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  1. Dave:

    The higher GB rate by LHB is significant, likely explaining much if not all of the in-play BA differential, and possibly also giving a clue to the reason behind the large splits. Ground balls hit against FB pitchers tend to go for hits more often than do GB hit against GB pitchers (as do FB against GB pitchers, for that matter). Although I think more research is needed, I take that as an indicator of better, more consistently solid contact by LHB against Weaver – providing a potential explanation for the HR/FB rate as well.

    Comment by Mike Emeigh — February 9, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

  2. Certainly possible. This is something I think is worth exploring further.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — February 9, 2010 @ 12:20 pm

  3. That, and when LHB hit GB’s, they get a head start out of the box compared to RHB (their swing takes them to 1B anyways), hopefully turning in a higher BABIP. I haven’t timed it myself, but I know that there is a significant difference between the two.

    Comment by AK707 — February 9, 2010 @ 12:31 pm

  4. Great issue, we’re definitely only scratching the surface here in terms of what we know from this data. Would be really interesting to see further research into it.

    Comment by B — February 9, 2010 @ 12:50 pm

  5. Just a quick head’s up.. you have a link to his “slits” page, instead of his “splits” page. The link is good, just the text for it that’s got the typo.

    Comment by Nate — February 9, 2010 @ 12:51 pm

  6. I wonder if weaver also induces LH GB’s to the left side more? Forcing hitters to go the other way to put balls in play maybe?

    Comment by AK707 — February 9, 2010 @ 12:59 pm

  7. Felix has similar issues to Weaver’s. Higher HR rate and BABIP in his righty/lefty splits.

    Comment by drew — February 9, 2010 @ 1:22 pm

  8. Speaking of HR/FB being one of least predictive metrics out there…

    Check out the differences in Beckett’s 05 and 06 season (when he moved from the NL to AL).

    His HR/FB rate when pitching away from Fenway blew up from .92 to 2.27.

    Comment by drew — February 9, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

  9. How do you know? While I’ve heard this theory as well, I’ve also heard the theory that a normal swing by a player generally takes them *across* the plate, thus conferring an advantage to the right handed hitter. In order for a lefty to have an advantage you can see, he would have to look like Ichiro, who clearly is heading to first as he hits the ball. But regular lefties don’t have the same swing finish profile, so i don’t think this issue is settled.

    Comment by Travis L — February 9, 2010 @ 2:24 pm

  10. Could the quality of his defenders at certain positions during his career cause the much bigger real numbers? In other words, if he had a gold glover at third but an inept firstbasemen, then lefty and righty pull hitters where hitting into different situations and might see much bigger differences.

    Comment by PhD Brian — February 9, 2010 @ 3:00 pm

  11. Um, how does a pitcher give up 2.27 home runs per fly ball?

    Comment by BIP — February 9, 2010 @ 6:12 pm

  12. Weaver may be the worst possible example, seeing he’s the only pitcher in all of MLB that I’m willing (based on pitch/fx data) to argue has a true BABIP skill.

    He has an unusual motion in that the upper arm is very much three-quarters but the forearm is vertical, resulting in a large rise and a small armside run, similar to a pitcher that comes right over the top (e.g., Okajima), whereas everyone else with his upper arm angle has the opposite. I believe batters unconsciously read the expected pitch movement from the upper arm angle and thus tend to be get under the ball and get it towards the end of the bat (if RH). The result is a lot of easy FB, especially to RF — a really high rate given the low % of swings and misses. The big platoon split comes from simply throwing the FB less often to LHB (perhaps for no good reason).

    This hypothesis would lead you to expect that he’d have a larger-than-usual split by times around the batting order (as batters acclimated to the deception), and in fact he does.

    Comment by Eric M. Van — February 9, 2010 @ 7:09 pm

  13. I don’t think the evidence supports your theory.

    Weaver, BABIP vs RHBs, career:

    2006: .219
    2007: .316
    2008: .339
    2009: .242

    If there’s a repeatable skill there, I don’t see it. And, of course, I’m sure you won’t argue that he has a repeatable skill of BABIP prevention against LHB, considering the .307 career mark he’s amassed against them.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — February 9, 2010 @ 8:53 pm

  14. Just looking at the mechanics of the Weaver Brothers, you would think they are going to be more successful against RHB. The ability to go submarine to throw that slider against a RHB would suggest more success.

    Comment by Alireza — February 9, 2010 @ 11:58 pm

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