ST. LOUIS – As the only switch-hitter on the active Cardinals roster, Tommy Edman will usually bat left-handed against right-handed pitchers and right-handed against left-handed pitchers.
On several occasions recently, including in Wednesday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Edman opted for a right-on-right battle, an unconventional route among switch hitters. He picked up one hit in three at-bats against Brewers ace Corbin Burnes.
Edman has also hit right-handed against right-handed pitchers when facing the Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners this season. He’s ended up 2-for-9 (.222 batting average) in such situations this season, according to Baseball Reference.
Though it’s been happening mostly unannounced and led to mixed results, the Cardinals have found some momentum in games Edman has gone right-on-right. Perhaps, it could be a trend going forward.
Generally, switch-hitters will swing in the opposite direction of what the pitcher throws. This happens to give their eyes the best viewpoint of the arm delivery when hitting, which can also help with cleaner contact on fastballs and offspeed pitches.
Why might a hitter like Edman sacrifice this advantage? For one, his splits hitting right-handed have been notably stronger than from the left side this season. His batting average is 83 digits higher against left-handed pitching, when he exclusively bats right-handed. His home runs are equal from both sides of the plate, and his run scoring and RBI production would pace better at the same number of at-bats he currently has left-handed.
Also, he has shown the ability to unleash some big-time power and hit balls deep into gaps while hitting right-handed.
Otherwise, Edman might go-right-on right against pitchers that generally have an advantage facing left-handed hitter more often than right-handed hitters. For instance, right-handed hitters have fared much better against Burnes this season (.263 AVG, 4 HR) than left-handed hitters (.172 AVG, 1 HR).
Similar metrics proved true when Edman hit against right-handed Tigers relief pitcher Mason Englert earlier this month. Though Edman didn’t end up with a hit in that at-bat, he reached base on a fielder’s choice and sustained a rally that led to a seven-run inning and a Cardinals comeback.
Viva El Birdos recently conducted an in-depth analysis on Edman batting right-handed and discovered the switch-hitting Edman has been tinkering with a right-on-right since 2021. Many examples determined that Edman would take the unusual approach against pitchers he either struggled with while hitting left-handed or ones who delivered breaking pitches more enticingly to right-handers.
Going right-on-right is not a topic that has been discussed all too much in pregame or postgame interviews, but Edman feels good about his overall hitting approach in recent weeks.
“It’s nice to be able to produce from both sides of the plate, especially being able to drive the ball to the gap” Edman told Bally Sports Midwest last month. “Hopefully we can see some more of that from both sides for the remainder of the year.”
Edman added he’s been working on body positioning and his load from the back side. The fifth-year Cardinals infielder knows it will be important to stay productive from the left side, picking up a walkoff hit last month and a four-hit game Monday while hitting left-handed.
“I’ve been working really hard, making some adjustments and felt good today,” said Edman after Monday’s win on Bally Sports Midwest. “Just continue to get better each and every day.”
Edman and the Cardinals host a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers starting Thursday. His first opposing pitcher, Julio Urias, could be a good candidate for a right-on-right battle based on metrics.