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« Joe Mauer's Power | Main | Sean Marshall's Yakker »

Kendrys Morales' Splits

Angels DH Kendrys Morales is making progress in his recovery from the euphoria-turned-tragedy that occurred at home plate on May 29, 2010, when he shattered his left leg in a walk-off celebration. Morales appeared in L.A.'s lineup for the first time in nearly two years last week, though Angels manager Mike Scioscia told Fox Sports' Tracy Ringolsby that the 28-year-old will need ample rest:

"He has to get his body acclimated," Scioscia said.

Scioscia is aware the switch-hitting Morales will need some days off during the regular season. Most likely, those days will come against left-handed pitchers.

"He will DH against virtully every righty,'' Scioscia. "It's not going to be a play a ton, but there are going to be times he needs a day off.''

Timing those off days so Morales takes a seat against lefties looks like a solid strategy. The switch-hitter has a career .295/.354/.537 line in 924 plate appearances against right-handed pitching, but a comparatively paltry .255/.285/.403 triple-slash in 316 PA versus left-handers.

Given the 70-plus point difference in on-base percentage, you might think that Morales is more of a hacker against lefties than righties. But that's not the case: his chase rate dating back to 2008 (the first year of Pitch F/X data) is 32% from both sides of the plate. Rather, lefty pitchers go right after Morales while righties tiptoe around the plate.

Here's righty pitchers' location versus Morales from 2008-10:

Right-handed pitchers' location vs. Morales, 2008-10Right-handers placed just under 40% of their pitches in the zone against Morales, compared to the 46% average for righty-lefty confrontations. Now, look at where lefties have thrown to Morales. They like to locate on the outside corner:

Left-handed pitchers' location vs. Morales, 2008-10

Lefties have put 49% of their offerings in the zone, which is the MLB average for lefty-righty tussles. And Morales hasn't done much of anything on lefty pitches on the outside corner:

Morales' in-play slugging percentage by location vs. left-handed pitchers

Given Morales' platoon splits, Scioscia is smart to keep Morales in the lineup against righties and give his ankle a rest against the CC Sabtahias and Jon Lesters of the AL.

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