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Baseball questions from my dad

Whenever I watch a ballgame with my dad, he inundates me with questions. And not the kind of questions that can be answered with a quick search at No, they're usually questions that seem simple at first, but in actuality require a ton of research, or at least a passing familiarity with B-R's Play Index tool. Also, they're questions I think most fans likely don't know the answer to, but are probably curious about.

So here we go. First in a series?

What percentage of ballplayers are left-handed?

Left-handed pitchers accounted for about 28 percent of all plate appearances since 2010. Over the same period, left-handed batters accounted for 43 percent of all plate appearances.

Yeah, but how many of those guys were really right-handed? How many throw with their right hand?

I don't know. Why don't you use that iPad we got you last Christmas to figure it out?


Okay. Left-handed batters make up about 43 percent of all plate appearances. Of those, a third are true lefties (bat and throw left-handed) and two-thirds bat left-handed (or are switch-hitters) but throw with their right hand.

And how many people are left-handed in the general population? Something like one out of nine, right?

Yeah. Ten percent of women and 12 percent of men are left-handed, according to Wikipedia.

Love that Wikipedia. What's the batting average of lefties vs. lefties, and lefties vs. righties, etc.?

Last year, left-handed batters hit .232 off left-handed pitchers, with a .353 slugging pct. Wait, here's a chart:

LHB vs. LHP: .232/.353

LHB vs. RHP: .260/.416

RHB vs. RHP: .251/.396

RHB vs. LHP: .263/.426

And what were the league averages that year?

The league batting average was .255 last season, and the league slugging pct. was .405.

Is that low? It seems low.

It's kind of low. We're kind of in a Maunder Minimum for hitting. (He'll love this.) It's not as bad as it was in the '60s. It's sort of like the '70s, but with more strikeouts.

How often do batters strikeout now?

There are about 7.5 strikeouts per team, per game.

That's too many, right?

That's way too many. They gotta do something about that.

What can they do?

Bill James says they should make the bat handles thicker, for one.

Do you think they'll do that?

Not a chance. Not as long as old man Selig runs the show.

You really have it in for that guy, huh?


I have a lot more questions. Do young pitchers throw harder than old pitchers? How many Dominican players are there in the majors?

I'll have to get to those next time.

Okay, I'm going to eat some ice cream and fall asleep to the NFL channel.

I know.