OK, this is just a weird data anomaly that I cannot explain, and I would like to enlist your help. The response to the replacement-level question was great (I’m still digging through it all), so I thought I would try again.
In my post on Hispanics in the Major Leagues, I noticed that the percentage of Hispanic left-handed pitchers was about half that of non-Hispanics. I could not think of any explanation, and still cannot. So I thought I would check out batters as well. Surely, Hispanics would bat left-handed at a rate comparable to non-Hispanics? Wrong. Take a look at the distribution of lefties for both types of players:
Position Hispanic Non-Hispanic
Pitchers 15% 26%
Batters 14% 31%
What’s going on? Interestingly, Hispanic players are much more likely to be switch-hitters than non-Hispanics. And the added switch-hitters narrows the gap between batters who can bat lefty, although there are still fewer Hispanics batting left-handed.
Bats Hispanic Non-Hispanic
Left 14% 31%
Switch 18% 7%
Left or Switch 32% 38%
Maybe non-Hispanic switch-hitters are more likely to give up batting from the right side than Hispanics? This was my first thought, but the fact that the shortage of lefties occurs among pitchers as well leads me to think its something on the Hispanic side. In fact, due to the shortage of left-handed Hispanic pitchers, there are greater returns to becoming a switch-hitter if you are playing in Latin America (assuming the left-right ratio is the same as in MLB).
To quote Leftorium owner Ned Flanders, “As the tree said to the lumberjack, ‘I’m stumped.’” This has to be the most-hyphenated blog post in history.