Friday, July 13, 2012

Fun with Platoon Splits

We still have time for one more All-Star break statistical post before the second half of the season begins with this afternoon's Diamondbacks/Cubs game at Wrigley Field.

The other day, someone on Twitter asked if anyone has a bigger platoon split than Jared Burton, who has a .384 OPS vs right-handed hitters and a .856 OPS versus lefties.

After a little sleuthing, I found that overall, there were several pitchers with larger split differentials, but very few innings pitched. Jared Burton pitched 35.3 innings in the first half this season. Out of anyone who has pitched that many innings, or more, only one player had a larger split differential, his teammate, Liam Hendriks who threw 38.3 innings, pitched to a 1.209 OPS vs RHH and a .664 OPS vs LHH. What a coincidence that these two guys would be teammates.

Taking this exercise a bit further, I wanted to look at players who have thrown more innings. So, we looked up pitchers who threw at least 20 innings against batters from each side of the plate and hitters with at least 60 plate appearances against both, righties and southpaws.

We will present our split differential "leaderboard" in a few moments, but first, it's important to keep in mind that these aren't really leaders. It's not a great achievement to have a big platoon split because it means you're struggling against players of a certain handedness. First, let's show the true splits leaders against each side, by OPS.

Best Pitchers vs LHH
That arm action can't be good for
Matt Harrison's shoulder or elbow.
Matt Harrison .431
Jered Weaver .445
Brandon Beachy .446
Madison Bumgarner .457
Ross Detwiler .481
Clayton Richard .498
Chris Sale .501
C.J. Wilson .526
Brian Matusz .539
David Price .540
Ryan Dempster .551

We stretched this list out to eleven because Ryan Dempster is on the trading block, and this type of mass publicity of success could lead to a better trade for the Cubbies.

Best Pitchers vs RHH
Mike Fiers has taken the National
League, particularly RHH, by storm.
Jake Peavy .469
Michael Fiers .481
Johnny Cueto .491
Robbie Ross .505
R.A. Dickey .511
Brandon McCarthy .517
Tom Wilhelmsen .539
Nathan Eovaldi .546
Matt Cain .550
Brandon Beachy .553
Lance Lynn .553

And, now, the pitchers with largest split differentials...

Brian Matusz .444 (.983 v RHH, .539 v LHH)
Jordan Lyles .403 (.645 v RHH, 1.048 v LHH)
Phil Hughes .378 (1.007 v RHH, .629 v LHH)
Matt Harrison .344 (.775 v RHH, .431 v LHH)
Kyle Drabek .337 (.988 v RHH, .651 v LHH)
Nathan Eovaldi .313 (.546 v RHH, .859 v LHH)
Mat Latos .306 (.570 v RHH, .876 v LHH)
Clayton Richard .301 (.799 v RHH, .498 v LHH)
Ross Detwiler .279 (.760 v RHH, .481 v LHH)
Gavin Floyd .272 (.624 v RHH, .896 v LHH)

Check out those reverse splits on Phil Hughes and Kyle Drabek. Something tells me that has to do with the success they derive from their cutters, and lack there of from other offerings.

Just for fun, let's look at hitters.

Best Hitters vs LHP
Andrew McCutchen 1.286
Paul Goldschmidt 1.284
Cody Ross 1.205
Melky Cabrera 1.194
Josh Willingham 1.165
Trevor Plouffe 1.147
Giancarlo Stanton 1.100
Matt Holliday 1.097
Edwin Encarnacion 1.086
Billy Butler 1.086

Best Hitters vs RHP
Robinson Cano 1.146
Joey Votto 1.145
Josh Hamilton 1.088
Carlos Gonzalez 1.055
David Ortiz 1.041
Paul Konerko 1.004
David Wright .996
Carlos Ruiz .989
Shin-Soo Choo .980
Mark Trumbo .978

Finally, batters with largest split differentials...

Justin Morneau .598 (.960 v RHP, .362 v LHP)
Paul Goldschmidt .568 (.716 v RHP, 1.284 v LHP)
Robinson Cano .521 (1.146 v RHP, .625 v LHP)
Cody Ross .455 (.750 v RHP, 1.205 v LHP)
David DeJesus .440 (.855 v RHP, .415 v LHP)
Shane Victorino .394 (.589 v RHP, .983 v LHP)
Melky Cabrera .394 (.800 v RHP, 1.194 v LHP)
Trevor Plouffe .391 (.756 v RHP, 1.147 v LHP)
Mark Ellis .385 (.587 v RHP, .972 v LHP)
Russell Martin .377 (.555 v RHP, .932 v LHP)

We're rooting for Justin Morneau
to get back to his balanced attack.
After closer inspection, it makes sense that some of the players with largest platoon split differentials are there because they struggle mightily versus one side (Hughes, Drabek, Morneau), and others have succeeded so much versus another (Harrison, Plouffe, Cabrera, etc.)

What's your take?

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