Friday, April 20, 2007

Corey Patterson Can't Hit Lefites....Or Can He?

I am not a fan of the straight platoon. The general wisdom is that if a player's batting average is considerably worse against lefthand pitching, then he must be platooned with a player who excels at hitting lefties. I especially don't like this logic when an inferior player is given more playing time at the expense of a more talented one. This scenario is the one that Corey Patterson finds himself in.

Corey raked against righties last year, hitting .301 with 13 of his 16 homers. Against lefties, he hit an abysmal .207.

Sit him against lefties? Maybe. Patterson has shown a distinct weakness against lefties and certainly shouldn't be out there facing the like of Johan Santana. But what about Jimmy Gobble? Does he eat Patterson's lunch too?

I decided to find out.

The line is arbitrary but I divided the pitchers into two groups: Tough lefties and Lousy lefties. The general dividing line was a 4.00 ERA posted in 2006. If you were under that mark for 2006, you were a Tough lefty. If not, you were Lousy. Exceptions to the rule were pitchers who may have had an off year but are established front line lefties. (Randy Johnson, for example, was in the Tough leftie group, regardless of his 5.00 ERA last year.)

So, now splitting the split:

Patterson vs. Tough lefties: .155
Patterson vs. Lousy lefties: .296

I didn't calculate slugging percentage but most of his extra base hits came against the lousy lefties, as you might expect.

So the recipe for Patterson should be this; when Tom Glavine, Scott Kazmir or B.J. Ryan is on the mound, Corey rides the pine and Jay Payton takes his hacks. But if Casey Fossum, Jarrod Washburn or some mediocre lefthanded reliever comes into the game, let Patterson swing away.

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