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Switch-hitting in 2022: A modern revival or baseball's dying art?


Jordan ShustermanFOX Sports MLB
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SOURCE: http://www.foxsports.com/stories/mlb/switch-hitting-in-2022-a-modern-revival-or-baseballs-dying-art
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Summary

In the Negro Leagues, legendary speedster Cool Papa Bell and iconic catcher Biz Mackey were switch-hitting stars in their own right.By the late 1940s, the number of established switch-hitters in baseball had dwindled considerably. His .762 OPS isn't quite as gaudy as last year's .878, but when you realize it’s good for a 125 OPS+ (comfortably above league average), you realize his start hasn’t been all that disappointing after all.Mullins’ ambitious decision — and subsequent breakout — got me thinking: Could we start to see other switch-hitters in today’s game ditch their weaker side in hopes of greater overall success?There’s no shortage of switch-hitters with markedly extreme splits who could hypothetically benefit from this move. Only a handful of switch-hitters have ever given up swinging both ways in the middle of their careers, and none of them saw immediate positive results to the degree Mullins did.Still, I’m curious to see if Mullins’ gambit inspires other players to give it a shot — and if we start to see fewer switch-hitters as a result.On the other hand, the incredible debut of Rays rookie Franco last season suggests that we might be entering a new golden age of switch-hitting. What's more, two of the top players in this year’s international signing class — Washington Nationals outfielder Cristian Vaquero ($4.9 million signing bonus) and Yankees shortstop Roderick Arias ($4 million signing bonus) — are switch-hitters, with Vaquero becoming a switch-hitter only recently, after primarily working out for teams using his left-handed swing. It includes another switch-hitting shortstop in Felnin Celesten, who is expected to sign with the Mariners.On the domestic side, the 2022 MLB Draft is also littered with switch-hitters. (Interestingly, Arizona catcher Daniel Susac, who is also in the elite tier of college bats, arrived on campus as a switch-hitter but has recently focused on hitting right-handed.

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