First thing is just a coincidence. During 2012, the Phillies got a total of 6,172 plate appearances. Of those, 4,330 came against right-handed pitching and 1,842 came against left-handed pitching. So that’s 70.2% against right-handed pitching and 29.8% against left-handed pitching.
Over the last two seasons, Delmon Young has gotten 1,111 plate appearances. Of those, 780 (70.2%) have come against righties and 331 (29.8%) have come against lefties.
So the percentage of plate appearances that Young has gotten against lefties and righties over the last two years is very similar to the percentage of plate appearances the Phillies overall have gotten against lefties and righties. It’s weird they’re exactly the same, but given that Young played regularly against both lefties and righties it’s not that odd they’re similar.
In 2013, we should expect that the Phillies will get about 690 plate appearances in left and the same number in right. If they are divided left-right the same way all plate appearances were for all Phillie hitters in 2012, we should expect about 484 plate appearances for left fielders against righties and about 206 plate appearances against lefties. And the same number for right fielders.
Forgetting whether Young plays left or right, based on what he’s done over the last two seasons, here’s what we should expect Young to do if he got all 690 plate appearances at one of those plate appearances, 70.2% came against right-handed pitching, 29.2% came against left-handed pitching and he produced offense at the rates he has over the last two years:
Again, the percentage of plate appearances against right and left-handed pitching there are the same as his actual percentages over the last two years. So the results are the same and his 267/299/403 line matches his actual 267/299/403 line for the last two years.
Young has been better against left-handed pitching than right over the last years. So if you give him a higher percentage of plate appearances against left-handed pitchers and fewer against right, while continuing to use his rates of offense over the past two seasons, the numbers look better. Here, for example, is how things look if he gets 75% of the 206 plate appearances against lefties and 30% of the 484 against righties:
Average up, on-base percentage up, slugging up. Isolated power up despite the increase in average, at .144 compared to .136 for the top table.
With all the charts in this post, there are some rounding issues. For example, six walks against righties plus six walks against lefties doesn’t equal 11 walks (just like four homers vs righties and five homers vs lefties doesn’t get you to eight homers overall). It’s actually 5.76 walks against righties (rounds to six) plus 5.62 walks against lefties (rounds to six). 5.76 plus 5.62 = 11.38.
More importantly, though, it’s not a lot of walks. After walking in 4.6% of his plate appearances in both 2010 and 2011, Young’s walk rate in 2012 dropped to 3.3%. That’s really not good. Young hit .308 against left-handed pitching last year and slugged .500, but he walked just four times in 189 plate appearances against lefties. That’s on his good, much better, side. In 2011, his walk rate against lefties was 5.63% — it dropped to 2.12% last year.
I think the other thing the table above illustrates is that his home run rate against lefties is not that much better than his home run rate against righties over the last two years. Since the start of 2011, Young has homered in 3.02% of his plate appearances against lefties and about 2.56% of his plate appearances against righties. In 2011, his home run rate was better against right-handed pitching than left. He hit nine home runs in 361 plate appearances (2.49%) against righties and three in 142 plate appearances (2.11%) against lefties.
Here’s what his numbers would look like in the not-gonna-happen situation where he got the same number of plate appearances against lefties and righties based on his numbers over the last two seasons:
Again, that can’t happen, because even if Young gets every plate appearance he can against lefties, he’s not going to get close to 350.
I think it does show that his walk rate against righties over the last two years has been better than his walk rate against lefties. And that his walk rate is very low. And that his rate of delivering doubles and home runs against lefties is slightly better than it is against righties. Most importantly, of course, he got way more hits against lefties than he did against righties.
None of this matters if the Phillies are committed to playing him every day, regardless of the opposing pitcher. I think they are. So let’s hope his results, especially against righties, improve significantly in 2013.
Amaro suggests in this article that the Phillies are good enough to contend for the division. The same article suggests that the Phillies are pursuing catching depth and possibly relief pitching.