Too many Lefties — Bah Humbug by Bob Ryan

spring training 2014 logoOK…the Cards appear to be headed towards 5 left handed hitters in their every- day lineup. Some say that it’ll be our Waterloo…our Pearl Harbor….our1985 series again…relax……let’s take a deeper plunge into these lefty-waters..

…according to my own survey done earlier this week, the NL has a majority of right handed starters….take a look..

                    RH         LH

Pitt               4          2

Cubs               3          2

Az                   5          0

Atl                  2          3

Cincy              4          1

Miami           5          0

Phil                 3          2

SF                    4          1

LA                   2          3

Col                  3          2

Mil                 5          0

NYM              4          1

SD                   5          0

Wash             4          1

1) So……the Cards will be seeing more RH (as starters) by….since LH hit RP better than LHP….that’s a plus.


2) There’s a growing trend in MLB for teams to have more LH…check out this chart

The percentage of plate appearances taken from the left batter’s box, which includes left-handed hitters and switch-hitters batting lefty, has gradually increased over the last 40 years, with a few of the percentages isolated here.

Year Lefty PA
1972 36.4%
1982 40.1%
1992 41.6%
2002 42.8%
2012 43.7%


Our Cards aren’t swimming upstream in using more LH…”go with the flow”


3) LH hit better…..check out these stats from a recent season

  • vs. same-handed pitchers LHB: .241 RHB: .251
  • vs. opposite-handed pitchers LHB: .268 RHB: .271
  • vs. all pitchers LHB: .263 RHB: .258
  • Historically true…taken from an articles—I’m not smart enough to figure out all this stuff..


 A cursory look at the career leaders in batting average will convince you that lefties have some kind of advantage. Seven of the top 10, and 19 of the top 30, are left handers. And remember, most batters hit right-handed—so a majority of lefties atop the leaderboard is even more noteworthy.

Batting titles seem to be won disproportionately by left handers as well. Over the last 50 years, 54 of the 100 batting titles have been won by left-handed hitters, 35 by righties and 11 by switch hitters. Again, the lefties seem to have a sizable advantage. Historically, considering all hitters, lefties have hit for a higher average than

  • The best teams of all time…according to experts..not to this Irishman…had a wealth of LH hitters or LH power-men1998 NYY had 3 lefties & 2 switch hitters 1964 Brock, McCarver, White


  2. On our st louis team..
  3. 1976 Cincy Red had 3 lefties + switch hitting Pete Rose
  4. 1927 NYY had the 1-2 punch of Ruth, Gehrig

OK…so what does this all mean…it means if you can hit, you can hit R or L handed pitching. Guys like Adams/Heyward have long swings so they seem to struggle more against the sling-shot lefties who make it break more than a wiffle ball. The LH specialist …why aren’t there any RH specialist anyway….come late in the game…either ride your big LH horse or pinch hit. Take a look at last year..

Jon Jay 2014 Platoon Splits

vs. LHP 94 4.3 22.3 .375 .404 .455 .859 .080 .379 144
Total 468 6.0 16.7 .303 .372 .378 .750 .075 .336 115
vs. RHP 374 6.4 15.2 .283 .364 .357 .721 .074 .325 108

Matt Carpenter 2014 vs. LHP

vs. LHP 217 19.4 12.4 .262 .361 .361 .722 .098 .327 109
Total 709 15.7 13.4 .272 .375 .375 .750 .103 .339 117
vs. RHP 492 14.0 13.8 .277 .381 .381 .762 .104 .343 120

Kolten Wong 2014 vs. LHP

vs. LHP 76 0.0 13.2 .315 .324 .466 .790 .151 .348 123
Total 433 4.8 16.4 .249 .292 .388 .680 .139 .299 90
vs. RHP 357 5.9 17.1 .234 .285 .371 .656 .137 .289 83

Matt Adams 2014 vs. LHP

vs. LHP 130 4.6 27.7 .190 .231 .298 .528 .107 .236 47
Total 563 4.6 20.2 .288 .321 .457 .779 .169 .337 116
vs. RHP 433 4.6 18.0 .318 .349 .505 .854 .187 .367 137

Jason Heyward 2014 vs. LHP

vs. LHP 159 7.5 22.0 .169 .252 .225 .477 .056 .225 39
Total 649 10.3 15.1 .271 .351 .384 .735 .113 .329 110
vs. RHP 490 11.2 12.9 .304 .384 .436 .820 .132 .363 133


I don’t know what that wRC+ means….looks like a pharmaceutical symbol to me..


