Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Who Needs Lefties, Part Two

In my last post, I looked at teams that used only two lefthanded pitchers in a season. In response to a comment on that post, I figured it would be worthwhile to look at teams that didn't use any lefties. If you go back to the early days of professional baseball, it would be easier to list teams that did use a lefty - the 1876 NL had no confirmed lefthanders (three clubs had pitchers of unknown handedness). Teams remained lefty-averse (or at least didn't employ memorably-handed hurlers) through the early 1890s.

Only four teams since 1900 have gone through an entire season without a single lefthander:
But does it really matter how many lefties you have if you never use them anyway? Here are the teams since 1954 with the fewest batters faced by lefthanders:
Note: the 1994 Los Angeles Dodgers (206 BF), 1994 Oakland Athletics (314 BF), 1981 Cincinnati Reds (344 BF), and 1994 Cleveland Indians (346 PA) played in strike-shortened seasons.

With six games left to play, the 2009 Cardinals duo of Trever Miller and Dennys Reyes has faced a combined 335 batters.

This year's Cardinals and a couple other teams above spoil my ending a bit, but it sure looks to me like the answer to "Who needs lefties?" is "winning teams."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Who Needs Lefties?

With just seventeen games to go this season, the St. Louis Cardinals have used only two lefthanded pitchers, Trever Miller and Dennys Reyes. Miller and Reyes are the only lefties on their current roster, so it is unlikely a third lefty will make an appearance for the club.

Since expansion in 1961, only nineteen other teams have made it through a season with only two lefthanders:
  • 1961 Baltimore Orioles: Steve Barber & Billy Hoeft
  • 1965 Boston Red Sox: Dennis Bennett & Arnold Earley
  • 1969 Los Angeles Dodgers: Jim Brewer & Claude Osteen
  • 1971 Montreal Expos: Dan McGinn & John O'Donoghue
  • 1974 Montreal Expos: Terry Enyart & Balor Moore
  • 1976 Oakland Athletics: Vida Blue & Paul Lindblad
  • 1977 Houston Astros: Floyd Bannister & Joe Sambito
  • 1981 Cincinnati Reds: Charlie Liebrandt & Joe Price
  • 1982 Chicago Cubs: Willie Hernandez & Ken Kravec
  • 1982 Toronto Blue Jays: Jerry Garvin & Dave Geisel
  • 1983 Cincinnati Reds: Joe Price & Bill Scherrer
  • 1983 Toronto Blue Jays: Stan Clarke & Dave Geisel
  • 1984 Chicago Cubs: Ron Meridith & Steve Trout
  • 1993 Los Angeles Dodgers: Omar Daal & Steve Wilson
  • 1996 Chicago Cubs: Larry Casian & Bob Patterson
  • 2004 Anaheim Angels: Dusty Bergman & Jarrod Washburn
  • 2006 LAnaheim Angels: J.C. Romero & Joe Saunders
  • 2007 LAnaheim Angels: Darren Oliver & Joe Saunders
  • 2008 LAnaheim Angels: Darren Oliver & Joe Saunders
With Brian Fuentes newly installed as closer, it took the Angels until the second game of the 2009 season to have three different lefties pitch.

The 1947 Philadelphia Athletics were the last team to use only one lefty. Lou Brissie started all of one game that year, allowing five runs in seven innings.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

SO > TB, Minimum 200 AB

This post details one of my personal favorite "teams." It's weird, comparing strikeouts to total bases, but whatever. I guess it springs out of the generalization that strikeouts are okay if you trade them for power. These players just couldn't break even.

The full list since 1901 can be found by following the above link. Andruw Jones and Tony Pena Jr. were new additions last season. The following players have a chance to join them in 2009:

Chris Davis, 128 K, 126 TB, 303 AB
Bill Hall, 95 K, 94 TB, 270 AB
Kelly Shoppach, 90 K, 91 TB, 235 AB
Koyie Hill, 67 K, 71 TB, 212 AB
Jeff Mathis, 64 K, 64 K, 198 AB

Jeff Mathis had as many strikeouts as total bases in 2008 as well. At least he's consistent.