Laurila: Chase Headley, Ken Singleton on same-side switch-hitting

From SABR member David Laurila at FanGraphs on February 8, 2017:

Ken Singleton is one of the most accomplished switch-hitters in history. Solid from both sides of the plate, the former Mets, Expos and Orioles outfielder slashed .282/.388/.436 from 1970 to 1984. Chase Headley isn’t of the same caliber as Singleton, but he’s a solid switch-hitter himself. Sporting fairly neutral platoon splits, the 32-year-old third baseman has slashed .263/.343/.401 in his nine-plus seasons with the Padres and the Yankees.

How they embrace their identities as a switch-hitter differ.

Singleton came to the plate 8,559 times and never once went right-on-right or left-on-left. Headley has 5,115 career plate appearances, and on 17 occasions he’s eschewed convention and gone same side against an opposing pitcher. He has three hits and three walks in those confrontations.

There are reasons for switch-hitters to make exceptions. Most commonly, it’s done against a knuckleball pitcher, with the hitter opting for his stronger side. Less frequently, it’s done to neutralize a quality changeup. More rare is a switch-hitter going same side because he’s crushing the ball from one batter’s box and swinging like a blind man from the other.

Last summer, I asked Headley and Singleton for their thoughts on these scenarios.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: February 8, 2017. Last Updated: February 8, 2017.