FanPost

Royals Don't Like Southpaws

The Royals have seemed to struggle more offensively against lefties this year, so I wanted to see it that was really the case.

Including all games before the All-Star break there have been 87,188 plate appearances in the majors. Using those I went to look at the ones that were attributed to left or right hand pitchers, and then by team to see how the teams perform against specific handedness.

Overall in baseball this season batters are hitting .256/.324/.407 versus right handed pitchers and .250/.317/.403 against lefties. It seems that players have hit slightly worse versus left handed pitchers, but the difference is negligible. The sample sizes are significantly different with 70.3% of all PAs being against right handed pitchers. The next step is to look at the teams and see which ones are best/worst against left handed pitching.

When looking at team performance, 18 teams have a worse average against lefties, 21 have a worse OBP, 14 a worse SLG, and 18 have a worse OPS. As you can see the only thing more than half of the teams have done better against lefties is hit for power. There is some consistency as to who falls into these groups with 10 teams doing worse in all four statistical categories against southpaws. So, what teams hit better/worse against lefties?

To make these lists I just took the team OPS against left minus team OPS against right.

5 biggest differentials

Better against Left

OPS differential

Twins

+.094

Diamondbacks

+.082

Orioles

+.076

Reds

+.069

Pirates

+.052

Better against Right

OPS differential

Indians

-.096

Astros

-.089

Cubs

-.060

Mets

-.055

Royals

-.052

Only one of these offenses is in the top ten in baseball in runs scored (Mets at 8th), and seven of the ten are not in the top half of baseball. Without looking at prior years it would be hard to tell if being consistent as an offense versus both types of handedness in pitchers is an advantage, but it seems to have been the case so far this year.

The Royals line against lefties is .250/.309/.370, which means there average is exactly what the league has done against lefties, but they do worse by 8 points in OBP and 33 points in slugging. Power has seemed to be an issue for the Royals this year, but against right handed batters they are actually slugging .416, or 9 points better than the league average against right handed pitchers. Billy Butler crushes lefties (.361/.459/.627), but the other right handed batters are not offensive forces. Jeff Francoeur for his career has hit lefties very well, but he hasn't hit anything left or right this year. Alcides Escobar has hit righties better than lefties so far, and Yuni is not a good major league hitter at all as I think most people outside of Rex Hudler and Dayton Moore are already aware. Maybe Salvador Perez will help this lack of production against lefties in the second half. He has torched lefties so far (.500/.500/1.167), but that is only 12 ABs, so it doesn't move the needle much to this point.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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