Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The advantage of left-handers

In Sports, Left-Handers Exploit Edge Every Day
August 11, 2010

For the 90 percent of us who do things the right way, it has probably escaped our attention that, for the past 34 years, Aug. 13 has been designated International Left-Handers Day. As a minority that has been historically put upon, you southpaws certainly deserve your own holiday this Friday.

However, and not to be gauche about it — in sports, every day is left-handers' day.
Trust me, if you are a young parent and you want to give your son every advantage — spending a fortune sending him to all the right schools, and teaching him all sorts of cultural skills — just save your money.

Instead, tie his right arm behind his back as soon as he gets out of the crib and teach him to be a left-handed relief pitcher, and that kid of yours will still be making a good living pitching when you're in assisted living — him paying your way. A left-handed reliever can go on forever.

Listen to the Story


Switch Pitcher - Harder to hit throwing lefty than righty
Henry Knight pitching left-handed

Henry Knight is a switch pitcher, who is naturally right-handed, but he his much harder to hit against when he throws left-handed. During the high school season he only gave up one earned run throwing lefty, vs a handful throwing righty. He throws the same pitches from both sides, but the left-handed throws have more movement and are harder for the batter to track.

As a lefty, Henry Knight had a 0.78 ERA pitching on varsity in his sophomore year.

Knight finished the 2013 season with a 11:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (22K/2BB).

Read more


Left-handed Baseball Players Have Advantage

A brief article on the Washington University in Saint Louis website discusses how left-handed pitchers and hitters have a distinct advantage in the game of baseball.
This is probably not surprising news to most readers of this site, but the math has been done, and despite roughly 90% of the adult population being right-handed, about 25% of professional baseball players are left-handed. Two and a half times the national average is no joke.

Statistics brought out in the article to support the thesis that baseball favors lefties include the fact that 59 of the 138 hitters enshrined at the baseball hall of fame are lefties. That’s nearly 43%.
When the eight switch-hitters are added to the tally, the percentage rises to 49.

Baseball diamonds: the lefthander’s best friend

By Tony Fitzpatrick

“Ninety percent of the human population is right-handed, but in baseball 25 percent of the players, both pitchers, and hitters, are left-handed,” said Peters, a devoted St. Louis Cardinal fan who attended “Stan the Man’s” last ball game at Sportsman’s Park in 1963. “There is a premium on lefthanders for a number of reasons. For starters, take seeing the ball.
“A right-handed batter facing a right-handed pitcher actually has to pick up the ball visually as it comes from behind his (the batter’s) left shoulder. The left-handed batter facing the right-handed pitcher has the ball coming to him, so he has a much clearer view of pitches.”
What gives a left-handed pitcher an advantage over a left-handed batter?

Find out the answer here


Monday, June 24, 2013

Pitching Rules for Ambidextrous Pitchers in High School

High School Baseball - Pitching Rule 6-1-1
Ambidextrous pitcher Henry Knight, Seattle

RULE 6 Pitching
Section 1, ART. 1 ...

If a pitcher is ambidextrous, the umpire shall require the pitcher to face a batter as either a left-handed pitcher or right-handed pitcher, but not both.

Pitching Limitations:  Inning Limit per Week

ART. 6 ... Each state association shall have a pitching restriction policy to afford pitchers a reasonable rest period between pitching appearances. Per FHSAA Rule 2002.01(5) Pitching Restrictions: A pitcher must not pitch more than 14 innings in a week (Monday-Saturday) and may never pitch more than 10 innings on two consecutive days. A pitcher may pitch a maximum of 10 innings in any one day.

   - A pitcher may pitch a maximum of 10 innings in one day
   - A pitcher must not pitch more than 14 innings in a week

Pitching Restrictions

Can an ambidextrous pitcher throw twice as many innings?  No

6.1.6 Situation A:
The coach of Team A has an ambidextrous pitcher and wants to know if the player can pitch the limitations both left-handed and right-handed.

