Left bias’ WBC lineup, will there be any problems with international competitions?

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) announced the final list of 30 players for the World Baseball Classic (WBC) on the 4th.

This national team’s fielding team is packed with the best hitters regardless of type. However, in this tournament, following the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the proportion of left-handed hitters has increased. At the last Tokyo Olympics, 9 left-handed hitters and 5 right-handed hitters participated. In this tournament, 8 left-handed hitters and 6 right-handed hitters were selected besides Edmon, who is a switch hitter.

Compared to the 2017 WBC, it is a heavenly difference. At that time, the Korean national team consisted of 10 right-handed hitters and 5 left-handed hitters. With Lee Dae-ho at the center, right-handed hitters such as Kim Tae-gyun and Park Seok-min (NC Dinos) kept the center of the team, but now young left-handed hitters such as Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom Heroes) have increased.

As long as you hit it well, it doesn’t matter what you hit. However, left-handed batters are relatively weak against left-handed batters compared to right-handed hitters and right-handed pitchers. This is because, unlike right-handed hitters, right-handed pitchers have less to deal with left-handed pitchers, and even less to deal with top left-handed pitchers.

In fact, among the left-handed hitters of the national team, there are players who show left-right deviations. Na Seong-beom (KIA Tigers, OPS 0.933 against left-handed pitchers, OPS 0.902 against right-handed pitchers) produced even results. However, Kim Hyun-soo (LG, OPS 0.705 against left-handed pitchers, OPS 0.918 against right-handed pitchers) had a large deviation. Lee Jeong-hoo (OPS 0.915 against left-handed pitchers, OPS 1.043 against right-handed pitchers) had excellent performances against both left and right opponents, but was clearly less destructive against left-handed pitchers. It is also a variable that all of the main outfielders are left-handed except for Park Kun-woo (NC).

Although he has not yet obtained the consent of his club, Choi Ji-man (Pittsburgh Pirates) is more clear. Choi Ji-man is a hitter who has been platooning since moving to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018. He had a career OPS of 0.810 against right-handed pitchers, but was not as strong with an OPS of 0.589 against left-handed pitchers.

However, considering that the starting lineup of the opposing teams in the first round is mainly right-handed pitchers, it may work as an advantage. Japan is expected to make a starting lineup of five right-handers, including Shohei Otani (LA Angels), 바카라사이트 Yu Darvish (San Diego), Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Orix Buffaloes), and Rocky Sasaki (Chiba Lotte).

Australia, which must win to advance to the second round, is also expected to be centered on right-handed pitchers. Warwick Saupold, who played for the Hanwha Eagles, and Tim Atherton, an Australian Professional Baseball (ABL) veteran, are all right-handed pitchers.

Of course, against the Japanese starters, left and right deviations do not mean much. In fact, Ohtani had an OPS of 0.636 against left-handed batters last year, higher than that of right-handed batters (OPS 0.518), but was still overwhelming. On the contrary, Darvish was a little weaker against right-handers (OPS 0.646), but it is also a meaningless difference.

The same goes for Japanese professional baseball pitchers. Sasaki (OPS against left-handed batters 0.511, OPS against right-handed hitters 0.466) and Yamamoto (OPS against left-handed hitters 0.535, OPS against right-handed batters 0.488) both had deviations, but no weaknesses. It’s just fortunate that they’re not ‘top-notch left-handed pitchers’.

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