Should the Cleveland Indians Exercise Ryan Raburn’s 2016 Option?

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Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Strictly a Platoon Bat?

Ryan Raburn has done one thing pretty consistently since coming into league: hit left-handed pitching.  Here’s a quick look at his career L/R splits:

A career OPS 125 points higher versus left-handed pitching and 36 point difference in wRC+ is pretty significant.  As his ISO shows almost all his power comes against southpaws as well.  One thing that I did find odd is that in his career he’s actually faced more right-handed pitchers than left-handed pitchers.  In fact, until last season Raburn almost always hit more versus right-handed pitching, which is strange given his rather large platoon advantage.  Here’s a quick look at his numbers versus left-handed pitching and right-handed pitching since 2009:

While he’s had some success mixed in versus right-handed pitching (particularly 2013), it’s plain to see where Raburn’s offensive value comes from.  He’s should be used as a platoon bat, playing only versus left-handed pitching, which is exactly how Terry Francona has been using him in 2015. While for his career Raburn has faced right-handed pitching more often than left-handed pitching, in 2015 Raburn has faced left-handed pitchers almost seven times as often as right-handed pitching.

One can clearly see that while he was actually better versus both left-handed and right-handed pitching in 2013, his overall hitting numbers look better since he faced lefties (whom he destroys) far more often.  It would appear Tito has found the magic formula for maximizing Raburn’s success, and given how the Indians as a team appear to be more left-handed dominate than right-handed on offense, having a guy like Raburn around can do wonders for an offense.

Next: So Why Wouldn't the Indians Keep Raburn?