SP Handedness Breakdown by Division

If we do in fact get some sort of 50-ish game season, finding any small edge could be the difference between winning and losing your league. One potential edge is platoons. Let’s take a look at the starting pitching handedness breakdown on the assumed rotations for each division. This assumes they stick to this mega-division plan by combining the East, Central, and West division from both leagues.

We’re also going to grade the pitchers using the FIP from their BAT projection. My arbitrary scale is as such: sub-4.00 is good, 4.01-4.70 is solid, and 4.71+ is bad.

EAST

Righties: 34 (68%) | 8 Good, 8 Solid, 18 Bad

Lefties: 16 (32%) | 4 Good, 7 Solid, 5 Bad

This is a tough division for lefty-killing righties. There are only 16 slated to start, but a very nice 69% of them are solid or better by the FIP projections. We already knew Hanser Alberto was going to have a tough time hitting .305 again as it was largely influenced by his .398 AVG (and .435 BABIP) against lefties, but this makes it even more unlikely given the strength of lefties in his division. It’s actually worse for Alberto (and other right-handed Orioles) because two of the “Bad” lefties are on his own team so he’s actually looking at 79% solid or better lefties in the Beast division. I will say that I think John Means is better than his 5.15 FIP, but that doesn’t really change anything.

The platoon-happy Rays will enjoying picking on the flawed righties and lefties and while it could be a bit of a playing time nightmare to figure out for full season leagues, I think DFSers will find themselves targeting the Rays often, especially when they’re facing the 18 “Bad” righties (Austin Meadows, Brandon Lowe, Ji-Man Choi, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, and Kevin Kiermaier).

CENTRAL

Righties: 37 (74%) | 5 Good, 19 Solid, 13 Bad

Lefties: 13 (26%) | 0 Good, 5 Solid, 8 Bad

This is a really interesting divisional setup. It has the largest contingent of righties at 74% and while there are only 13 lefties, none of them fall under in the “Good” pool. I could see Matthew Boyd, Rich Hill, Jose Quintana, Daniel Norris, and maybe even veterans like Jon Lester and Dallas Keuchel finding their way to a sub-4.00 ERA, but none of them are “must-avoid” starters. Domingo Santana could really benefit in his new division as someone who’s always done his best work against lefties and joins a Cleveland team with all righties in the rotation.

The dearth of southpaws in the mega Central could favor a team like the Reds with guys like Jesse Winker, Mike Moustakas, Joey Votto, and Shogo Akiyama. Akiyama is new to the MLB, but the other three have done their best work against righties lately. Winker has a massive platoon split with a 137 wRC+ against righties the last three seasons compared to a 52 against lefties while Votto and Moose have excelled against righties at 141 and 113, respectively, but also not awful against lefties with 116 and 104 wRC+ totals against them.

WEST

Righties: 31 (62%) | 7 Good, 14 Solid, 10 Bad

Lefties: 19 (38%) | 4 Good, 10 Solid, 5 Bad

The most lefty-dominant division by volume also includes 74% of them rating as Solid or better. Plus, I think three of the “Bad” ones could substantially overperform their projection, namely Drew Smyly (4.75 FIP), Justus Sheffield (5.02), and Yusei Kikuchi (5.05), which would make things even tougher on the platooned right-handed hitters. That would include the likes of Carson Kelly, Nick Ahmed, Wil Myers, and Hunter Pence. They all have at least a 20-point platoon split in wRC+ favoring their work against lefties with Kelly and Ahmed leading the charge with insane 77- and 55-point splits.

Lefty hitters could have some issues out west with 68% of the righties rating as Solid or better, the highest of any division (47% in East, 65% in Central). Of course, they do still have Coors Field and the Rockies trotting out four righties (German Márquez and Jon Gray could overachieve, but that park always wins), but there are a ton of good righties in the mega west: Justin Verlander, Walker Buehler, Chris Paddack, Zack Greinke, Corey Kluber, Lance McCullers Jr., and Lance Lynn as well as fast risers like Frankie Montas, Luke Weaver, Zac Gallen, Jose Urquidy, and Josh James.

If we get a season (lol) and if it’s mega-divisions with a scheduling lean on divisional games, how might this breakdown affect your drafts?

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Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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viceroy
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viceroy

Stack central. Especially Twins and Reds