It has been reported that the Dodgers are in discussions with Billy Hall to become the Dodgers everyday LF. At first blush this seemed like a crazy idea to me, so I hit the books to see if this was as crazy as it sounded. Bill Hall had a monster 2006 season as a Brewer infielder, which had followed a very good 2005 season. At only 27 years old entering the 2007 season he appeared to be one of the better young power hitters in the game. The Brewers moved him to CF, and his career went South as fast as Russell Martins had. By 2009 he was a bit player only able to gather 139 plate appearances for the offensively strapped Seattle Mariners. His career looked done.
Luck however plays a huge role in everyone's career, and for Bill Hall he luckily ended up a Red Sox. Not because of Fenway Park but because for a point of time in 2010 the whole Red Sox Outfield was hurt so Bill Hall got plenty of playing time, and like Juan Uribe in 2009, rebuilt his skills to the point he is trying to became a full time player again. His home/road splits suggest his resurgence was not just a Fenway Park mirage. However his LH/RH splits threw me for a loop as I totally expected him to have mashed LHP, and struggle against RHP which would have been the basis for my argument against making him a full time left fielder. I was wrong.
Eric noted the other day the bizarre splits of Carlos Quentin against RHP / LHP. As I looked at other names that we would like the Dodgers to kick the tires on I found that Quentin does not stand alone in 2010, both Ryan Ludwick and Bill Hall also had strange splits against RHP.
Normally, or at least what I thought was normal is that right handed hitters pummel LHP, and try to hold their own against RHP, but all of these guys hit RHP much better then LHP. So while we might be thinking of a platoon for Bill Hall, maybe Ned is correct in looking at him as a full time LF. Or at least against RHP anyway.
Check this out:
|Name||Overall OPS||OPS RHP/AB||OPS LHP/AB|
When I heard we might be looking at Bill Hall as the everyday Left Fielder I said why? However now I'm even more confused? Did LHP get so much better in the 2010 that right handed hitters are now at the mercy of the Lee's, Kershaws, Hamels, Thorntons, Kuo's? Quick and dirty the answer is no, in 2010 26 Left handed pitchers who pitched at least 50 innings had an ERA+ over 120, in 2009 it was 35.
Just Small Sample Size for 2010? Maybe, but this has whetted my curiosity. Might delve more into this but with the contract talks for Billy Hall intensifying I just thought this was interesting. For his career he still has hit LHP at a much higher clip then RHP so I'm inclined to think this was a fluke, if the Dodgers are going to make him our LF, they better hope it was not.
On the optimistic side, if Bill Hall can retain the gains he made against RHP, while getting back the skills he once owned against LHP, they just might have a legitimate left fielder. At least one who is better then Podboy. Hall was once one of may favorite players while smacking home runs for the Brewers, the odds are long that he can ever be that player again, but after watching what Jose Baustista has done, I no longer discount anything, and I mean anything.
Oh, one other thing. Bill Hall struck out 104 times in 382 plate appearances, with 50 of those strike outs coming against LHP in only 163 plate appearances.