Ruling: Pitching limitations are to apply to the player as an individual, not as a left-handed and right-handed pitcher.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Positive Coaching helps pitchers perform

Positive coaching can have a big influence on how a pitcher performs on the mound. Having positive thoughts starts with positive feedback from coaches during practice, and it caries over into games.

Come on, strike this guy out!

Negative coaches can make pitchers doubt their ability and can create negative thoughts. They yell loud and put the pressure on the pitchers to perform. A pitcher starts to tense up and thinks: If I don't strike this guy out and win this game, then I will have to run poles.

Relax, take your time, and put the ball in play.

Positive coaches stay calm and give feedback that helps a pitcher relax. They call time to talk with the players and remind the pitcher that he has fielders ready to make the out. It's a team effort. Have fun playing the game.

Youth attrition rates are 80 percent lower for children whose coaches practice positive coaching. 

The Power of Positive Coaching
by David Bornstein, The New York Times

Imagine you’re coaching a big soccer game, against an undefeated team that has beaten your team in all your previous matches. Your 11-year-olds are playing well and are ahead. Then, in the closing minutes, the official makes a bad call that goes against you and, because of it, you lose. After the game, the parents of your players scream at the official. The kids are disappointed, looking up at you. What do you do?

Or you’re coaching tee-ball and one of your 5-year-old players has failed to get a hit so far. Now, he’s up again in a crucial situation and is nervous. All eyes are on him. His first swing misses high. The second misses low and knocks the ball off the tee. You call him over to offer some help. What do you say?

Read more

Positive Coaching Alliance

Positive Coaching Alliance is a national non-profit organization with the mission to transform the culture of youth sports so that youth athletes can have a positive, character-building experience.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Keith Werman, Virginia Cavaliers

Keith Edward Werman
Keith Werman led the NCAA Division 1
 in sacrifice bunts with 28

Nickname: "The Ninja"
Born: October 1, 1989 in Vienna, Virginia
Hometown: Vienna, Virginia

High School: Oakton High School, Oakton Cougars, Class of 2008

College: University of Viginia, Cavaliers, 2009-2012

MLB: Seattle Mariners - undrafted free agent 2012
Minors: 2013 Clinton LumberKings
  Class A > 2013 Midwest League (Western)

Height/Weight: 5'7"  150 lbs
Bats: Left
Throws: Both (ambidextrous)
Positions: INF/C
Werman was a switch pitcher and shortstop, as a teenager.

Keith Werman is a dynamic ambidextrous baseball player who played second base in the College World Series for the Virginia Cavaliers. In 2009, he hit the team-best .417 in NCAA tournament, including .600 (6-for-10) in the College World Series.

When he was 13, he pitched a seven-inning complete game, throwing 3.1 innings left handed and 3.2 right handed to get the win.
How Keith Werman became an ambidextrous pitcher 
"I was born as a lefty. As I was starting to walk and pick up a ball, my dad and brother noticed that I was trying to grab and throw lefty and they would tell me no and put the ball in my right hand. They said that you need to be a righty because lefthanders only can pitch and play the outfield and first base. Knowing I wasn't going to be a very big guy, lefty wouldn't have been a good fit for me so they had me throw righty. When I was about seven or eight, they asked me to pick up a ball lefty and I started throwing it and it was natural. When I was 13, I threw a complete game - 3 1/3 lefty and 3 2/3 righty - it was pretty cool."
So how does that work? You just decide in the middle of the game to switch it up and throw on another glove while you're pitching?

Werman: My dad actually went online and found a six-finger glove so I can wear it on both hands. In that game I initially started out lefty and went as far as I could until a guy hit a double into left-center and I looked over to my dad, who was the coach at the time, and he said ‘switch it over,' so I switched hands and started throwing righty.

What was the reaction to that?

Werman: It was a pretty cool reaction. All the kids were like ‘whoa' and all starstruck. They were all up on the cage watching. The best was I was pitching righty and the first guy got on base and then I would switch to lefty and pick him off and then switch back righty and pitch, and they didn't know what happened.


Virginia Baseball - Keith Werman
A look at Keith Werman from the Virginia Baseball team.

