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Are we going to struggle all year against righty pitching?


adambr2

It's early, but is anyone concerned about our struggles against righty pitching?

 

Look at our results so far this year. We have really not put a single good outing together against a righty starter.

 

Zambrano dominated us.

Lilly is a lefty, good results.

Dempster shut us down.

Sanchez is a lefty, good results.

Correia, a career reliever, was the righty that we had the most success against -- 6 IP, 4 runs.

Zito is a lefty, good results.

Cueto pretty much shut us down.

Fogg was very effective against us.

Harang dominated us.

Figueroa shut us down.

Santana is a lefty, good results.

Perez is a lefty, good results.

Looper shut us down.

 

See the trouble? We have dominated pretty much every lefty starter we've faced this year. Unfortunately, we're not going to see mostly lefty starters, we're going to see mostly righty starters. Almost every single righty, from Nelson Figueroa to Carlos Zambrano, have left our lineup completely ineffective. Cameron isn't going to be a band-aid to that -- just another righty in the lineup.

 

I'm not proclaiming doom and gloom here, but I do find it a bit concerning that it seems like we've built a lineup that will rake against lefties but almost always need great pitching to survive against righties.

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Yes, we stink vs righties just like last year. At home we'll do ok against the mediocre ones, on the road we'll lose a lot of games to them. In my fantasy leagues I'll pitch or ditch righty starters against us on the road, that means I'll play guys who normally should not get a start in most situations against us because of how weak the offense is. It will get a little better if Fielder starts hitting (not sure how well he'll hit with Hall behind him, he needs Braun or at least Hart behind him).
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I've been worried about this, too. I find myself caring more about whether the opposing starter is right- or left-handed than about how good that starter is in general.

 

Notice how Fielder walked in all his AB's today? I expect to see a lot of that, whether he has "protection" or not.

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This what Brewers did last year:

 

vs. RH: .252/.316/.439/.755

vs. LH: .288/.360/.499/.860

 

This year, not including today:

 

vs. RH: .230/.278/.363/.641

vs. LH: .300/.363/.543/.906

 

Not only do I not expect the current split to continue (I think we all agree on that, though), I don't think we should expect even the same platoon split as last year (a .105 OPS split is HUGE). Unless we think that the team is comprised of players that all have extreme platoon splits , I don't see how we should expect a repeat of last year. And really, we have no way of knowing what players have unusually large, expected platoon splits, anyway.

 

The approximate average platoon split for a RH handed hitter from 2002 - 2004 (from "The Book"):

 

OBP: .014

SLG: .023

OPS: .037

 

As the Book points out, there is some decent variation for batter to batter in their expected split. Some RH batters do struggle a lot more against same handed pithers than others. But a RH batter needs a very large sample against lefties before you can even identify which ones they are (around 2,000 PA!). Kendall is pretty close to that threshold (he has 1631 PA against lefties, .038 OPS split.. league average). Cameron is close as well (1572 PA, .076 OPS split, which has to be regressed to the mean somewhat). No other regular is even close. As a team, we are forced to expect a league average platoon split. There just isn't enough evidence to the contrary.

 

Is it going to hurt the Brewers more than an average team? Yes. But the average good right handed hitter is typically still expected to be pretty decent against a right handed pitcher. They are going to lose their share of games when a Rh pitcher is on the mound but it's most likely not going to be a big deal overall.

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I don't think we have a lineup of players with extreme platoon splits. Still, I don't see why we would NOT expect a repeat of last year. We removed 2 out of the 3 regular left handed bats in our lineup, Jenkins and Estrada (switch).

 

I would imagine we'll suffer a split of at least what we saw last season.

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I don't think we have a lineup of players with extreme platoon splits. Still, I don't see why we would NOT expect a repeat of last year. We removed 2 out of the 3 regular left handed bats in our lineup, Jenkins and Estrada (switch).

 

I would imagine we'll suffer a split of at least what we saw last season.

Well for starters because those two weren't very good last year. That'd be the first reason.

 

263 .285 -Estrada

262 .326 -Jenkins

 

Being left handed is obviously advantage, but just because they were left handed doesn't mean they're going to be better

than what we're replacing them with.

I'd assume that Kendall and Cameron will at least match those numbers vs right handed pitching.

