Is Gabe Kapler Out of His League?


Last week Sternfan1 (He can be followed on Twitter @SternFan10) pointed out that Kapler has made a reputation as a lefty-masher out of epic performance in the Month of June over his career. Normally, I'd dismiss this is a funny coincidence, but PGP proposed that perhaps inter-league play was a factor. It seems worthwhile to look at Kapler's league splits over a larger sample to see if indeed he has an unusually wide league split over his career.

 

League

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

ISO

vs. AL

2606

0.258

0.321

0.406

0.148

vs. NL

708

0.303

0.358

0.471

0.168

 

One thought that popped into my mind is that maybe his National League managers used him more efficiently based upon when he had the platoon advantage. Pulling out his platoon usage career numbers based on the league he played in yielded the following:

NL Usage vs LHP

32.8%

AL Usage vs LHP

35.4%

 

We know Joe Maddon utilizes platoon splits, but it  held true that Kapler was used more efficiently over his entire career when he played for an American League team. What about Kapler's career inter-league numbers versus each league?

Interleague

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

vs AL

29

0.192

0.276

0.231

vs NL

260

0.294

0.371

0.447

 The tiny sample against the AL is largely useless. However we can see his inter-league numbers when representing the American League (vs. NL) are much more in line with his career performance during his stints in the National League.

Let's go back to SternFan's claim about June and expand the data to May and June, the period in which inter-league play occurs. What if we were to break out American League games and Inter-league play during the months of May and June over the past two season with the Rays:

 

May/June

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

IL

34

0.500

0.559

1.154

AL

110

0.173

0.218

0.214

 

Those are some pretty silly numbers. Kapler's month of fury was actually quite meek against American League teams.  It does indeed turn out that Kapler may be a lefty masher, with considerable more success if that lefty happens to pitch in the National League.  

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