Percent Righty: Batters & Pitchers 1903-2012

Percent righty (batters do not include switch hitters):
Most recent seasons:
Year  Batters Pitchers
2000 63.74% 75.61%
2001 63.69% 76.05%
2002 62.35% 74.85%
2003 63.42% 73.05%
2004 62.75% 72.79%
2005 62.99% 73.37%
2006 65.65% 73.06%
2007 64.43% 72.90%
2008 61.86% 71.86%
2009 61.17% 72.64%
2010 62.96% 72.14%
2011 61.67% 73.37%
2012 60.42% 70.10%

         Batters Pitchers  1903-2012
Min 58.49% 64.07%
Max 67.50% 81.67%
Ave 63.55% 72.98%
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Friday, February 15, 2013 Six degrees of separation for batters or what's unique about Rickey Henderson?

There are six ways to consider batter handedness - here they are with counts and percentages of batters with at least 5,000 PA ...

- 99.6% of righty batters throw righty
- only 42.2% of lefty batters throw lefty; this suggests that some lefty batters may be opportunists trying to take some of the advantage of switch hitting; see below
- 93.9% of switch hitters throw righty, which makes sense as they are generally smaller than batters who only bat from one side of the plate and are trying to take advantage of the fact that over 70% of pitches are thrown by righty pitchers AND the silly rule that let's lefty batters stand closer to the bases.  Smaller players are probably faster and take even more advantage of the closer bases.  This will be explored in future posts.

Let's take a slightly different look at the percentages for the 836 batters with at least 5,000 PA followed by the batter with the most PA in each group:

bats throws
right right 54.90% Hank Aaron
left right   19.14% Carl Yastrzemski
left left     14.00% Stan Musial
both right 11.00% Pete Rose
both left     0.72% Lance Berkman
right left     0.24% Rickey Henderson

Top ten or so by PA.  Here is a description of each

RR: 8 of 10 Hall of Fame plus Jeter and Biggio

LR: 8 of 10 Hall of Fame plus Staub and Darrell Evans

LL: 6 of 11 Hall of Fame plus Griffey

BR: 6 of 11 Hall of Fame plus Rose, Chipper Jones, Raines

BL: six, none in Hall of Fame; Berkman by far the best
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Monday, February 18, 2013 Batters throwing

Previous post dealt only with the 836 batters who had at least 5,000 plate appearances (PA) in a career ...

This post has data for all batters.  PA here is simply at bats (AB) + Bases on Balls (BB).  Here are summary percentages in two groups:

        Right      Left   Both                   RR      RL       LL         LR       BR      BL
Min 51.34% 27.07% 2.57%         50.50% 0.22% 10.76% 11.67% 2.09% 0.05%
Max 63.71% 39.47% 19.99%      63.49% 1.92% 18.43% 26.16% 19.10% 1.84%
Ave 57.75% 33.16% 9.09%         56.94% 0.81% 13.95% 19.21% 8.43% 0.66%
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013 Bats/Throws: Batting Average (BA)

For seasons 1903-2012:
                   RR    RL    LR     LL    BR    BL
Min         0.232 0.092 0.244 0.240 0.209 0.078
Max        0.289 0.287 0.308 0.319 0.290 0.321
Ave         0.257 0.208 0.273 0.271 0.260 0.224
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Sunday, February 24, 2013 Bats/Throws: Batting Average on Balls in Play

Strike out (SO) stats are not available before 1910, so this data set includes seasons 1910-2012 for the American League and the National League.  

BAbip: ([H]-[HR])/([AB]-[HR]-[SO])
                  RR     RL     LR     LL    BR     BL
Min        0.256 0.141 0.270 0.271 0.239 0.127
Max       0.307 0.353 0.320 0.329 0.314 0.340
Ave        0.285 0.255 0.294 0.295 0.287 0.269

Singles BAbip:
BAbip1B: ([1B])/([AB]-[HR]-[3B]-[2B]-[SO])
                  RR     RL     LR     LL    BR     BL
Min        0.215 0.124 0.227 0.221 0.211 0.119
Max       0.254 0.311 0.267 0.270 0.258 0.289
Ave       0.237 0.217 0.244 0.244 0.241 0.227

Doubles BAbip:
BAbip2B: ([2B])/([AB]-[HR]-[3B]-[1B]-[SO])
                  RR     RL     LR     LL    BR     BL
Min        0.048 0.009 0.045 0.048 0.029 0.000
Max       0.092 0.120 0.095 0.095 0.090 0.132
Ave        0.070 0.054 0.071 0.073 0.065 0.059

Triples BAbip:
BAbip3B: ([3B])/([AB]-[HR]-[2B]-[1B]-[SO])
                  RR     RL     LR     LL    BR     BL
Min        0.008 0.000 0.007 0.010 0.005 0.000
Max       0.023 0.029 0.030 0.033 0.024 0.052
Ave        0.013 0.010 0.016 0.017 0.015 0.013
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Monday, February 25, 2013 Bats/Throws: BAbip percent differences

Batting average (BA) is for seasons 1903-2012.  BAbip (BA on balls in play) is for seasons 1910-2012.