 

I'd also assume that Prince is going to get it going, Weeks will improve overall on his splits from last year...and so on.

 

Also, Joe Dillon should be appreciably better vs right handers than Kevin Mench was. That's another couple hundred ab's that

should be improved.

 

 

That list you gave us had a couple flukes in it(Fogg, Figueroa), a couple studs(Cueto, Harang, Zambrano) and a couple decent pitchers

(Dempster, Looper). And more than anything, we're just struggling a little bit right now. I don't think that spells doom for us

vs right handers all year.

 

(fixed formatting -TC)

 

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I wasn't excited about the Cameron signing for one reason. They needed a left handed bat. Not a lefthanded bench bat like Gross (who looks to me like he's worthless even as a bench player at this point), but a bona fide threat from the left side. There were guys out there. Everybody laughed when I brought up Cliff Floyd. Floyd is hitting .333/.412/.800 and was available cheap. The value of having several lefthanded bats was shown last night when even though Bush was throwing fairly well, mediocre lefthanded hitters like Schumaker and Ankiel bit him.

 

Of course the trade off was improving the defense. While it's improved, in the key position of SS, we still have a guy with no range.

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I think the Cameron signing was probably the best in baseball this year, the impact from the defensive switch is going to be larger than any other FA signing. Yeah it would be great if was left handed but all the LH options were worse than the RH option by far.

I mean getting Kenny Lofton just because he is left handed would have been a terrible move because he stinks defensively now and his hitting is going down the tubes fast (he was all BABIP last year).

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I don't think we have a lineup of players with extreme platoon splits. Still, I don't see why we would NOT expect a repeat of last year.

 

If you don't think the players involved have extreme platoon splits, why would you expect another year of extreme platoon splits? As I pointed out in my first post, with a league avarage platoon split, even if you assume the Brewers will NEVER have the platoon advantage against righties this year (and their best hitter might disagree with that assumption), their OPS should only be expected to be aroung .040 lower against righties. Perhaps the Brewers DO have some batters with above average expected platoon splits but it's impossible to know based on the samples they have against LH pitchers. As a result, we shouldn't simply assume the same split as last year, since last year was very extreme. I mean, look at this:

 

Brewers RH Hitters in 2008:

 

vs. RH: 245/.300/.417/.717

vs. LH: .304/.373/.529/.902

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I think that part of the reason for the extreme splits come from the slow start that the heart of the order is off to. 40 of Prince's 50 HR last year came off righties; Braun does have a sizable righty/lefty split from last year, but he still managed a .845 OPS against RHP.

 

Some of the guys will improve on their splits as the year goes on, and the Brewers might have to look for a lefty bat in a trade at some point. (Thus calling forth the question: where do you look to replace one of the position players?)

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To answer your thread question: YES!

 

I said it during the offseason and nothing has changed. The only reason Gross is playi ng is due to Gwynn at this point.

They lost two lefties after last season and replaced them with rights. No wonder why Prince was walked four times the night before. LaRussa is no dummy.

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To answer your thread question, I sure hope not, but look at the current averages in our lineup tonight compared to St. Louis' lineup averages. Are we thinking these guys are/were better than they really are? The discrepancy in batting average between the teams' lineups tonight is rather significant ... even for just a 14-15 game stretch, I believe. Perhaps, the Brewers are just not that good. Perhaps, Hardy, Braun, and Fielder snuck up on some teams last season and had career years last year. I sure hope that Weeks and Hall at the very least can pick it up some. http://jsonline.stats.com/mlb/boxscore.asp?gamecode=280416124
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St. Louis is playing way over their heads, and we're playing well under ours. Also, Wainwright (a bonafide stud) was very much 'on' tonight, locating his FB incredibly well, and oh yea, mixing in some killer breaking stuff.

 


They needed a left handed bat. Not a lefthanded bench bat like Gross (who looks to me like he's worthless even as a bench player at this point), but a bona fide threat from the left side. There were guys out there. Everybody laughed when I brought up Cliff Floyd. Floyd is hitting .333/.412/.800 and was available cheap.

