Hear me out. I love switch hitters. I always wished I could. Some of my favorite players have been switch hitters: Chipper Jones and Carlos Beltran to name a couple. Many hitters, once they start switch hitting, they have a hard time giving it up. While rare, it has happened. Shane Victorino gave up switch hitting, albeit due to injury, and was still a productive player. Tucker Barnhart, while never lit the world on fire with his bat, gave up switch hitting. Most recently, Baltimore Orioles star Cedric Mullins gave up switch hitting prior to the 2021 season, which many believe led to his breakout season.
So why do I think Dylan Carlson should give up switch hitting? Lets dive into his splits.
I tweeted out through my blog account his splits. To be clear, those splits show as a lefty vs RHP and as a righty vs LHP. His splits show he is an entirely different hitter from the right side. One may argue that it's because he saw nearly 2.5 times as many as at bats as a lefty than he did a righty. My argument would be that if he's hitting that well from the right side, why not stick with it.
Many have projected Carlson to become a star. He has flashed that potential, but I think in order for him to reach that star level, the Cardinals need to work with him to become a full-time right handed hitter. This may be a tough pill to swallow for Carlson and the team. The lineup is already heavily right handed, with Lars Nootbaar and Brendan Donovan as the lineup's current full-time left handed hitters. Preventing Carlson from hitting left handed, would leave Tommy Edman as the only other lefty, but only when right handed pitchers are on the mound.
So what would I suggest the Cardinals do? It probably wouldn't be wise to have Carlson give up switch hitting cold turkey. As Mullins did, he should transition to hitting only right handed. It would likely take some growing pains, but I think it would be well worth it for Carlson to give up switch hitting. Maybe try to evenly split between both hands in 2023, hit more righty than lefty in 2024, then hit right handed full time in 2025.
What do you think? Should he give it up or just tough it out and try to improve his splits? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!