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The Odd Bird - Bat Right, Throw Left

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  • The Odd Bird - Bat Right, Throw Left

    Been a Dodgers fan my entire life and have been fairly attuned to the NL West and try to watch as many games on TV as I can, something curious I've been noticing is a large number of bat right, throw left pitchers that seem to emerge. A larger percentage than I would imagine after experiencing playing HS baseball and coaching youth baseball.

    Off hand, I knew of Madison Bumgarner (SFG), Alex Wood (LAD), Caleb Ferguson (LAD), Hyun Jin Ryu (LAD), and Ty Blach (SFG). I've also seen the likes of Mike Hampton (CR), Steven Matz (NYM), Drew Pomeranz (formerly CR), Gio Gonzalez (WN), Randy Johnson (MON, SEA, HOU, ARZ) and Jose Quintana (CHC).

    Doing a bit more research into players this decade, specifically pitchers, reveals quite a few more: Travis Wood, Mike Minor, Andrew Chafin, Joe Paterson, Will Smith, Boone Logan, Hector Santiago, and Cory Luebke. There may be more, but I stopped my list there.

    Of the 140+ players in only my own youth organization, we have ONE kid that's a BR/TL kid and he actually hits decent lefty, but has more power RH so he sticks with that. Of the 800 players in our league, while I don't know all of them at every level, I don't recall seeing any other kids other than our one that is a BR/TL.

    Now with the proliferation of travel ball, private lessons from "hitting gurus", and earlier specialized training wouldn't you think that at some point a coach would have flipped these guys around and taken all of the advantages of being a LHB? Or did they become POs early on and just let it go? That being said, if you encountered these rare birds early on, do you try to force a flip or just let the kid keep doing what he's doing if he's seeing some success?

    As far as position players go, far fewer, the most famous being Rickey Henderson. But currently, I think there's just two Ryan Ludwick and Ryan LaMarre.

  • #2
    Brian Hunter was another. Some players are just "cross eye dominant". I thought pitchers just did it to avoid getting hit on their pitching arm.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by mattun View Post
      I thought pitchers just did it to avoid getting hit on their pitching arm.
      Would be the opposite though, they're actually exposing their pitching arm batting opposite.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by WailukuHeights View Post

        Would be the opposite though, they're actually exposing their pitching arm batting opposite.
        Oh crap, you're right. Maybe to avoid strains or something? I could have sworn I heard a broadcaster use the protect their arm reason.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mattun View Post

          Oh crap, you're right. Maybe to avoid strains or something? I could have sworn I heard a broadcaster use the protect their arm reason.
          Why you should never listen to baseball broadcasters for your baseball information...'cept for maybe completely obscure fact you can use at Trivia night at your local brewery or watering hole.

          Wailuku, while I unfortunately never made it to the MLB, but when I was a wee little lad my dad put a baseball (probably a wiffle ball) in my right hand to teach me to throw, and set me up in the RH batter's box to swing a bat. It was for a couple years like that I'm told, before I finally moved the ball to my naturally dominate lefthand, and started throwing lefty, but still swung the bat RHed since I'd become used to it, and it didn't seem out of the ordinary like the throwing thing.

          It wasn't until my 11 or 12 y/o season of playing ball did a coach figure out that I might actually hit better (some might say "at all") if I flopped over the the other batter's box, and swung it as a lefty. Probably took half a season or more, but I eventually found a pretty decent swing, and better vision from the LHed box. But as a result of my dad's impatience to get a baseball in my hand...I was fortunate enough to be able to switch hit into HS which certainly didn't hurt things in the coaches' eyes there either.

          Not saying that that's what happened to all of these L/R throwing/hitting pitchers, but it wouldn't surprise me if one or two of them didn't have something similar happen to them at a young age, and they just never bothered jumping over into the other box since they had hit so long as a righty that it didn't feel quite as odd compared throwing to say the least, and I'm sure only gets worse trying to make the hitting change the longer you wait to do it.

          Just a "WAG" as a possibility I guess is all I'm saying... =)
          Last edited by mudvnine; 09-11-2018, 12:37 PM.
          In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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          • #6
            I'm sure the greatest ever BR/TL position-player, Rickey Henderson was probably a youth pitcher too!
            I don't like my balls to smell like pickles.

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            • #7
              I read an OLD study from years ago that talked about handedness. There are a lot of different factors in handedness and side-dominance.

              From extended observation I am sure that the majority of the human race use the broom and shovel left handed and the ball bat right handed thus coming under type A In the above series the golf club and ax are on the dividing line and in the order named for the ax is more likely to follow the broom and the golf club will follow the bat unless as often happens when the preference is left handed there are no left handed clubs available On this account many golf players have had to develop an artificial right handedness in swinging the clubs More than any of the other bimanual operations the use of the ball bat seems to require the same elements of dextrality which enter into unimanual dextrality It should also be noted that there is a great variation in the strength of the natural bias Some individuals are in veterately left handed while others are easily converted Some children have so little preference as to appear practically ambisinistral The bimanual bias is seemingly independent of the unimanual and often is much stronger I myself have very little preference in unimanual operations but a very decided natural bias in bimanual acts It makes little difference which hand I use to throw or hammer but I must use a spade right handed

              https://books.google.com/books?id=Wa...edness&f=false

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              • #8
                What if you're not dominant with either hand?
                efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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                • #9
                  There are 4 LHP on my son's HS team, two of which are RHB.
                  Put your junk in your pocket!

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                  • #10
                    Could it be to avoid getting hit in the pitching hand on a bunt?

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