Heath Bintliff: Let’s let Jake Fox sit against lefties

Hi, Buck.

I’m a big fan. Truly, I am.

But I have a bone to pick with you.

It’s about Jake Fox. I completely understand sacrificing defense for offense, especially when you are in a scoring drought like the Orioles were just slogging through before last night’s 11-0 win. (Although, do you have to put him if left with Chris Tillman is on the mound? That kid needs all the help he can get.) And Fox can help with that. But Fox can’t hit lefties. So stop letting him.

I know he’s a right-handed hitter. And everyone knows that right-handed hitters typically hit lefty pitching better than they hit right-handed pitching. But there are hitters with reverse splits in baseball. And Jake Fox is one of them.

Matt Holliday is an example of a right-handed hitter who hits righties better than he hits lefties. Ryan Ludwick, too. And Tim Salmon. Left-handed-hitting Ichiro hits lefty pitching slightly better. Roy Sievers, Ron Santo and Alex Rodriguez all had slightly negative splits against lefties. It’s rare but it happens.

Jake Fox’s splits for his major league career:

                           PA    AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS   BB   K   HR   
Fox vs. LHP     200   .211   .260   .314   .574   10  38    3
Fox vs. RHP    283   .249   .300   .506   .806   14  60   16

That’s nearly 500 plate appearances and a crazy reverse split. Granted, his minor league numbers don’t show that kind of split. But he’s not a regular player. He’s a bench guy. He likely won’t get any better against lefties at this point. Not this year.

Not to mention, the guy he replaced in the lineup, Luke Scott, has a career OPS of .780 against lefties. Even Felix Pie (career .538 OPS versus lefties) is not that much worse and brings superior defense to the equation.

Fox is 0-for-9 with a walk against lefties this year. He is 2-for-5 with a walk, a triple and a homer against righties.

I think Fox has his uses when deployed properly. But right now, that’s not being done.

C’mon Buck. Leave Fox on the bench when C.C. Sabathia comes to town this weekend.

Heath Bintliff blogs about the Orioles at Dempsey’s Army. His ruminations about the Birds appear this week as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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