ATLANTA – The Atlanta Braves are about to begin another Major League Baseball season, and teams across the country will lean on the unique talents of left handed players.
Lefties are a valued commodity in baseball.
Left handed players come with built-in advantages.
Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, former Braves pitchers Warren Spahn and Tom Glavine were all lefties.
Jason Howell, pitching coach for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, is a leftie. He said because only 10% of the U.S. population is left handed, young players grow up seeing mostly right handed pitchers. When they have to hit against a leftie, it can throw them.
“It’s left handed from a steeper angle that’s farther outside,” said Howell. “It’s spin, it’s deception.
Left handed pitchers face first base which makes more difficult for a base runner to steal.
When it comes to hitting, the batter’s box for left handers is closer to first base. “I’m a solid two steps closer to first base, and my swing is going to take me that way,” said Howell.
A leftie’s position at the plate can mean the difference between a hit and an out.
“You’re at least a tenth of a second, two tenths of a second closer to first base,” said Howell. “It’s a game of inches.”