                 RL     LR     LL     BR        BL
BA    -19.05% 6.08% 5.41% 1.00% -12.99%
BAbip -10.26% 3.15% 3.82% 0.90% -5.40%
BAbip1B -8.31% 3.03% 3.14% 1.86% -3.91%
BAbip2B -22.86% 2.58% 5.13% -5.96% -15.60%
BAbip3B -23.69% 24.62% 34.25% 16.60% -0.40%

Batters who bat right and throw right (RR) are the base and the percent difference is from RR.  These are the averages for the seasons, not pure averages in the aggregate, i.e., each season counts the same regardless of the number of plate appearances (PA).

In plain old fashion BA lefty batters exceed RR: LR by 6%, LL by 5.4%.

Lefties have a whopping advantage on triples.  Why?  Beats me.

And in all four BAbip there's clearly a different advantage over righties between lefties depending on how they throw.  LL beat LR in each.

I recent seasons lefties still do a lot better in triples, especially LL, and LL continue to have the edge in all four BAbip over LR.  However, RR now have higher BA and the lefty lead in BAbip has shrunk.
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Monday, February 25, 2013 Maybe Derek Jeter isn't as good as we think or what happens to all those lefty throwers?

Since about 17% of all PA are by southpaws and since they can only play 50% of the 8 every day fielding positions, then about 34% of the PA for 1B and OF are by southpaws and no PA at SS, 2B, 3B, C are by lefty throwers.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013 Bats/Throws: percent of hits that are home runs

For seasons 1903-2012 American and National Leagues:
             RR        RL       LR          LL       BR        BL
Min    1.26%   0.00%  0.90%    1.57%   0.44%   0.00%
Max 13.13% 20.85% 13.62% 14.15% 10.51% 21.13%
Ave   7.54%   5.44%   7.64%    7.94%   5.24%   5.02%

In recent seasons the three main groups (RR, LR, LL) are pretty close.  The next largest group (BR) is clearly behind in HR hitting.
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013 Bats/Throws: Home Run rate

Home Run average (HRa): Home runs (HR) / at bats (AB).  Higher is better.

For seasons 1903-2012 American and National Leagues:
             RR        RL       LR       LL      BR       BL
Min  0.0030 0.0000 0.0023 0.0041 0.0011 0.0000
Max 0.0347 0.0511 0.0368 0.0391 0.0271 0.0554
Ave  0.0194 0.0118 0.0207 0.0214 0.0137 0.0125

Both historically and in recent seasons switch hitters hit the fewest HR per AB.  This is a reflection of the size of the batters.  Switch hitters are smaller than one siders: shorter and lighter.  And the gap has been increasing in recent seasons.  Remember, there are very few RL and BL batters.
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013 Bats/Throws: Strike Out rate

Strike Out (SO) / at bats (AB).  Lower is better.  Shown as a percentage.

For seasons 1903-2012 American and National Leagues:
             RR        RL       LR       LL      BR       BL
Min  5.44% 3.63% 4.58% 5.85% 6.11% 7.59%
Max 21.89% 41.96% 23.00% 22.67% 19.91% 44.62%
Ave  14.34% 22.58% 12.12% 13.60% 12.70% 20.35%

Wow.  Traditionally, the highest SO rate is for RL, although the most prominent such batter does not fit that description: Ricky Henderson.  Next worst is BL, the other group with few batters.  The lowest SO rate is for LR; Ted Williams does fit.

In recent seasons the three main groups (RR, LR, LL) are pretty even.
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Thursday, February 28, 2013 Bats/Throws: Isolated Power

ISO = (TB - 1B) / AB

For seasons 1903-2012 American and National Leagues:
             RR        RL       LR       LL      BR       BL
Min  0.0650 0.0122 0.0592 0.0715 0.0420 0.0000
Max 0.1662 0.2296 0.1740 0.1848 0.1493 0.2522
Ave  0.1187 0.0788 0.1280 0.1318 0.1019 0.0883

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