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Nellster's avatar

Are left-handed pitchers really slower to home plate?

Asked by Nellster (20points) August 10th, 2007

Twice now I've heard sportscasters (Joe Morgan being one), say that left-handed pitchers are slower to home plate. It doesn't make sense to me because physically we should be built the same right or left side? Is this true or just baseball folklore?

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3 Answers

sferik's avatar

John Rickert has written an excellent analysis of this claim. He concludes:
* Left-handed pitchers are more difficult to steal on.
* Some base-stealers appear to have been able to steal as well or better against LHP than against RHP.
* LHP appear to take more time to pitch from the stretch than RHP.

rrsiers's avatar

Wow Sferik. John Rickert's site is incredible. Left Handed Pitchers are typically slower to the plate since they can come to a full balance point and still either pick to first or throw to home plate. RHP need to slide or glide step to the plate. The goal for the RHP is to deliver a pitch to the plate with a runner on base in 1.3 seconds or less (from initial movement to glove of the catcher). A typical catcher with a pop time of 2.0 will be able to throw out runners with a pitcher who is 1.3 or less. The LHP can be as slow as they want as long as they have a great move. Many runners will "sit" on a LHP and wait until he goes (front hip slide) to the plate. Other runners will attempt to just guess and go on first movement. Nonetheless, LHP are typically slower to the plate with runners on first (some LHP will slide or glide step to the plate with runner on 2b). Joe Morgan is correct.

baseballnut's avatar

I just saw Randy Johnson start for the Dbacks – he’s 44, coming off a rehab stint and consistently threw at 94+ MPH! John Rickert might not agree but I think it depends more on the pitcher than the dominant arm

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