Small Ball
Always “the small guy,” as Werman put it, he modeled his game after Derek Jeter and David Eckstein and learned the intricacies of bunting and moving runners over as a Little League shortstop playing for his father at Waters Field in Vienna. (

High School Stats
2008 Washington Post Northern Virginia Player of the Year.
Hit .435 as senior, .521 as junior; District Player of the Year, team MVP as junior.
2.0 pop time as a catcher; 75 mph INF

College Stats
Werman hit the team-best .417 in NCAA tournament, including .600 (6-for-10) in 2009 College World Series.
Keith Werman Bio - Viginia Cavaliers

In 2010, the Oakton High School graduate hit a team-leading .414 as a sophomore, fifth best average in program history, earning second-team All-ACC as the toughest batter in the conference to strike out.

Werman said, "I played with that 'you got nothing to lose attitude.' Just trying to make my spot in the lineup and try to get myself the best chance to play."

But at 5'7", 150 pounds, doubters and opposing fans have always had questions.

Werman said, "'Do you even have a license? How old are you, ten? How much do you really weigh, 100 pounds?' I get all that, and I really enjoy it. It just drives me to even want to play even harder and really beat those guys. Always being told I'm too small, not capable of playing at this level, that really drives you to want to get better."

His fans call him "The Ninja" for the stealth he brings to the baseball diamond.

Often the smallest kid on the field — he now stands at 5'7" and 150 pounds — he knows he's not going to be the power hitter who hits a walk-off homer with regularity.

"I came in my first year just wanting to do whatever I could to play and help the team. I still feel that way," Keith said.

And if he has learned anything from his father and older brother, who both coached him growing up, he's learned one must fail with grace to stand a chance of succeeding again.

"When he first started struggling this year, it started to affect his defense a little. But he got himself together defensively in these playoffs," said Frank Werman, his father. "He just does so many little things that people just don't realize until you look for it. They call him The Ninja because of that stealth. It fits him."

By Nicole Trifone, OaktonPatch, June 13, 2012

A week after Major League Baseball ended its draft, Oakton High graduate Keith Werman got a call: "Congratulations, you're now a professional baseball player," said a recruiter.
Werman, a 2008 Oakton High graduate, will join the Seattle Mariners organization in the minors after signing paperwork this week, he said. 
"I expect to go out there and have fun, and just give it everything I have," he said. "I've got nothing to lose. They want me to play for them, which is exciting and makes it easier to play. I'm going to go out there and compete and try to help the teams win to get a chance to work my way up."

Rounding the Bases with Keith Werman -

Keith Werman bunting stats (2010-12) 

Werman Called Up to Mariners' Class A Team

Keith Werman Baseball Profile | Perfect Game USA

Keith Werman -


Similar ambidextrous player:

Henry Knight - LHP/RHP, SS, C
Knight is a quick middle infielder who can lay down a bunt right- or left-handed. He switch pitches  in games and serves as a catcher for the Franklin Quakers in Seattle.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Ambidextrous Pitchers - recruiting videos and profiles

Class of 2013

Aubrey McCarty (2013) - Coquitt County High School, Doerun, GA

Aubrey McCarty is a switch hitter and both hand pitcher who can throw up to 89 mph right-handed (Perfect Game). Throws a fastball, curveball and changeup. At 6'3", McCarty also plays the corner infield right-handed. 
In early May, McCarty's pitching record was 9-1, with a 2.74 ERA. He had 47 strikeouts and 37 walks in 53.2 innings pitched (Moultrie Observer). 

College Commitment: Vanderbilt
2013 MLB Draft: SF Giants


Marcus Garcia (2013) - Roseville High School, Roseville, CA

As a junior, switch pitcher Marcus Garcia pitched in 11 games – racking up 28 strikeouts in 30.2 innings for the Roseville Tigers.


Class of 2014

Alexander Trautner (2014) - San Ramon Valley High School, Danville, CA

A 6'3" switch pitcher from Northern California, Alexander Trautner throws a fastball, curveball and change-up from either side. Right-handed he reaches 82 mph and left-handed he throws 80 mph. Trautner played for the East Bay Colt 45s and the Danville Hoots Baseball Club.  Trautner fields firstbase left-handed, and behind the plate he is a right-handed catcher.


