The simple answer is “yes.” And that is why many people believe Hideki Matsui will likely be called up this week. But like many things, it’s not that simple.

Here’s a look Matsui’s career splits…

That is about as even as it ever gets for a left-handed batter. And in fact, in 2011, Matsui was better against lefties (.795 OPS) than righties (.654).

But let’s break it down a little further and look at his year-by-year Weighted On Base Average (like OPS but better. On a similar scale as OBP)…

Matsui’s wOBA versus right-handed pitchers is very consistent as we would expect (wOBA tends to be a better indicator of how a player will perform in the future because it tends to be more consistent from year-to-year for most batters). But if we look at his year-by-year wOBA versus lefties, we see a different picture, with his wOBA fluctuating anywhere from a weak .283 (in 2006) and an incredible .412 (in 2005). That is a big swing for wOBA.

So which Matsui will we see with the Rays? We know Matsui can hit lefties. But there have also been entire seasons in which he was dominated by lefties. With both Evan Longoria and Desmond Jennings on the disabled list, the Rays are hoping Matsui’s stock versus lefties is up this season.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Mike Rollins says:

    I think the real question here is whether or not the MLB will allow Matsui to use a chopped down tree for a bat like the Gas House Gorillas in that Bugs Bunny cartoon. He'll hit lefties, alright.

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  2. Dave L says:

    Considering we face roughly twice as many starting RHP, you can never have two many lefties. How many times would we have liked to have a veteran bat like Matsui to go to late in the game in the last 3 weeks?

    Matsui's first start as a Ray will be paired with Luke's first start as a positional player in my opinion.

    Its time to move Srod up in the order in after Luke and drop Pena down to 5th and break up the 2 straight lefties. That isnt working out too well.

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