As players move on to the next level of baseball, hitting and pitching handedness becomes a much larger part of the game. It not only impacts in-game strategy, but it also affects how a college coach recruits. As a left handed pitcher, you should be aware of the advantages of being a southpaw. You should also understand what it means for you during the college baseball recruiting process.
If you landed on this post and you are a prospective college baseball player, you should check out this helpful tool. It is a free resource that contains roster insights, coaching info, recruiting questionnaires, and upcoming camps/clinics for hundreds of four year baseball schools. Through this tool, players can also easily identify positional needs for a specific program. For instance, if a school only has a 4 left handed pitchers on the roster, and 2 of them are graduating in 2023, there is a good chance they are recruiting for additional left handed pitchers.
Advantage of Being a Lefty
At the collegiate level, almost every program will tailor their offensive lineups to the opposing pitcher’s handedness. By doing so, a coach will set his team up for a higher probability of success. The concept behind this is pretty simple.
It is easier for hitters to see a baseball that is thrown from the opposite hand of a pitcher. With a better view of the ball, hitters will make better swing decisions and square up more baseballs.
It’s also easier for players to track a ball that is moving towards them, as opposed to pitches that are moving away from them. For instance, instead of a breaking pitch that starts at the hitter’s body and drops in for a strike, a batter on the opposite side of the plate would be able to track that pitch all the way through the strike zone.
Due to pitch visibility and ball movement, righty hitters tend to have more success against left handed pitchers. Similarly, lefty hitters tend to have more success against right handed pitchers.
As we look at the numbers, lefties seem to struggle more when facing left handed pitchers. Due to the scarcity of lefty pitchers, especially in the lower levels of baseball, left handed hitters have fewer opportunities against quality left handed pitchers. As a result, we see worse splits for lefty vs lefty than righty vs righty.
Why Left Handed Pitchers are so valuable to College Baseball Programs
First and foremost, college baseball coaches are always looking for quality left handed pitchers. Quality lefties are hard to come by. Only about 10% of the population is left handed, so the pool of left handed pitchers is significantly smaller than that of right handed pitchers. Looking at the MLB, since 2010 only a quarter of all the pitchers have been lefties.
Left handed batters are a bit easier to come by. A lot of programs have several lefty hitters on their roster. Some parents force their kids to swing lefty because of how advantageous it is from an offensive standpoint. What’s the best way to shut down a lefty hitter?
Throw an effective left handed pitcher against them. As we mentioned before, it’ll be even more effective than a righty/righty matchup. It comes down to two things; scarcity of quality left handed pitchers and their effectiveness in certain situations.
If you are a good left handed pitcher with projectable physicality, you should have no trouble getting recruited, or even earning a scholarship. Having said this, being a left handed pitcher doesn’t give you an automatic pass to playing college baseball. If your stuff isn’t up to par, hitters will still have success against you, whether they’re righty or lefty.