Levine: Year of the right-handed hitter

From SABR member Zachary Levine at Baseball Prospectus on November 27, 2012:

It was right around when my MVP ballot got six names deep on the path to a most difficult 10 that I realized what was missing. Where on this list of the National League’s best were my people?

Didn’t you put Ryan Braun second? He’s one of your people.

No he isn’t. Well, yes, he is one of my people, but I’m not talking about that kind of people. I’m talking about left-handed people. Where were all the lefties among the league’s best hitters?

It wasn’t just the National League, where the Most Valuable Player conversation centered around four names—the right-handed-hitting Buster Posey (my choice), Braun, Andrew McCutchen and Yadier Molina. The much louder debate in the American League could be framed as conventional vs. more descriptive statistics, acceptance vs. ignorance of defense, or simply a guy vs. another guy: Miguel Cabrera vs. Mike Trout. Any of those ways, it was righty vs. righty with fellow righty Adrian Beltre finishing third.

If 2011 was the second coming of the Year of the Pitcher—and it sort of was given this year’s small hitting rebound—then 2012 could be classified in the moment as the year of the right-handed hitter.

But is this part of a growing trend toward that batter’s box or more of an isolated season at the top end of the talent spectrum?

To dismiss this right away, the game—at least the batting portion of the game—is not getting more right-handed. If anything, it’s gotten more left-handed in recent decades.

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=18995

Originally published: November 28, 2012. Last Updated: November 28, 2012.