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The Reason Why Left Handed Pitchers Have More Movement & How It’s Far From Natural!

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  1. J Getsy

    December 29th, 2012 at 3:27 AM

    I just don’t agree that lefty’s have more movement. If anything I’d argue that being a southpaw alots them an extra season of two on the mound in organized ball. Hence all the old lefty’s hanging around getting the tag “crafty”. I’d also argue that lefty’s get more chances to become pitchers. Both of these factors actually dilute their talent pool.

    When I think in-out movement the first name that comes to mind is Joaquin Andujar. Remember how his stride favored the first base side? Arm-side movement as you described running in on righties. In 82 he benefited from a big park and a great D in STL, but he was tough. That was the first time I noticed the arm-side movement you described and started experimenting.

    The other name that comes to mind? Pedro.

    Great stuff, keep it coming.

  2. Lantz

    December 29th, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    Jeff,

    If you’re referring to pro ball, I would agree. However, at the lower levels, movement from lefty’s is more prevalent.

    No doubt, lefty’s get more chances. Absolutely!

    Also, guys like Andujar (great pull by the way) and Pedro are guys that could definitely move the ball. Throw in Maddux with that group as well. So much of that is their intent to move the ball, Maddux actually came into pro ball as a 93-95 mph guy and his intent changed over the years.

    Thanks for commenting! Good thoughts.

    Lantz

  3. Ken

    December 29th, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Lantz,

    Loved the article. I also took your advice with my son on experimenting with different ways to move the ball. I used minimal instruction and allowed him to determine his own cues and it was amazing, how much he figured out.

    Keep up the good work, by far the best baseball site on the planet!

    Ken

  4. Lantz

    December 29th, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    Ken,

    Thanks, glad it helped.

    Lantz

  5. Sam

    August 15th, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Interesting idea, and definitely the most reasonable theory I have heard so far, but I don’t know if I fully agree. It’s a strange phenomena, but it does tend to hold up: in general, righties throw harder, lefties get more movement. But my theory is that it has more to do with numbers. I’m sure we all agree left handed pitchers start valuable early since they will face so many more right handed batters. I’m also assuming we agree that at a certain level, it is easier to increase your ball movement than your pitch velocity. Since there are so many more right handed pitchers available, you are less likely to make the cut regardless of your movement if you aren’t throwing hard. A slower lefty on the other hand will be given a better shot, allowing time to develop his “dirt”. Of course there are exceptions to all of this but in general, to stand out as a righty, it helps if you throw hard. And I believe this is what has led to a trend of speedy right handers and dirty left handers. What do you think?

  6. Lantz

    August 15th, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Sam,

    Thanks for commenting, interesting ideas. I’m not sure if I would agree that mvment is easier to attain than velocity, I think it borders on the degree of movement or jump in velo. I would definitely agree that lefties get more opps, no question. I think you share many valid points and they are hard to disagree with. Numbers are obviously a crucial element to the theory.

    Thanks again,
    Lantz

  7. Marc Servizi

    February 18th, 2015 at 7:59 AM

    I have another thought on this. I’m 53, a lefty, still pitching, and my ball has always tailed. And so does the ball of most of the lefty’s that I play catch with, and many of them are not pitchers! The most my ball ever tailed was when I played softball, and I wasn’t pitching; and had virtually no coaching in the 70’s. So, I don’t think the concept is based upon pitching.

    I had an very interesting conversation with my Physical therapist. We talked about postural imbalance, which is a sub-set of Physical Therapy based upon the fact that our bodies are not exactly identical left to right; based somewhat on our internal organs being different left to right. He told me that our bodies tend to rotate better CW, (direction a righty would turn when winding up) than CCW. We have absolutely no proof, but we theorized that this could be a cause for lefty’s delivering a ball differently than righties.

  8. Lantz Wheeler

    February 19th, 2015 at 3:14 PM

    Marc

    Very interesting theory! Thanks for taking the time to share….that’s got me thinking.

    Lantz

  9. Joe Guyccione

    June 15th, 2015 at 1:07 AM

    Sir, have ever played the infield? Ever played 3b and take a long throw from a Left handed center or right fielder?

    Their ball tails to their arm side all day long Sir.

    Maybe because their wrist is cocked when they write they develop/strengthen different forearm and hand muscles?

  10. Kurtis Cullison

    September 19th, 2015 at 12:34 AM

    Thank you so much mark and joe. Geez I was about to blow a gasket reading some of this. Any real babseball player knows the tail to a lefty throw. Pitching has absolutely nothing to do with it, and it has nothing to do with their surplus of opportunities to focus down and away, which just boils down to reps (or what we call “PRACTICE “). Pitchers grow up their whole lives throwing to a glove and not batter. If right handed pitchers could develop that hard of a tail on their fastball, THEY WOULD. They would find plenty of opportunities work on that pitch bc it would be so useful. Even lefty kids that pitch when they are young, with only the intent to get the ball over the plate will already have that hard tail, even with no intentions of painting low and away. We would even get rare right handed pitchers that just happened to figure out how to do it by playing around with pressure n arm angles bc jamming a hard tailing fast ball in on a righties hands would b a valuable pitch, much like a cutter to lefties. If the hard tail has nothing to do with the pitchers handedness, but only his intent, it would b common practice for righties to develop it. Any real ball player has warmed up 1000’s of times n we all have thrown a baseball any and every way to get movement, but still all the unbelievable ball players this planet has seen, (far more righues than left) it just doesn’t work the same for righties as lefties. Sorry for the rant fellas

  11. Kurtis Cullison

    September 19th, 2015 at 12:51 AM

    The bottom line is that their is obviously some kind of external factor that influences that lefty natural slice, or it would not be so apparent and consistent, even from an early age, whether lefties are pitching, playing IF, OF, or warming up the outfielders

  12. Lantz Wheeler

    September 29th, 2015 at 6:16 PM

    Kurtis-

    External factor is absolutely right. That’s the entire premise of the article. And to answer one of your questions in the previous comment, the reason righties don’t develop ‘cut’ movement or arm side as often, is due to their external influencers aren’t the same… Its why THEY CAN’T.

  13. Pat Pinkman

    November 19th, 2015 at 4:08 PM

    Lantz,
    Very good stuff. I am a former LHP and now pitching coach. I have thought a lot as to what the reasons are for certain left handed tendencies. I feel like in a sport that covets left handers there is a decent gap at the lower levels in terms of velocity. Consider that only roughly 10% of the worldwide population is left handed and almost 30% of pitchers in MLB are lefty and 43% of plate appearances were made my lefties.

    I have posited that LHPs are typically lower in velo due to there positional environment. Most lefties, pitcher or not are typically stuck at 1B or OF in little league where at times the hardest throw they have to make is ground ball to the 3rd baseman. If they’re in the outfield they’re usually tossing pop-ups to one another, while the best right handed athletes are making a significantly higher number of higher effort to max effort throws. Once a 1st baseman is done “warming up” which could be suspect to begin with, they could go an entire game without making a strong throw while their RH counterparts are making several per inning to 100+ per week more. Any thoughts?

  14. Skyler Smith

    April 11th, 2019 at 6:58 PM

    I coach a lefty in minor-league baseball (6-8 yearolds) and I have a four-year-old son Who is a lefty, both kids have significant movement on their balll when no other kid I see does. I obviously have a lot of experience with older kids having movement but the fact that I see it in such young kids tells me that there something else to it. I don’t have the answer but To me it Has to be scientific or mechanical from the get go.

  15. lantzwheeler

    April 12th, 2019 at 2:09 PM

    Interesting. Thanks for commenting.

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