A different kind of platoon

When I came to the park today and saw Ryan Ludwick’s name in the lineup against Homer Bailey, in place of Juan Encarnacion, I thought, ‘nice move.’ Not because of any problem with Encarnacion, but because of the kinds of hitters the two guys are, and the kind of pitcher they were going against.

Lo and behold, Ludwick commits an act of great violence on a Bailey pitch, hitting it 473 feet. Anecdotal evidence indicated that Ludwick was a good matchup for a big power guy like Bailey. Ludwick can get around on anybody’s fastball, and when he does, he can hit it a mile.

Meanwhile, most of Encarnacion’s damage seems to come against guys who don’t throw hard. I already knew that was borne out by the hitters against whom Encarnacion has had success — .342 against Glavine, .350 against Moyer, .351 against Maddux, .385 vs. Livan Hernandez, etc. Meanwhile, guys like Hudson, Oswalt, Sheets and Penny shut him down.

So I went and looked at the splits. ESPN.com actually has a power/finesse split. And what do you know, Ludwick has CRUSHED power pitchers. .308/.372/.718 from 2004-2006. In 2003, the last season he played much in the bigs, it was .325/.385/.602. We’ll see what it looks like once the splits are calculated after today’s game.

We’re still not talking a ton of at-bats. But when the eyeball tests corresponds with even a small-sample-size stats test, it probably tells you something. When the Cardinals go against power pitchers, Ludwick should be in the lineup. Worry less about left-right, and more about what kind of pitcher is on the mound for the other guys.

-M.

16 Comments

Good entry.

Matthew,

You do show that a simple left/right approach is flawed. I don’t the stats, but would assume that left-handed batters struggle more against lefty pitchers, than righties against righties.

Question:

Which is easier to do? Speed up a bat to handled power pitchers? or teach a batter to cope with offspeed stuff? If you could keep just one, who would you pick, Juan or Ryan?

Note: I have been blogging about the Cards chances. I know there is an ebb and flow to a season, but we are about at the halfway point, and we can consider what may happen the rest of way:

If the Brewer win just 38 games the rest of the way, the Cards would have to go 49 and 35 to just tie them. Hmm.

Ludwick is just on a minor league deal right? Will he be a cardinal next year?

OK, how does this model fit with Ludwick getting the start tonight vs. Webb? He throws a real worm-killing sinker-curve combination, but I don’t really think of him as a power pitcher. Anyway, it worked, which is the important thing.

Well, the mgr probably doesn’t use all the same criteria I would. But mostly I suspect it was a reward for his game on Sunday.
-M.

M,

Your card’s notes section mentioned who might be called up to replace Spiezio, if he goes to the DL. Why not Rodriguez?

Rodriguez is hurt.
-M.

G’day Matthew, sorry to keep bugging you like this, but do you know of any trade rumors the Cardinals are currently involved in? Same question to everyone, who knows of any trade rumors?

I just want to point out that Wells and Reyes had exactly half our our teams losses as of yesterday. Now who said that the offense was our main problem??? And I’d like to toot my own horn a little. When M presented us with the contest to win the World Series DVDs, I thought Brad Thompson should have been in the rotation. And after he finally got a shot (only due to injuries), he is tied for the most wins on the team…in LESS starts than Looper or Wainwright. I’m not sure how many of those wins he has out of the pen, but those were probably when he came in to mop up for those guys.

He’s 4-2 as a starter and 2-1 as a reliever.

Oh wow, my question is probably going to go unaswered again. >.< And oh my gosh, did you see Kip Wells 2 earned runs his last 14.0 innings.

I noticed that John Rodriguez played in the Memphis game Wed night.

I personally don’t know of any trade rumors. I wish the Cards would try to package Reyes and Encarnacion.

Kip? Maybe the bullpen, but still, please not in the rotation. Who knows though?

Halfway through the season exactly, they were the last NL team to hit 91 games. Still need a dominant pitcher or two. Hopefully Carp will make progress. They also need at least one new proven bat. Still some wild cards among the young guys.

Hey most of the time, you can take my strategies, do something different, and be better off.

I am an extreme Cards fan living in Cincinnati. I saw Ryan’s two homers live Sunday and was very proud to be wearing my Cards jersey. Over the weekend here (and it continues on) rumors were swirling about Walt Jocketty & Tony LaRussa leaving STL and joining Castellini with the Reds. The radio guys here talk like there is some truth to the rumor. Have you heard anything about this?

Personally I think the Cardinals would be better without Walt Jocketty and his low spending budget or whatever you want to call it, but not without the Skipper Tony LaRussa, yes he has made some dumb moves, but then again every Skipper in baseball has done that, I miss the small ball the Cardinals used to play, I want to see more sacrafice bunts to bring in runs, and the dumb move on Tony’s part this year was to keep pitching Kip and Reyes as starters. And yes the Cardinals need one more good pitcher or two, hopefully the trade talk in order to get Buehrle are true, and I know there’s probably not a chance in this, but I’ve always wanted to see Dontrelle Willis pitch for the Cardinals, and maybe the Reds are still looking to trade Ken Griffey Jr and maybe he might change his mind and want to play for the Cardinals rather than what he said about playing for the Cubs, me personally I would love to see Miguel Cabrera in a Cardinals outfit, but that probably won’t happen until his contract with the Marlins is up and he’s a Free Agent, afterall didn’t he say something about wanting to play alongside Albert Pujols?

i get my splits, and all stats for that matter, from baseball reference.com. pujols’numbers against power pitchers are significantly lower (.290, .403, .556) than his career totals. however, i expect this is the case for the majority of players, ludwick i would imagine is an exception. so if there is one ***** in pujols’ armor maybe that is it. he makes up for it by murdering finesse pitchers (.353. .430, .561)

hmm schmit was the last name of my principal or maybe it was schmitt either way

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