…thoughts on MLB Central division….

…..I see Mil as biggest threat to Cards…all 3 OF can hit, good speed up the middle, Broxton should bolster pen. Jimmy Nelson needs to step up as the #4 starter to help them get sweeps..winning every series 2-1 catches up to you with a 4-5 game losing streak…??? Is can FranRod repeat…or at least hold on until Sep 1 when they can trade for another closer

…Pitt has the best corp of young players with a superstar in McCutcheon leading the way….the Pirates went out and acquired their 3rd catcher in recent years from the NYY when they acquired Cervelli….do the Bronx Bombers have a special “hold” on developing catchers?..I mean Yogi & Elston Howard have been gone a long time….anyway…if Alvarez can hit .250 with 25-30 bombs they could contend

….I see Cincy as the Central’s Sr Citizens….Cueto, Phillips, Votto, Jay Bruce, Zach Cosart….those names seem to me to have been around a long time..I mean is Ted Kluzewski coming out of retirement….I’m not sold on Frazier having another tremendous year….

Cubs…are like a circus…lots and lots of hype for a quick, short show that hits its high spot about halfway through the performance…I’m not a strong fan of John Lester…who I think romps over sub .500 teams and struggles against the big boys..btw Starlin Castro, 24, has 846 hits already…that’s 18th highest hit total in MLB history thru age 24…right behind Robby Alomar ! Kris Bryant & Javier Baez will be up in 6 weeks (so Cubbies can gain an extra year of control)…that’ll boost up their hitting.

Odds & ends…

…well Garcia lived up to…or down to…depending how you look at it…his reputation of a sore-armed Phenom

…I root for anyone/everyone to beat Kentucky….I’m not sure that the Lakers could do it right now. I’m frustrated with the complete departure from the student-athlete concept of college athletics…things like playing after graduation (as a grad student)—what’s next a college kid allowed to play HS?….or things like the easy access of the huge number of transferring students so they can get on a better team or more playing time or get yelled at less often….or not getting the stipend that they thought that they would receive….or get on TV more often…or whatever.

….Marlins appear to be vastly improved ….maybe they’ll draw 3000 fans now J

….btw..the Cards had the 3rd highest pay scale of their division last year…cincy & Milwaukee out-spent them

…in a publication about pre-season baseball rankings….one article had all FIVE of the Wash Nats starters ranked in the top 50!

…while looking up some stats…noticed that the 1976 Reds had 210 stolen bases for the year! Last year the Cards had 57 SB….

…one stat that I think the Cards will be high in again this year is hitting into double plays…they hit the ball hard and run slow = double play

…it seems to me that the NFL is setting up one hurdle after the other for St Louis to jump….either we’ll be unable to do it or get tired of trying

…Mike Shannon & John Rooney have really been ripping the umpiring in these spring games….I can’t decide if the eyesight of the umps or the announcers has deteriorated

…I still wish Kolton Wong would be the lead-off hitter with Carp hitting behind him to give him a chance to run….he can’t run as a #8 hitter…if he singles, he be sacrificed to 2B.

..this was a long sermon…but it is holy week so that’s fitting…. have a Great Easter!

Thx for making to the bottom….enjoyed reading so many of your comments, thoughts, ideas that you sent after my last article….pls do it again!!






  1. Chris Hanff says:

    Hi Mr. Ryan,

    Thanks for sharing your wit 🙂
    I enjoyed these blogs since you sent them to me a couple weeks ago.
    Some raised eyebrows, many smiles.
    It’s really great to hear your voice in your writing.
    I look forward to more …

    Best regards,

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