Tourtellotte: Do batters learn to narrow their splits?

From SABR member Shane Tourtellotte at The Hardball Times on January 8, 2019:

Every position player in baseball is, in a sense, two distinct players on offense. He is the batter who faces right-handed pitchers and the one who faces left-handed pitchers. The difference between his performances in those situations—his platoon split—is usually significant and sometimes so stark that he is effectively unplayable in the adverse match-up.

Platoon splits complicate baseball strategy. Opening lineups are different depending on the handedness of the starting pitcher. Aggressive use of the bullpen, probably personified best by Tony LaRussa, can force opposing managers to burn players on an already short bench, leaving them without the resources to react to the next change on the mound.

How much easier strategizing would be if those platoon splits were narrow or nonexistent. How useful it would be for batters to learn how to narrow their splits, to become more consistent players who can’t be exploited as easily by a certain type of pitcher.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: January 9, 2019. Last Updated: January 9, 2019.