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Archive for June 1st, 2011

(In addition to appearing at The Captain’s Blog, this post is also being syndicated at TheYankeeAnalysts.)

By roughing up Brett Anderson in last night’s 10-3 victory over the Athletics, the Yankees improved their record against lefthanders to 11-6, the fourth best mark in baseball. In addition, the Yankees exited the game with the two batters who have the most RBIs against southpaws: Curtis Granderson (19) and Robinson Cano (18).

Have mechanical adjustments turned Granderson into a lefthander’s worst nightmare (Photo: NY Post)?

No one should be surprised to see Cano among the games most effective hitters against left-handed pitching. Over his career, the Yankees’ lefty swinging second baseman has had considerable success facing hurlers who throw from the port side. Since 2007, Cano’s wOBA against lefties has been .370, including a rate of at least .349 in every season over that span.

Curtis Granderson, however, is another story. When the Yankees acquired him from the Tigers before the 2010 season, the biggest knock on Granderson was his inability to hit lefties. In fact, many suggested that the weakness would eventually render him a platoon player. After a difficult first few months in pinstripes, it looked as if that prediction would come true, but following a much heralded tutorial with hitting coach Kevin Long, Granderson completely changed his profile as a hitter.

Not only does Granderson lead the majors in RBIs off left-handed pitching, he is also tops with nine home runs and third in wOBA with an astounding rate of .505. What’s more, he hasn’t exactly been picking on the weaker members of the herd. Counted among Granderson’s long ball victims are Jon Lester, David Price and Anderson, three of the best lefties in the American League.

Major League Leaders Against Lefthanders, Ranked by wOBA

Name Team wOBA  PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Chris Iannetta Rockies 0.565 45 6 13 0.333 0.467 0.917
Jay Bruce Reds 0.545 47 5 16 0.381 0.435 0.857
Curtis Granderson Yankees 0.505 69 9 19 0.323 0.373 0.823
Howie Kendrick Angels 0.503 66 5 10 0.364 0.462 0.727
Jose Bautista Blue Jays 0.503 45 4 7 0.333 0.467 0.750
Mike Napoli Rangers 0.495 55 5 15 0.302 0.455 0.721
Hanley Ramirez Marlins 0.490 43 2 5 0.378 0.465 0.676
Alfonso Soriano Cubs 0.490 49 4 9 0.391 0.429 0.717
Michael Young Rangers 0.489 64 1 13 0.431 0.484 0.655
Jed Lowrie Red Sox 0.485 59 3 16 0.429 0.441 0.696

Source: fangraphs.com

Considering the Yankees have two lefthanders who have feasted on pitchers throwing from the same side, one might expect the team’s overall performance against southpaws to be off the charts. However, that’s not the case. Although the team’s wOBA of .365 against lefthanders is very impressive, it isn’t an extraordinary figure. In fact, the Yankees are not even close to the rate posted by the Cardinals, who lead the league with a wOBA of .388 against lefties.

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