With the 3-Batter minimum targeting left handed specialist the hardest it is safe to say this is the end of the line for them. What is the Lefty Specialist you ask? Lets dive in.
The lefty specialist is a relief pitcher who throws left-handed and specializes in pitching to left-handed batters, weak right-handed batters, and switch-hitters who bat poorly right-handed. Otherwise known as a LOOGY (Left-handed One Out Guy) are called on for one job get that lefty out.
One man in particular who excels against left handed hitting is Adam Kolarek.
The Adam Kolarek
Adam Kolarek is as LOOGY as it gets. just take a look at his career splits between lefty’s and righty’s.
As you can see he dominates left handed batting vs right handed batting. just look at those splits. He’s held lefties to a .199 Avg and a .243 OBP comparing that to the .299 Avg and the .368 OBP against righties. the stat that stands out to me however is the the SO/W ratio. Going against lefties he would strike out nearly nine batters before walking one. righties however, it was one strike out before he would walk someone.
Manfred and his precious 3-Batter Minimum
Even with how integral the lefty specialist is to a team Manfred has other plans. Since he was voted in by the owners to become MLB Commissioner his main goal has been pace of play. So far he’s only shaved mere minutes off the game but has changed the game far more than he should. With mound visit limits and one foot in the box to “Save Time”. The most hilarious part about this is that games in 2019 went longer than ones in 2014. Never the less Rob and his infinite wisdom has came up with the savior of the game. the 3-Batter Minimum.
with this ruling pitchers like Adam Kolarek have to re adjust their entire game plan as they watch their job security suddenly disappear. Even with the doom and gloom that this rule brings there is a bright spot within the realm of Baseball. that is the Ambidextrous Pitcher.
the Ambidextrous Pitcher Combating the 3-batter Minimum
imagine in the middle of the game the manager comes to the mound and instead of using one arm he uses both to call for the reliever out of the pen but doesn’t indicate for a lefty or righty just points over there. Out comes the pitcher who throws lefty to lefty hitters then pulls the switch-a-roo and shows the righty hitter he’s just as deadly from the other side.
Out comes Pat Venditte from the bullpen. June 5th, 2015 he made his debut and along with him came the Venditte Rule.
The Venditte Rule
The ruling states ” A pitcher must indicate visually to the umpire-in-chief, the batter and any runners the hand with which he intends to pitch, which may be done by wearing his glove on the other hand while touching the pitcher’s plate.”
My favorite part of not only the ruling but the position its self is the durability. According to the ruling Venditte is able to pitch thru an injury to another arm. How you may ask? well by just using the other arm exclusively the rest of the game.
Final Thoughts: The Future of the Position
While I may not agree with Manfred’s 3-Batter minimum it does however have the possibility to embrace the weird that is Major League Baseball. Baseballs quirkiness is what should give it an edge among the other sports. I Believe that Pat was just the beginning. Many top draft picks of recent drafts have experience as Ambidextrous Pitchers.
Players such as Anthony Seigler (C) a minor leaguer with the Yankees and Carter Kieboom (SS) with the Nationals. Both now play different positions but previously pitched Ambidextrous thru High School, Perfect game and also some minor league games. Showing that Youth Baseball is already developing players to embrace the new Specialist.
with development before it was needed its only a matter of time before Ambidextrous pitching becomes the new Lefty Specialist. I for one am excited for this new breed of elite pitchers.