Moehringer: The split-stat Hall of Famers

From SABR member Paul Moehringer at The Hardball Times on October 23, 2018:

Often when we look at a player’s season numbers, it is hard to see an underlying story. Without taking a closer look, it’s difficult to tell if a .300 hitter with an .800 OPS over 120 games was playing through an injury-plagued season, or if he was a platoon player.

Despite the trend to pitchers occupying an increasing number of 25-man roster spots, the platoon player is still very much alive in modern baseball. Frank Catalanotto, Jonny Gomes, Ryan Raburn, Seth Smith, and Luis Valbuena are a few contemporary examples of hitters who have made a career out of hitting right-handed or left-handed pitching. But these are secondary players. They aren’t the franchise building blocks who will be the focus of this article.

Just as with the role players above, it can be difficult to see what makes a full-time player truly special. For some, like Ted Simmons, it made almost no difference whether a righty or a lefty was on the mound. However, as we are about to see, for some players, it could drastically alter the kind of hitter they were.

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Originally published: October 26, 2018. Last Updated: October 26, 2018.