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« Willie Bloomquist's Wrigley Field Dinger | Main | Texas Rangers Offense through April 5th »
Tuesday
Apr052011

Furcal's Power

Over the last three-plus seasons, switch-hitter Rafael Furcal showed much more power against left-handed pitchers than right-handed pitchers, especially when it comes to home runs.  A lot of the difference comes on two pitches, the fastball and the change up:

 

2008-April 4, 2011Vs. LHPVs. RHP
Plate appearances 378 981
Home runs 12 11
Fastball home runs 6 7
Change-up home runs 3 0

 

Looking at hit charts, not only does Rafael hit home runs at a higer rate from the right side, he hits those home run farther.  On the surface, there doesn't seem an explanation for the difference.  Left-handers and right handers fastball and change ups are mirror images of each other.  Furcal likes to hit home runs on pitches in side, and pitchers work him away on both sides of the plate.

The big difference appears to be pitch velocity.  The right-handers Furcal sees throw harder than the left-handers he sees:

Rafael Furcal, RHP fastball velocity.Rafael Furcal, LHP fastball velocity.So Furcal sees ton of right-handed pitchers throwing heat.  He turns around and gets fastballs that are about 3 to five miles an hour slower, and he has that extra split second to square up the ball.  The same thing happens with the change:

Rafael Furcal, RHP change-up velocity.Rafael Furcal, LHP change-up velocity.Again, there's a big drop in velocity from righties to lefties, and and Furcal just has more time to get his swing right.

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Reader Comments (1)

Back when I played ball I loved it when a left hander was pitching. Sometimes I would get so happy I would strike out :)

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

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