So because you made a comment about who the Brewers 'should' sign, and he happens to be hitting at an unsustainable clip, you cherry-pick & pat yourself on the back? I fail to see what I'm supposed to 'feel' about this. Floyd was a bad idea for us to sign, since we'll get comparable performance from Gross. That's right, the same Gross that worked his ABs very well tonight, and made a great play in CF to save a run.

 


There were guys out there

 

Who? Floyd? Come on. The whole quandry of this offseason is how this mythical player you claim to have scouted wasn't there.

Stearns Brewing Co.: Sustainability from farm to plate
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So how useful is using data from 6+ seasons ago in predicting future performance? I would think by the time you get enough data to make splits against LH pitching useful without a huge regression, a hitter could be on a totally different level skill wise. Basically not be the same hitter, worse/better, in a sense.

Fan is short for fanatic.

I blame Wang.

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St. Louis is playing way over their heads,

 

I'm not sold on the veracity of this statement -- I looked through the Cardinal lineup and its not as if they have a bunch of Kendall types hitting .562. They seem to be executing well, and probably are a much better team than last year.

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Drew Olson on the radio yesterday thought that Russell Branyan might be called up if he continues to do well and if the Brewers continue to struggle against righties. I don't think that's inside information on his part, just a guess. I'm not sure what to make of that. I can't see him starting over Hart or Braun against righthanders on a regular basis, and I would be surprised if Hall got relegated to a platoon player at 3B. I guess he could start a couple times a month when the corner OF or Hall gets a day or two off each month.
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St. Louis is playing way over their heads,

 

I'm not sold on the veracity of this statement -- I looked through the Cardinal lineup and its not as if they have a bunch of Kendall types hitting .562. They seem to be executing well, and probably are a much better team than last year.

 

The Cardinals W3 is 7.1-7.9 after the first 15 games. They most certainly are winning more than they should be so far this year. The Brewers is 6.5-7.5 which is expected since the team doesn't really have anyone hot right now. W/L record after so few games just isn't a good way to judge a team.

 

There really isn't a good way to judge a team after such a small sample, gonna need to go a good 40-50 games into the season to really know anything about how good teams are.

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It doesn't help when one of the supposed righty killers on the team really isn't that great at it. For a website that seem so focused on stats the rather pedestrian stats of Gabe Gross vs. RH's gets glossed over or ignored quite often.

 

Sure he came back up in August and had a great month but he had a putrid month (with even more AB's) following that which never seems get mentioned. Those 40 ABs in August where he was extremely hot were the only thing that saved his numbers from being truly awful for the season.

 

Laugh at Briggs' Cliff Floyd suggestion but Floyd has been better than Gross vs. RH pitching. (question will always be can Floyd stay healthy) Floyd may not have been the answer because of injury concerns but when will the string finally run out on Gross and his production and below average defense (another area that Gross fans scoffed at when it was suggested that he is not a good CF option).

 

Floyd in 2007 249 ABs .281/.370/.422 -> .791 OPS

Gross in 2007 172ABs .244/.328/.459 ->.788 OPS close but not because of his supposed great OBP skills

 

Floyd career 3829 AB .261/.368/.492 --> .860 OPS

Gross career 583 AB .254/.345/.422 - -> .767 OPS

 

Floyd 2008 15 ABs .333/.412/.800 - -> 1.212 OPS

Gross 2008 25 ABs .120/.214/.160 --> .374 OPS

 

Granted the 2008 start is extremely small samples and Floyd with miss time with meniscus injury but Gabe Gross doesn't look all that fearsome as a LH bat specializing in playing versus the RH's.

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They lost two lefties after last season and replaced them with rights.
So you would rather have Jenkins and Estrada than Cameron and Kendall? Seriously?

Did I say that?? Don't be stupid! I believe the Brewers need more front line players that swing from the left side to even things out a little. And by front line I don't mean Gross or Counsell.

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To answer your thread question: YES!

 

I said it during the offseason and nothing has changed. The only reason Gross is playi ng is due to Gwynn at this point.

They lost two lefties after last season and replaced them with rights. No wonder why Prince was walked four times the night before. LaRussa is no dummy.

So the fact that the two right handers we replaced the lefties with are most likely going to hit better vs right handers than they did doesn't matter? Just simply because they're left handers, and now we've got right handers that means that they're automatically going to be worse? Doesn't make much sense to me.

 

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