Class of 2015

Henry Knight (2015) - Franklin High School, Seattle, Washington

Henry Knight, BHP
As a sophomore, Knight was the starting shortstop and relief pitcher with a 0.78 ERA as a lefty. As a switch pitcher, he recorded 22 strikeouts and only two walks, for a 11:1 K/BB ratio. As a switch hitter, his On Base Percentage was .525.

By mid-season Knight had a 0.93 ERA as a closer for the Columbia City Reds, with a 17:1 K/BB ratio.

Tyler Hopman (2015) - Old Bridge, New Jersey

Tyler Hopman is a 6'2" freshman switch pitcher who plays for Old Bridge High School Knights in New Jersey. In an interview, he said that he feels a lot stronger throwing lefty.

When not pitching, Hopman plays center field right-handed. He bats exclusively from the left side.

Switch Pitching 101: High School Switch Pitchers


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Lee Mazzilli, Former MLB player is ambidextrous

Lee Louis Mazzilli
Born March 25, 1955 in Brooklyn, New York

Batted: Switch  .259 BA
Threw: Both

MLB Teams: NY Mets, Texas Rangers, NY Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays
Manager: Baltimore Orioles (2004-2005)

Draft: The Mets selected his Lee Mazzilli out of Brooklyn’s Lincoln High School in 1973 in the first round, 14th overall.

An excellent athlete, young Lee Mazzilli was the son of welterweight boxer Libero Mazzilli. Unlike most switch hitters, who naturally bat from one side of the plate and train themselves to feel comfortable on the other, Mazzilli was naturally ambidextrous, and swung the bat both ways from an early age. (Wikipedia)

Ambidextrous Outfielder May Be Answer To Mets' Problems

Times-Daily - June 6, 1973

The injury-troubled New York Mets have come up with a solution for their health problems. They have drafted an ambidextrous outfielder.

He's Lee Mazzilli of Brooklyn and he was the 14th player chosen Tuesday in baseball's summer free agent draft.

Joe McDonald, director of minor league operations for the Mets, announced the selection, reporting that Mazilli, "Bats, right-left. Throws, right-left." If he hurts one hand, a regular Met hazard these days, he can use the other.

Mets draft L.J. Mazzilli, son of Lee Mazzilli, in the fourth round

Second baseman L.J. Mazzilli, son of former Mets All-Star Lee Mazzilli, followed in his father’s footsteps as the 116th overall pick out of the University of Connecticut.
The Twins drafted Mazzilli, 22, in the ninth round last year, but he decided to return to school for his senior season.

Lee Mazzilli - Wikipedia

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Henry Knight BHP - Seattle

Henry Knight is an ambidextrous pitcher from Seattle, Washington.

Baseball Beyond Borders 18U

Knight plays infield and switch pitcher for the Baseball Beyond Borders team base in south Seattle. The BBB 18U teams plays American Legion Baseball in the Puget Sound area.

Columbia City Reds

Over four years, Henry Knight was a starting shortstop and pitcher for the Columbia City Reds based at the K Center in south Seattle. The Reds 16U team plays at Rainier Field and competes in the Mickey Mantle division of the Puget Sound Baseball League.

Franklin Quakers (Class of 2015)

In 2012, Knight quickly became a starter on varsity as a freshman – switch pitching in 10 games. As a sophomore, he moved into the role as closer for the Franklin Quakers. He usually starts out the game at shortstop, then takes the mound in relief to get the outs.

In 2014, Henry Knight posted a 12:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

As a reliever, Knight throws a 2-seam & 4-seam fastball, change-up, curveball and cutter for strikes – from both sides!

Unlike other ambidextrous pitchers, his velocity is about the same throwing right- or left-handed. His strategy is to change speeds and locations, while pitching to contact – trusting his fielders to make the outs. Knight averages one strikeout and 12 pitches per inning.

Henry Knight - beRecruited Profile >>

Switch hitting in high school  >>

BHP = Both-Handed Pitcher