Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Switch Hitting Articles

Why are switch hitters rare?  Find out here


Is switch-hitting a lost art?

By Nick Cafardo | Boston Globe 24 May 2015


The Red Sox have one player (Shane Victorino) who has given it up, one player toying with giving it up (Daniel Nava), and one player (Pablo Sandoval) who should give it up on a team that employs as its hitting coach Chili Davis, one of the most consistent switch-hitters (.276/.820 OPS lefthanded, .270/.790 OPS righthanded) in his day.



Costa’s Allen learned switch-hitting to step into key role

by Joey Clarke Jr., The Beach Reporter, April 18, 2013

Mira Costa’s Keyon Allen spent his first ten years as a baseball player batting right handed and spent the bulk of his time as an infielder. But now Allen is a switch-hitting center fielder who has emerged as a star for the Mustangs.
Allen got off to a slow start at the plate in his first full season on the varsity roster last spring. Coach Cassidy Olson and his assistants liked his speed and saw it as an opportunity for Allen to expand his game, and said that if he hit anything to the left side of the infield, he’d be able to beat it out for an infield single if he moved to the left side of the plate. 
So, midway through his junior season, Allen went to work to become a switch-hitter.

Switch-hitting paying off in big way for Fowler

By Thomas Harding / MLB.com | 4/6/2013
Rockies switch-hitting center fielder Dexter Fowler entered Saturday with three home runs this season -- all no-doubters, and all left-handed.
Well, remember 2011, when Fowler struggled from the left and there were suggestions being floated that he should quit switch-hitting? Fowler sure remembers answering questions about it, sensing that there was the possibility the Rockies would ask him to bat only right-handed. Fowler was a right-handed hitter in high school, and was taught to switch-hit when he turned pro with the Rockies.
Fowler spoke without bitterness, but he is proud of how he has developed as a switch-hitter. Last season, when he finished with a career-best .300 average, he hit .315 right-handed and a respectable .293 left-handed. He had more than twice the at-bats from the left (311) than from the right (143). He also hit 10 homers left-handed and three from the right.

Pennington is Baylor's lone switch-hitting pupil

By Nathan Humphreys, MLD.com, March 22, 2013

Much like throwing a screwball or eating sunflower seeds without using your hands, switch-hitting is one of the more arcane skills in baseball. A dark art that counts alliterated mystics Frankie Frisch and Mickey Mantle among its masters.

Switch-hitting is an art form in today's game. Only about 8 percent of players currently on Major League Spring Training rosters are switch-hitters.

For those few who do hit from both sides of the plate, there are two key advantages. It minimizes the effectiveness of same-handed pitching matchups and it helps limit the effectiveness of nasty breaking balls. But it only works if everything is in sync. The difficulty of dialing in two different swings is one reason why the D-back's only switch-hitter, shortstop Cliff Pennington, describes switch-hitting as both a blessing and a curse.
Switch hitter becoming rare in H.S. baseball

By Kyle Odegard Special to AFN, April 6, 2013


Maybe it’s inaccurate to say Riley Unroe was born to be a switch-hitter, but the evidence was pretty clear by age 2.
There are videos of the Desert Ridge senior shortstop all those years back in the family basement, swinging his miniature bat both left- and right-handed.
Unroe has carried it on to present day, but is one of the rare East Valley high school baseball players who still hits from each side of the plate. According to Perfect Game, he is the only Division I-college committed senior from Arizona who is a switch-hitter.
The Mountain Pointe duo of Cole Tucker and Jake Alexander are two of the more high-profile juniors who do so, but that list is also small.
Through the first 17 games of the season Alexander was hitting .500 and Tucker was at .415.


