A Look at the Stats for Randy Choate, the St. Louis Cardinals' Newest Relief Pitcher

Jeff Golden

Lefty reliever Randy Choate, the Cardinals' latest addition, should be used by manager Mike Matheny to face lefthanded batters frequently and against righthanded batters as rarely as possible.

Early in the Hot Stove, the Cardinals identified lefthanded relief as one of their offseason priorities. With the club's nucleus returning after a run to Game 7 of the NLCS, it is an understandable priority, especially since lefthanded relief was such a problem for the club throughout the 2012 season. J.C. Romero was signed in the offseason and given his unconditional release early in the year. Lefthanders Barrett Browning, Sam Freeman, and Brian Fuentes all threw innings out of the Cardinals bullpen before being removed from the 25-man roster. In the postseason, Marc Rzepcynszki was the Cardinals' only southpaw in the bullpen.

The Cardinals have forcefully committed to a two-lefty bullpen with the reported signing of Randy Choate.

Shortly after Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Cardinals had pulled out of the bidding for Sean Burnett, Jim Bowden and Jayson Stark of ESPN tweeted that the Cardinals and Choate had agreed on a deal. Goold then tweeted that an agreement was in place and that details would follow. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports has tweeted that the contract is three years in length. Jon Heyman of CBS has tweeted that the deal is for three years and a total value of $7.5 million and cites Sweeny Murti of WFAN as the source of this information. If true, the contract will cover Choate's age 37, 38, and 39 seasons.

If ever there was a Lefty One Out GuY, Randy Choate is it.

Since breaking into the big leagues in 2000, Choate has been very effective against lefthanded batters and not at all effective against righthanded batters. This makes him a prototypical LOOGY. The following charts show how Choate has fared against left- and right-handed batters throughout his thirteen-year career.

BATTING NUMBERS VS. CHAOTE (CAREER)

Split

PA

BABIP

ISO

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

tOPS+

wOBA

vs. LHB

755

.275

.084

.200

.275

.284

.563

68

.251

Total

1,344

.297

.098

.237

.334

.335

.667

100

.294

vs. RHB

589

.326

.121

.295

.419

.416

.806

141

.359

CHOATE'S STATISTICS (CAREER)

Split

G

IP

K/9

BB/9

HR/9

ERA

FIP

xFIP

vs. LHB

446

156.1

9.84

2.65

0.35

-

2.49

2.86

Total

476

244.0

8.08

4.09

0.48

4.09

3.60

3.83

vs. RHB

272

87.2

4.93

6.67

0.72

-

5.57

5.56


2012 was a typical season for Choate in that he performed much better against lefthanded batters than righthanders and was used much more often against lefties than righties. The following chart shows Choate's 2012 numbers with the Marlins and Dodgers.

BATTING NUMBERS VS. CHOATE (2012)

Split

PA

BABIP

ISO

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

sOPS+

wOBA

vs. LHB

116

.206

.064

.154

.243

.218

.461

44

.207

Total

168

.264

.049

.206

.313

.255

.569

61

.259

vs. RHB

52

.394

.033

.317

.471

.350

.821

126

.377


CHOATE'S STATISTICS (2012)

Split

G

IP

K/9

BB/9

HR/9

ERA

FIP

xFIP

vs. LHB

72

29.2

9.10

2.73

0.30

-

2.72

2.98

Total

80

38.2

8.84

4.19

0.23

3.03

3.25

3.64

vs. RHB

38

9.0

8.00

9.00

0.00

-

4.98

5.80

Choate has also been very effective at inducing groundballs throughout his career. His career groundball rate is 58.3 percent and has been below 57 percent in just two seasons. In each of the past four seasons, Choate has posted a groundball rate over 60 percent.

813_p_season_full_9_20121003_medium

via www.fangraphs.com

Coincidentally enough, after being traded from the Marlins to the Dodgers in the deal more famous for involving Hanley Ramirez, Choate made his Dodgers debut against our beloved Redbirds. Here's video from that appearance that shows the funky delivery that makes Choate so effective against lefthanded batters.

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