One of the recurring Dodger story lines of recent years is how Andre Ethier likes to use a chip on his shoulder to propel himself to success in his baseball career. These stories usually begin with pointing out that before he played at Arizona State, the coaching staff there asked him to play community college ball as a freshman first. Then, those article move on to his efforts to prove to Ned Colletti, Grady Little, et al., that he deserved a full-time job in a major-league outfield.
Well Andre, if you are looking for more chips to carry, look no further, because I am going to present here one area where you need to make some adjustments and improvements. (No, it's not defense; I'll leave that to someone else.)
I scanned the National League rosters for the featured, middle of the order type, left-hand batters on each team and compiled their career triple-slash stats, along with their wOBA for their performance against left-hand pitching. I also threw in his teammate James Loney as another point of comparison. (Some teams simply didn't have a good enough hitter for a comparison, e.g., Pittsburgh - Garrett Jones is like that only against LA - and some hitters didn't have long enough career for a valid comparison, e.g., Jason Heyward, Colby Rasmus.)
(If you are not familiar with wOBA, you can read about it here. Note that it scales to OBP - .335 is around league average overall - and it is not park-adjusted; Adrian Gonzalez is better than Brad Hawpe.)
Here's what I found:
|Batting vs. Left-hand Pitchers, Career|
Those numbers indicate that left-handed pitching is big neutralizer when it comes to the Dodgers number-three hitter in their batting order. (This also shows what a huge blunder Bud Black made by allowing Jon Garland to pitch to Ethier Tuesday night instead of bringing in LOOGY Joe Thatcher, who was already warmed up.)
C'mon Andre, get with it against LHP! Hire some lefty out of an indy league to throw you breaking balls all day long in practice. Do something! We simply can't have you turn into Juan Pierre* at the sight of a left-hand pitcher.
* worse really. Pierre's career vs. LHP: .299 / .350 / .343 / .692 / .313