Lefties have an advantage in baseball, primarily on the mound and at the plate. The game isn’t “rigged” in favor of southpaws like some say, but left-handers have better chances of advancing to higher levels in baseball.
The favorable angles lefties allow them to throw the ball more quickly across the diamond to second, third and home. Just being different: “Because only 10 percent of the population is left-handed, kids grow up and mature in baseball seeing a left-hander just 10 percent of the time they bat,” he points out.
Definition. A “southpaw” is a left-handed pitcher.
Around 35% of all 2018 Major League Baseball (MLB) batters were left-handed, compared to 10% left-handers in the general population.
One sport, table tennis, which is possibly the fastest competitive sport of all, stood out—Loffing reports that 26 percent of the top male players are lefties. In general, he found that sports with short response times like baseball, table tennis and cricket were 2.6 times as likely to have top lefties.
A catcher and shortstop’s mobility is limited by being left-handed. While a right-handed thrower will naturally be in the position to get the ball where it needs to be, a left-handed thrower’s awkward range of motion and form adds precious milliseconds to a play in a game where every tiny thing counts.
The only positions lefty baseball players should play are pitcher, firstbase and outfield positions.
First base is the only position where having a left-handed player is preferred. The left-handed first baseman’s glove is on his right hand and that puts him closer to the fielders when a ball is thrown. It also gives him a better angle when it comes to stretching for the ball and picking up errant throws in the dirt.
It’s a lot easier to see the ball coming from a pitcher of the opposite hand – especially breaking pitches, which are easier to hit if they’re coming toward you rather than moving away from you.
Lefties are ideal for first base because with their glove on their right hand, it makes it easy for them to turn to the base with their glove facing the field. Right-handed first basemen have to take a few extra steps to turn their bodies, which is a disadvantage for them compared to lefties.
While right-handed throwers can be found at any of the nine positions on a baseball field, left-handers are, in practice, restricted to five of them. You won’t find a lefty at catcher, second base, shortstop or third base.
So a lefty gets to first base about 1/6th of a second faster, translating into more hits and a higher batting average. For lefty pitchers on the mound, they stand automatically facing a runner on first, making a pickoff far easier."
There are countless ways to move the ball and each pitcher has his own unique way. The increased movement of a left handed pitcher’s fastball is a product of their intent and focus to throw the ball down and away from right handed hitters, plain and simple!
In these sports—including baseball, cricket, and table tennis—the time between racket-ball contacts or ball release to bat-ball contact is about half of that in sports like squash, badminton, and tennis, the researchers report.
The study, published in the journal Biology Letters, suggests that being left-handed is a particular advantage in interactive sports where time pressures are particularly severe, such as table tennis and cricket – possibly because their moves are less familiar to their mostly right-handed opponents, who do not have …
Lefties make up only about 10 percent of the population, but studies find that individuals who are left-handed score higher when it comes to creativity, imagination, daydreaming and intuition. They’re also better at rhythm and visualization.
In addition, second basemen are usually right-handed; only four left-handed throwing players have ever played second base in Major League Baseball since 1950. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the second baseman is assigned the number 4.
The complete list of left-handed third basemen in MLB history: Anthony Rizzo, Mario Valdez, Don Mattingly, Terry Francona, Mike Squires (14 times), Charlie Grimm, and George Sisler.
Players who take a lot of heat, like catchers and infielders, often like to keep their index finger on the outside of the glove. It gives an extra layer of protection between the ball and their finger - which would sit inside the glove right at the spot where the ball most often makes contact.
The last left-handed catcher to play in the big leagues was Benny Distefano, who caught three games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1989. Before Distefano, there had only been a handful: Jack Clements, Dale Long and Mike Squires to name a few. Why so few lefties behind the dish?
Twenty years ago this Tuesday, Distefano, then a hanging-on major leaguer, served as a left-handed catcher in a major league baseball game. No one has done so since. Like Ladies Night and pitchers named Wilbur, left-handed catchers are effectively extinct — for reasons on which there is bizarrely little consensus.
Major league rosters reflect this preference for lefties today. Although just 10% of American men throw with their left hand, fully 28% of innings thrown by major league pitchers come from the left side.
Otherwise, lefties are perfectly capable of playing any of the outfield positions: at that distance, your throwing arm side doesn’t matter as much.