Comments on: Left-handers playing third base (and catcher, second, and shortstop) This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: FALCOR Thu, 28 Apr 2011 16:24:53 +0000 As a lefthanded pitching fielder, I can tell you about my experiences:

- At 9, started out as a SS since I had best glove / good arm
- At 14, moved to 1B (conventional manager) to save throwing error from other infielder
- At 16, moved to OF/C to help my teams put bad fielders/good hitters to 1B
- After my baseball "career", played softball, mostly in the infield because of my glove

It's not your typical fielding curve...

Here is my experience...

As a 3B

1- Charging the ball and throwing across the body IS impossible, you have to stop, set you feet (your back facing homeplate) and throw or you do a 360 spin the other way (catch, turn toward 3rd base line, SS, 2B) and throw while turning.

Note: It may look like it's the same as the righty 1B throwing to 3rd BUT, it's not. That 1B will not do a 360 spin and will only set his feet with his back to homeplate if he has the time. If not, he will simply get the easy out at 1st.

2- For the double play, you have to be the righthanded second baseman. He usually has two plays: either he turns his back to homeplate fast to set his feet and make a quick throw or he's flipping the ball to second base. At third, you can't flip it, it's too far. You need to set your feet like the second baseman do, losing time over an righty 3B who has his feet set when he catches the ball

Positive: You can play farther from the bag...

As a SS

1- Same troubles charging the ball
2- You can flip the ball on the double play since you're closer to the bag
3- You can't do a "Jeter" (going to your right, catching, jumping up and throwing), thus losing time to set your feet.

Positive: The pivot on the DP is easy if your 2B is throwing to outside of the diamond (close to the pitching left hand), but impossible if the throw is inside the diamond

As a 2B

1- Charging is impossible again, but you do have more time since your closer to 1B.
2- The pivot on double plays. You have to catch the ball from 3B/SS, touch the bag and spin 360. Really tough to be fast.

Positive, trowing to 2B on a DP or to 3B is easier.

As a Catcher

1- RH Batters while throwing to 3B on SB attempts are tougher.

Positive: It's easier for any bunts and throws to 1B.

Bottom line, since lots of plays are a question of milliseconds, each millisecond you save is important to make more plays. That's why I don't think lefties should play 2B-3B-SS.

Of course, there is almost no double play in softball (since it's only 60 feet between bases) so I can still play in the infield thank you 🙂

By: Jeff J. Thu, 28 Apr 2011 15:18:18 +0000 @45

You have the right to be wrong 😉

By: John Autin Wed, 27 Apr 2011 22:03:59 +0000 I remain convinced that a lefty could play anywhere on the infield ... as long he had an arm at least as good as Alcides Escobar's.

(If you watched ESPN highlights last night, you know what I mean ... strongest throw I've ever seen from a SS going hard to his right.)

By: Johnny Twisto Wed, 27 Apr 2011 18:41:12 +0000 I never could figure out why L'ers could never play 3b, 2b, ss.. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE???

Have you ever watched a baseball game?

A righthanded first baseman will often field a bunt and throw to third

Often? No.

Some right hander will do it better than you easily, and will thus have your position.

Exactly. Lefties can play any position in Little League because just being able to catch and throw is a plus. Obviously everyone can catch and throw in MLB. Some righty will always be more able than the best lefties.

Seem to remember reading as a kid a theory that a left-hander cannot throw a straight ball

I've heard that as well. It's obviously absurd. Now, it is possible that lefty throws tend to tail toward the SS-side of second, whereas righties would tail to the right side. Certainly any good thrower can adjust for that, but as noted above, a lefty with a great arm will be pushed to pitch.

Is it demonstrably harder for a righty-throwing catcher to throw out a runner at 2B when there's a lefty batter up?

Good question. I doubt it. Seems like it should have been studied but I've never seen it. My feeling is that a LH thrower *could* survive at catcher in MLB....I doubt the few extra RHB make a difference in throwing to second, and any slight disadvantage in throwing to third is balanced out by the advantage in throwing to first on bunts, etc. But who knows.

No matter how bad Belanger or anyone else was with the stick you would leave yourself a bench player short for later in the game. Who knows if you might need a pinch runner or defensive replacement later in a close game.

He had something like a 9-man pitching staff, and therefore multiple bench players to use. I think it's a more interesting game to plug in multiple PH, PR, defensive replacements, but obviously managers have decided a greater advantage can be gained by using more relievers instead.

By: Jeff J. Tue, 26 Apr 2011 16:55:39 +0000 If only we could ask Bill McClellan, he was expert at being a lefty non-1B infielder. I could make a pretty good left-handed-throwing infield ...
... at least offensively

C-Fred Tenney
2B-Roger Connor
3B-Willie Keeler or Roger Connor
SS-Jimmy Ryan or George Van Haltren

By: NJBaseball Tue, 26 Apr 2011 05:13:02 +0000 Yeah, Gehrig never took the field as the SS. He led off the game in Detroit, singled, and was replaced by the pinch-runner.

By: Jimbo Tue, 26 Apr 2011 03:00:41 +0000 @39

I guess I don't mean get on the field and make actual plays, just stand up and go through the imaginary motions of a play. On routine balls and balls that can be charged the difference wouldn't matter much, but on any tougher ball, the mechanics involved in getting the ball to first base are just plain tougher. How can a left-handed ss or 2b make a play going to his right? He has to completely reset his feet to make the throw.

By: Neil L. Tue, 26 Apr 2011 00:50:20 +0000 @3 @12 @22
I don't understand Weaver's strategy with the moves described here. It sounds like he was outsmarting himself by putting players in the line-up for an AB with no intention of ever having them take the field.

No matter how bad Belanger or anyone else was with the stick you would leave yourself a bench player short for later in the game. Who knows if you might need a pinch runner or defensive replacement later in a close game.

Also, then Belanger would be clogging up the top of your batting order for the rest of tha game as an unproductive offensive player.

Statistically, I doubt it could ever be proven today that such dubious managerial moves conferred an advantage.

Does the phrase Earl being Earl come to mind?

By: Morten Jonsson Mon, 25 Apr 2011 21:37:48 +0000 @36

If I tried your experiment and stuck a glove on my right hand, I would have a difficult time making routine plays. You're right about that. But of course I'm righthanded. Lefthanders are pretty used to wearing a glove that way, and I don't think it bothers them much.

By: andyr Mon, 25 Apr 2011 21:06:28 +0000 Seem to remember reading as a kid a theory that a left-hander cannot throw a straight ball, therefore making it harder to throw out a base-stealer. Don't know if it's ever been proven or tested- could be interesting...