Why getting enough left-handed batting is so important in October

Brian Cashman must be damned. For years, it was New York Yankees The General Manager was on a mission to find balance in his squad, and just when he thought he had finally captured it, he disappeared.

The Yankees have been through rough times, in part due to injuries and inconsistent production by left-handed hitters. New York has been forced back to relying on the oath to bear the burden at a time when everyone on the list appears to be left unnamed Aaron Judge blinked.

“Take a look at their numbers since then Matt Carpenter Leaving the squad, one scout said, ‘Yes, Carpenter is dead. If he or Anthony Rizzo or even Andrew Benintende They were Ayman, we are not going to have this discussion. These players are key to the Yankees because they are left-wingers.”

The phrase “You can never get enough of your left hand” is often heard in MLB front desks, but the concept extends to the hitter’s chest as well. Each July, CEOs play musical chairs with the limited number of lefties that became available and bands that they realized they needed to add, often with one thing in mind: October.

“These players have a lot of value, especially in the playoffs when you are up against so many elite right-handers,” said one of the executives. “You can get into post-season with different types of formations, but boy, some left-handed hitters are needed once you’re there.”

Recent history agrees: last year two participants in the world championships, and Atlanta Braves And the Houston Astros, ranked #1 and #2 respectively, among all the 2021 OPS qualifier teams of left-wing hitters. From the right side of the board, they are only 6th and 7th out of 10 teams.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a unique focus on left-handed batting as far as making sure we have balance throughout the squad,” Astros GM James Click said via an email. “Whether it’s in terms of using the hand or other skills like speed, strength, and hitting in reverse.”

It’s easy to say, of course, when your team uses left-handed mashers, like Jordan Alvarez And the Kyle Tucker. On the other hand, the Cashman swordsman was born right-handed – which meant that the Yankees had to acquire left-handedness.

“The Yankees are a team that clearly saw their weakness in the humiliation and stood up to it,” said a former executive. “Some teams are more aggressive than others. It’s very difficult to beat them when you are very poised in one aspect or the other. I think the Yankees… saw that and knew they had to fix it to have a great attack.”

They traded left riso, Joey GalloCarpenter and more recently Benintende trying to fill the void. And for a while this season, it seemed like they had finally found that balance needed in the squad.

But since Carpenter fell with a wrist injury on August 8, the Yankees have finished second to last in the OPS against a right-hand throw. Rizzo had dropped (.691 OPS, 7 BB, 23 K’s) before recently landing on the hit list and is now out with a back problem. Benintendi (.326 OBP) also slowed before suffering a wrist injury that would likely end his season.

Rizzo and Benintende were not the only leftists who struggled. In Carpenter’s absence, left-handed Yankees hitters hit 0.198 compared to 0.212 prior to August 8, while the right-handed hit 0.221 in the time since Carpenter’s injury.

Even if New York managed to postpone Tampa Bay Rays As for the AL East title, their lack of left-back line-up depth could come back to haunt them in the post-season. One executive pointed out that he’d rather be weak against a left-handed hitter than a right-handed, simply because there are fewer left-handed bowlers and it’s a lot easier to find a serious right-handed hitter, even just to fill a portion of a platoon.

“Leftists are a commodity,” said the head of the speculators. “It’s that simple. Take a look at last October.”

The Yankees aren’t the only team with a lack of left-handed batting—a problem that has plagued other franchises over the years.

2021 Chicago White Sox It’s a cautionary tale from that postseason about what can happen when an October team enters without this key ingredient. They won their division by 13 games, but then a first-round streak revealed them against the Astros. Right-handed White Sox hitters hit 0.25 right-shooters in the chain – although all hits were singles. Meanwhile, their left-handed hit .196 with only 0.67 OPS in four games. Houston won the series pretty easily because Chicago’s left-handers weren’t good enough.

The Chicago discrepancy has extended to this season as the White Sox have only 24 left-handed hitters at home, ranking them 29th in the majors. The only team worse is Toronto Blue Jayswho own only 15 times their land than leftists.

The two teams double on their right to lead them into October after failing to strike a deal with one of the many lefties who have already changed teams on the trade deadline.

“I’m not sure how Toronto expects to win the world championships this year with this kind of production,” said one of the NL scouts who monitored them. “You should be. So Good in other areas of your game to beat that.”

If they reach the postseason, the decision to trade Wait Merryfield Rather than finding a left-handed racket means the Blue Jays may be at a disadvantage against teams that have prioritized line-up balance at the deadline.

Significantly, rather than making a kicking move for a mid-ranking racket like many expected under new owner Steve Cohen, the Mets opted to strike by adding hitters early in this trading season: Daniel Fogelbach and left-handed Tyler Naken. Meanwhile, the Braves made an under-the-radar deal to hit the left hand Robbie GrossmanRice added a left-handed veteran David Peralta. And then, of course, there’s Padres, who completely remade their lineup by adding John Soto And the Josh Bell In the biggest summer movie.

New York also made hitting left-handers a priority by acquiring Carpenter and Benintende – a talent the team had hoped would help them run deep in the post-season. However, after being plagued with injuries, October was suddenly up in the air. Will the Yankees be able to navigate the post-season without consistent production on either side of the board, or will other right-handed postseason competitors end up going home because of it? We’re about to find out.

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