Andrew Knapp and Isolating Switch Hitting

On the year catcher and 2013 second round pick, Andrew Knapp is hitting .292/.339/.396.  On the bad news, is that the line comes with 30 strikeouts in 106 ABs (26.1% K%) and a .403 BABIP that doesn’t look sustainable.  Last year in Lakewood it was a similar story with Knapp hitting .290/.354/.438 with a 22.6% K% and a .368 BABIP.  However lets explode this all out into 4 batting lines.

  1. .231/.231/.256 0 BB 12 K
  2. .328/.395/.478 7 BB 18 K
  3. .250/.317/.337 9 BB 14 K
  4. .309/.371/.487 18 BB 57 K

If your first instinct based on the title of the post and those lines is that these are L/R splits and that 1 and 3 are same side and 2 and 4 are the other side, you are absolutely correct.  To be more specific line 1 and 3 are batting right handed in 2015 and 2014 respectively, with 2 and 4 coming left handed.

So now what is the difference, so lets turn to the first tool we have, batted ball data.  So here is the past two years.

GBLDFBIFFB
R49.220.225.05.6
L48.727.721.02.7

We see a big spike in line drives, but remember that a ball that falls in for hit is more likely to be labeled a flyball than the same ball being caught.  But lets explore a world where he hits the ball harder from the left handed side.  Here is the distribution of extra base hits from both sides:

PullOpp
L1414
R63

Knapp definitely impacts the ball more from the left side and can impact it to fall fields, here are the spray charts from 2014 when we can see the big difference in how deep Knapp is able to drive the ball right handed vs left handed.

Here is Knapp batting right handed.

chart (18)

 

And here is Knapp batting left handed.

chart (19)

 

This gives a good look at the reasons for why Knapp’s numbers appear to be alarming in many respects as he struggles from one side of the plate.  Maybe at some point it will make sense for Knapp to not switch hit, but for now he is still in hi-A and as a catcher he will be developing slowly.  This is something to file away for later and a good reason to take a second look at his stats and where they are coming from.

Photo of Knapp by Baseball Betsy

 

Author: Matt Winkelman

Matt Winkelman
Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has appeared on Phuture Phillies, The Good Phight, and TheDynastyGuru.

1 comment

  1. Romus

    Is there enough of a sampling size as a right-handed batter?
    30% of his total PAs of 766.
    Even though many switchies are dominant right hand people, it is hard for them to get in a rhythm or groove from their right-side, since they rarely face lefties in consecutive games.