Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ranking the Best Switch-Hitters

Mantle is the gold standard for switch-hitters (SI)
Reviewing Lance Berkman's career got me thinking about the best switch-hitters in baseball history. Here's what I came up with:

1. Mickey Mantle 172 OPS+ 170 wRC+ .354 TAv .428 wOBA 802 Rbat
An obvious choice. Though the Mick was devastating from the left side, injuries hampered his southpaw swing later in his career and he would have been better off never having learned to switch-hit at all. He batted .330/.416/.575 from the right side compared to .281/.419/.546 from the left.

2. Chipper Jones 141 OPS+ 141 wRC+ .319 TAv .397 wOBA 557 Rbat
His favorite player was Mickey Mantle, which is interesting given that he was born four years after Mantle's final season. Jones is the only switch-hitter with a career .300 average and at least 400 home runs, something Mantle would have accomplished as well had he retired before 1968.

3. Eddie Murray 129 OPS+ 127 wRC+ .299 TAv .365 wOBA 389 Rbat
Steady Eddie leads all switch-hitters in RBI and ranks second in home runs to Mantle. He is one of only four players to eclipse 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, the others being Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Rafael Palmeiro.

4. Pete Rose 118 OPS+ 121 wRC+ .289 TAv .354 wOBA 368 Rbat
The Hit King.

5. Lance Berkman 144 OPS+ 144 wRC+ .318 TAv .400 wOBA 420 Rbat
His OPS was better than .900 in 10 of his 15 seasons and his .943 OPS ranks 26th all-time. He holds the National League record for most home runs (45--tied with Jones) and RBI (136) by a switch-hitter in a single season (2006).

6. Tim Raines 123 OPS+ 125 wRC+ .294 TAv .365 wOBA 290 Rbat
Even after removing all of Raines' steals from the equation (for they have nothing to do with hitting), his offensive resume is still an impressive one. The Rock batted .294 for his career and was the 1986 NL batting champion. He also led the league in OBP that year, one of 11 times he reached base more than 39 percent of the time.

7. Reggie Smith 137 OPS+ 137 wRC+ .306 TAv .379 wOBA 309 Rbat
One of the most underrated ballplayers in baseball history, Smith was a phenomenal talent who's numbers were depressed by the era in which he played as well as Dodger Stadium. His neutralized career batting line of .296/.377/.505 is quite good.

8. Mark Teixeira 130 OPS+ 131 wRC+ .298 TAv .381 wOBA 245 Rbat
Teixeira has been ridiculed so much during his time in New York that it's easy to forget just how great he was before joining the Yankees. He had eight straight seasons with at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI from 2004 through 2011 and set the major league record for most single-season RBI by a switch-hitter with 144 in 2005. His future is in doubt after wrist problems limited him to just 15 games last year, and it's possible that his power may never return. That would be a shame considering nobody has homered from both sides of the plate in the same game as often as Teixeira, who's done so 13 times to date.

9. Bernie Williams 125 OPS+ 126 wRC+ .292 TAv .373 wOBA 295 Rbat
Williams was a Yankees legend who played in 25 postseason series across 12 Octobers, during which time he compiled the most RBI in playoff history. He also ranks second in hits, doubles, home runs, total bases, and runs scored. Williams was no slouch during the regular season either, batting above .300 every year from 1995 through 2002 and winning the batting title in 1998 on his way to a .297 career average.

10. Carlos Beltran 122 OPS+ 122 wRC+ .296 TAv .365 wOBA 249 Rbat
The only switch-hitter with more than 300 home runs and stolen bases. He's also the best postseason hitter for all-time, for what it's worth.

11. Roberto Alomar 116 OPS+ 118 wRC+ .284 TAv .359 wOBA 240 Rbat
A career .300 hitter, Alomar had good power for a second baseman with over 500 doubles and 200 home runs.

12. Frankie Frisch 110 OPS+ 112 wRC+ .370 wOBA 158 Rbat
His .316 career batting average is still the highest ever for a switch-hitter, so it should come as no surprise that he and Chipper Jones are the only switch-hitters to bat above .300 from both sides of the plate (min. 5,000 plate appearances).

Honorable Mention: Ted Simmons, Jorge Posada, Chili Davis

No comments:

Post a Comment