Switch-hitting a challenge to truly master


Chipper, Berkman rank among best but there appear to be few successors

By Andrew Simon / Special to MLB.com | 07/27/12

Switch-hitters aren't disappearing. Between 20 and 30 tend to qualify for the batting title in a given season; so far in 2012, there are 25, including younger All-Star selections Asdrubal Cabrera, Melky Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval and Matt Wieters. MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects list includes seven who bat from both sides.
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Danny Espinosa and the challenge of switch-hitting

It is hard to be a switch-hitter, even beyond the extra batting practice and mental maintenance it requires. When one body and one mind house two independent hitters, it can be slam-your-head-against-the-wall frustrating. Danny Espinosa knows that too well right now. He feels invincible from one side of the plate, clueless from the other. He cannot make them meet in the middle.
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Chipper Jones best switch-hitter of his era: 
batting higher than .300 with good power, braves slugger challenges pitchers from both sides of the plate.  
Jones, a natural right-hander, became much more than a left-handed slap hitter, one-step closer to first base. The left side is his power side, with more opposite field pop. He hits a homer every 16 at-bats left-handed, every 22 at-bats right-handed.
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Baseball's 25 Best Switch-Hitters of All Time
by Dan Tylicki, Bleacher ReportMarch 2, 2012 
In baseball, switch-hitters are a rare breed. Being able to bat from both sides of the plate makes it a lot easier for managers to put a player in a lineup, and they don't have to worry about facing left-handed or right-handed pitchers on a given day.

This select group of players makes up some of the best in the game's history, people who are known as all-time greats first and great switch-hitters second. 

MLB Notebook: Beltran in rare switch-hitting air

By Roger Schlueter June 16, 2012
In baseball's entire history through 2011, there have been 58 individual player seasons in which a switch-hitter qualified for the batting title and posted an OPS+ of at least 150. To no one's surprise, Mickey Mantle claims the most significant number of these seasons, with 11.
Lance Berkman owns the second most (six), and Chipper Jones and Eddie Murray are tied for the third most, with five apiece. After those four titans of switch-hitting, a pair of somewhat underrated ballplayers -- Ken Singleton and Reggie Smith -- check in with four and three seasons, respectively. Right behind Smith is Carlos Beltran, who posted his first 150 OPS+ season in 2006, when he had a 150 with 41 homers and 18 steals.

The Golden Age of Switch Hitters

Posted by Charles Mon, 23 Apr 2012

Looking for patterns in the handedness of hitters led to a surprising discovery. Major League Baseball (MLB) hosted a decade of high employment of switch hitters. This decade coincided with a decade-long low period in the employment of right-handed hitters. Since 1948, when our data starts, about 30 percent of full time MLB players hit exclusively left handed. This fluctuates year to year insignificantly.The remaining 70 percent has fluctuated a great deal between switch hitters and right-handed hitters.
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COMMENTARY

It's really not great to be a switch-hitter


A number of players bat from both sides of the plate, but many find it difficult to do

By Tim Kurkjian | ESPN The Magazine, September 3, 2010

If switch-hitting is such a great thing, then why are only 6 percent of all non-pitchers in baseball history switch-hitters? If switch-hitting provides such an advantage for a hitter because he doesn't have to see the breaking ball coming at him, then why do only two of the top 100 career batting averages of all-time (minimum: 5,000 at-bats) belong to switch-hitters?
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Switch Hitting – Yes or No?

When should a player start switch-hitting? What do you consider a good age to begin? How proficient should the hitter be from his strong side before he begins learning to switch-hit? Do you consider learning to switch-hit to be a big advantage for being recruited by college/pros? Just off the top of my head, it seems that many of the top hitters in the Majors are not switch hitters.

Switch-hitters work twice as hard, earn big benefits

December 16, 2007 By CAL RIPKEN JR.


DEAR CAL -- My son is a sophomore varsity baseball player and has been able to switch-hit since he was 11. I have been told by many people that they are impressed that he can hit well from both sides of the plate. I have also been told by others who seem to have my son's best interest in mind that there is no advantage to being able to switch-hit and that he should concentrate on making his dominant side better. What are your thoughts on switch-hitting?

DEAR GARY -- I would question anyone who says that there is no advantage to being able to switch-hit. If your son has nearly equal success hitting from both sides of the plate, it is a tremendous advantage for him to be able to do so , especially as he moves up the ladder and pitchers begin to develop better breaking balls. It's a lot less comfortable for a hitter for a breaking ball come at him and then break across the plate than it is for the pitch to break toward him.

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Switch Hitter - BR Bullpen
- list of the top switch hitters based on career stats
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