How Much Does Bat Speed Differ For Switch Hitters?


Image credit: Ketel Marte (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

One of the best compliments a switch hitter can be given is that it’s hard to decide which of their swings is the better one.

For others, one of the swings is clearly inferior to the other. Take Elly De La Cruz for example. From the left side, he’s one of the best hitters in baseball (.280/.380/.632). From the right side, he’s looking to get on base (.245/.362/.367).

How much does bat speed play a part in this?

To get an idea, using the newly publicly available bat speed data at Baseball Savant, we looked at all qualifiers who swing from both the left and right side.

The bat speed data is only for 2024, but we’re using their OPS from either side for players’ entire MLB careers. It’s early enough in the 2024 season that just a little batted ball luck could produce some odd splits, so we’re focusing on the much larger sample of a player’s production from the left and right side of the plate over their career.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a limitation we have to just accept for now, as bat speed data starts to be collected going forward multiple seasons of bat speed can be married to multiple seasons of splits data.

Here’s the list of 32 switch hitters who qualified, ordered from the player with the biggest bat speed difference from the right side all the way to the batter with the much faster swing from the left side.

PlayerLH Bat SpeedRH Bat SpeedBat Speed DIFLH Swing LengthRH Swing LengthSwing Length DIFLH OPSRH OPSOPS DIF
Marte, Ketel70.977.
Ramírez, José69.974.
Candelario, Jeimer67.470.
Rengifo, Luis68.871.
Hicks, Aaron67.5702.
Perkins, Blake69.
Santander, Anthony72.474.
Profar, Jurickson71732.
Castro, Willi69.771.
Heim, Jonah69.571.
Toglia, Michael73.
Vargas, Ildemaro68.369.
Reynolds, Bryan71.372.
Happ, Ian71.7731.
Lindor, Francisco71.672.
Bruján, Vidal66.567.
Cabrera, Oswaldo67.768.
Pérez, Wenceel70.370.
Santana, Carlos70.370.
Rocchio, Brayan69.
Albies, Ozzie69.469.
Bailey, Patrick71.471.1-
Rutschman, Adley69.568.7-
Polanco, Jorge69.968.8-
Taveras, Leody71.770.4-
Caratini, Victor72.770.7-
Bell, Josh71.869.8-
Toro, Abraham70.768.6-
Raleigh, Cal75.172.8-
De La Cruz, Elly7673.2-
Ruiz, Keibert66.463.5-
Grossman, Robbie6965.5-

There are eight switch hitters whose average bat speed is 2.0 or more mph higher from the right side than the left side.

There are 17 switch hitters whose average bat speed is within 2.0 mph when comparing their lefthanded swing to their righthanded swing.

And there are seven switch hitters whose average bat speed is 2.0 or more mph higher from the left side.

But when it comes to clearly discernable trends, it’s not easy to find any significant data. For the hitters who swing significantly harder from the right side, there are some whose platoon production differences seem similar, but others, like Jose Ramirez and Blake Perkins, who are more productive hitters from their slower-swinging side.

Among the hitters with the most similar bat speeds, there are hitters who have clear and distinct platoon differences. Ozzie Albies has identical average bat speeds, but he’s always been a vastly superior righthanded hitter.

The closest thing to a trend we can find here is when it comes to those who swing the bat faster as lefties. Those hitters with one exception are better hitters from the left side than as a righthanded hitter.

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