Boston C Jason Varitek went 0-for-3 to drop to 3-for-26 batting left-handed. He is 3-for-4 from the right side.
That four at-bat sample is hideously small, for sure, but it reinvigorated thoughts that we’ve had over our lifetime of watching baseball: at what point is switch-hitting no longer advisable? How little (or big) a differential in batting average, OBP, slugging, justifies hitting from both sides of the plate? From 2004-2006 Jason Varitek has hit .302 as a righty (in 388 at-bats) and .263 as a lefty (in 910 at-bats). His OBP has been .355 and .384, respectively, with slugging percentages of .438 and .515. Clearly he’s better as righty hitting against lefties. What would Tek do as a righty hitting against righties? Has age impacted his ability to hit from his weaker side? Has any player made the switch from a switch back to not a switch, particularly this late in a career? For that matter, is 35 too late for any player to do this, to learn how to hit pitchers from an unfamiliar side?