Huge Disparity Among MLB Teams Against Lefties
by Robert Ferringo - 07/17/2007
Did you know that the origins of the word "southpaw" are unknown? True story. Apparently it first showed up in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1848 as a reference to someone throwing a punch with his or her left hand. From there it just became part of the slang lexicon.
However, the word became part of the baseball nomenclature somewhere in the 20th Century for a rather random reason (or so it is believed). See, apparently most baseball fields are built to face East so that batters won't have the sun in their eyes during afternoon or early evening games. As a result, left-handed hurlers face South before they pitch. Hence, lefties were referred to as southpaws.
You learn something new everyday.
But that's now why I'm writing this, and that's not why you need to bookmark this page, send me your sister's phone number and letters of praise and/or name your first-born child after me. Nope, you should do all of that because I'm going to let you in on the best system in baseball handicapping and one of the keys to my success when it comes to approaching the Boys of the Summer.
Sometimes handicapping can be a grueling endeavor. It's essentially a quantitative analysis of statistical indicators, risk management and predictive theory. No problem, right? But sometimes we can make it more complicated than it actually needs to be. Often, by using a simple formula you can put yourself in a fantastic position to turn a profit. Here is that formula:
Team A (Crushes Left-Handed Pitching) faces Team B (Starting A Left-Handed Pitcher) = Victory for Team A.
Yup, it can be that simple. If a team that hits left-handed pitching very well is facing a team with a left-handed starter then, well, you can figure it out from there. Case in point: by simply betting on Detroit, the Dodgers, Seattle and Toronto and betting against the Royals, Yankees, White Sox and Philadelphia every single time those teams faced a left-handed starter this season you would be 142-71 (66.7 percent) on the year and would have turned an amazing profit. That's it. You can hit two of every three plays by blind betting. Now, if you toss in just a few simple filters on those plays you could easily get that percentage up between 70-75 percent. Those are Maui numbers (as in, you'll be kicking it in Maui hammering champagne and blowing coke off a stripper's ass sooner rather than later).
Below I've been kind enough to lay out which are the best and worst teams in the league against left-handed pitching. I'm not just talking about who has the most wins and losses this season according to the rankings. I've also tossed in some strong situational trends and some other statistical indicators that will make your plays on or against these teams against left-handed pitchers that much sharper.
You're welcome. This info is worth a lot of money and I urge you to use it wisely. (Of course, by spilling the beans I'm sure I've jinxed all of these teams.) And next time you come across a left-handed person give them a hug and thank them for the fact that their ancestors withstood the persecution:
The Best Against The Lefts - Here are the clubs that absolutely dominate southpaws.
Toronto (17-10) - Now that Troy Glaus is back and healthy the Jays go back to being an auto-play against a southpaw starter. They are 6-2 since June 15 against southpaws, 28-9 overall recently and 23-6 at home. Aut-O-Matic.
Detroit (19-7) - The Tigers are just about an automatic play against the lefties. They've won three in a row and dominate any southie not named "Johan Santana." They are the No. 1 team in the league in batting against lefties at an incredible .302.
Los Angeles Dodgers (18-8) - They have the second-most wins and the second-best win percentage against lefties. A lot of it has to do with the effectiveness of Jeff Kent and Nomar. Oh, and having James Loney hitting nearly .400 against them helps.
Seattle (18-7) - These guys are an automatic play against southpaws. They're 18-5 overall and 10-1 at home against lefties. They're batting .290 against them and show no signs of slowing.
Milwaukee (19-13) - The Brew Crew have been pounding left-handers all season and have the most wins in MLB against them. They've won 10 of their last 15 against lefties, but we'll see how that number holds while Bill Hall is still on the shelf.
Cleveland (18-12) - The Indians started very slowly against left-handed pitching but have been devastating as of late. They've won eight of nine at home against southpaws and are 16-5 against them overall.
San Diego (17-11) - The odd part is that the Dads don't hit lefties well at all (.261). But they just win, baby. They're 21-9 in their last 30 home games against a left-handed starter.
Florida (14-16) - They are the only sub-.500 team in the top tier, but they are No. 9 in the league in batting against lefties (.280) and are 11-5 in their last 16 against the southies. They're generally a strong dog, so look for value on the Fish.
Getting Whacked By The Weirdoes - These are the teams that perform the worst against those zany left-handers.
Kansas City (9-18) - Kansas City is 14-41 in its last 55 road games against a lefty and 26-72 in its last 98 overall against them. Oh yeah, and they're 14-38 at home against southpaws. Not good.
New York Yankees (9-15) - Honestly, there aren't many situations where the Yankees aren't one of the worst teams in the league this year. A 2-6 slide against southpaws since mid-June lands them among the worst here.
Houston (11-15) - The Astros hit left-handers well enough (.277) but they just don't beat them. They are on a 2-8 skid against southpaws.
Chicago White Sox (10-18) - The White Sox are hitting just .238 against lefties this year. That would be the worst in the league, but the D-Backs are an even more pathetic .228 against. But somehow Arizona is 12-12 against left-handed starters so they're off the list (sorta). The White Sox are 10-31 against lefties on the road. Ugh.
San Francisco (12-13) - There overall numbers aren't too putrid, but the Giants are a mere 8-19 on the road against left-handed starters. I guess that's what happens when Randy Winn, any Molina, and Ray Durham are your best right-handed bats.
Philadelphia (11-19) - Clearly if you can neutralize Ryan Howard you have a chance to neutralize the Phils. They have the second-most losses in the league (Atlanta is 19-24) against lefties, dropping nine of their last 13 overall and five of their last six on the road against them.
Rangers (11-16) - The Rangers are but 12-24 against lefties lately. That's all I got for you.
Colorado (11-14) - Colorado is tied for No. 9 in the league against left-handed pitchers (.280) and haven't been an auto play against one. Except on the road. Over the past several years the Rockies are 17-38 against southpaws, and that's after a 4-0 run recently.
Questions or comments for Robert? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out his Insider Page here.