There are a lot of baseball pitching abbreviations, but it does not mean you have to learn all of them at the same time. You can understand them one by one, and this may be the perfect time to learn about ‘What does RHP mean in baseball?”
The RHP’s meaning in baseball is straightforward. It simply stands for Right-Handed Pitcher. More specifically, the term describes a thrower who hurls or delivers the ball using his or her right hand and arm exclusively.
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RHP Position in Baseball
Generally, nine baseball positions are commonly used in the field. However, there are more stats and baseball position abbreviations like RHP to help analysts, players, and fans like us understand the game better and compare players.
As mentioned, the term RHP is used to describe a player who primarily executes right-hand throws.
A right-hand throw means a player keeps their gloves on their left hand while pitching or delivering a ball using their right.
Stats of RHP
If you’re interested in how many right-handed pitchers there are, they are very common in baseball. Actually, you’ll see most MLB pitchers are right-handed. To be more specific, almost 75% of MLB players since 2010 have used their rights as their dominant hand.
Factors Affecting RHP Performance
Generally, there are a lot of factors that affect a pitcher’s performance, especially his velocity. These include his strength, mobility, and the numbers of balls he has thrown. Muscular fatigue can also make a pitcher perform weaker in a game.
However, there are specific elements that influence a right-hand pitcher’s performance. These are:
1. More Predictable Throws
Since there are a lot more RHPs than LHPs in the field, batters are more used to facing right-handed pitchers, making their throws more predictable.
This allows batters who face right-hand pitchers to have more advantage, as they can better anticipate the pitches coming at them and make more solid contact with the ball.
2. Less Spatial and Dimension Awareness
In baseball, spatial awareness is an important factor for pitchers and other positions. This determines how well the pitchers can be aware of their proximity to the catcher and the batter.
Scientifically, the right side of the brain has more spatial awareness than the left. The same goes for dimension gathering.
Right-handed pitchers use the left side of their brain when at play. Because of this, they have less advantage in trying to deliver more accurate and strategic throws.
Best Right-Handed Pitchers in MLB History
With the majority of right-handed pitchers in baseball’s history, there are few that stand out as the best in the game. In this section, we’ll name the top ten best right-handed pitchers of all time.
|Rank||Player Name||Team||Key Facts|
|10||Pedro Martinez||Los Angeles Dodgers (1992-1993)
Montreal Expos (1994-1997)
Boston Red Sox (1998-2004)
New York Mets (2005-2008)
Philadelphia Phillies (2009)
|NL Pitcher of the Month for August 1997|
|9||Nolan Ryan||New York Mets (1966-1971)
California Angels (1972-1979)
Houston Astros (1980-1988)
Texas Rangers (1989-1993)
|Three-time NL Player of the Week|
|8||Cy Young||Cleveland Spiders (1890-1898)
St. Louis Cardinals (1899)
Boston Americans/Red Sox (1901-1908)
Cleveland Naps (1909-1911)
Boston Rustlers (1911)
|American League Hall of Famer in 1937|
|7||Grover Cleveland Alexander||Philadelphia Phillies (1911-1917, 1930)
Chicago Cubs (1918-1926)
St. Louis Cardinals (1926-1929)
|National League Hall of Famer in 1938|
|6||Roger Clemens||Boston Red Sox (1984-1996)
Toronto Blue Jays (1997-1998)
New York Yankees (1999-2003, 2007)
Houston Astros (2004-2006)
|Achieved 230 strikeouts in 1989|
|5||Bob Gibson||St. Louis Cardinals (1959-1975)||Four-time National League Player of the Month|
|4||Tom Seaver||New York Mets (1967-1977, 1983)
Cincinnati Reds (1977-1982)
Chicago White Sox (1984-1986)
Boston Red Sox (1986)
|Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year in 1969|
|3||Christy Mathewson||New York Giants (1900-1916)||Hall of Famer for New York Giants in 1936|
|2||Greg Maddux||Chicago Cubs (1986-1992, 2004-2006)
Atlanta Braves (1993-2003)
Los Angeles Dodgers (2006, 2008)
San Diego Padres (2007-2008)
|Four-time MLB Players Choice NL Outstanding Pitcher|
|1||Walter Johnson||Washington Senators (1907-1927)||Received the The American League Award in 1924|
Left-Handed Pitcher vs Right-Handed: What’s the Difference?
In terms of the LHP baseball position, or the pitchers who use their left hand in throwing, there has been an unending debate as to whether right-hand pitchers are weaker than them.
When talking about RHP baseball meaning, it’s easier to understand everything about RHP once we compare them against LHP. Aside from their throwing hand, what’s the difference between LHP and RHP?
1. Left-Handed Pitcher (LHP)
There’s something common between Randy Johnson, Warren Spahn, and Lefty Grove. All these three superstar baseball legends are LHP, meaning they throw the ball using their left hand.
- Lefties are rare in MLB, and it’s apparent that they’re so in demand.
This is because of what we call “platoon splits” or “platoon advantage”. Simply put, hitters who are matched up with pitchers who use an opposite dominant hand have more advantage.
Their scarcity may be the most important factor that answers why left-handed pitchers are more valuable than right-handed pitchers.
Because the low number of LHP players in MLB still makes it challenging even for left and right-handed-hitters to get familiar with their throws.
For example, when a left-handed hitter throws a curveball, it’s difficult for a hitter to foresee where the ball will end up. As it may break away from the hitter’s swing or move inside and drop at the last moment, it becomes a challenging pitch for the batter to hit.
- Right-handed batters indeed have more advantages over left-handed pitchers.
It’s also worth noting that, in the same way, left-handed hitters do well against right-handed pitchers. Because right handed-pitchers are more common in MLB, there is an increase in demand for left-handed hitters.
But why is this an advantage for LHP players?
To counter the platoon advantage that left-handed hitters have against the more common right-handed pitchers in MLB, teams often seek out and stock up on left-handed pitchers.
So, to summarize.
- They do better against left-handed batters.
- Throws from left-handed pitchers are unpredictable.
- Their throws are easier for right-handed hitters to see.
2. Right-Handed Pitcher (RHP)
When talking about right-hand pitchers, we can also use the “platoon advantage” to determine how they perform against someone left-handed. We can say that RHP players have an advantage over right-handed pitchers, which is more commonly seen in the field.
Furthermore, a study showed that RHP players could actually throw harder compared to left-handed pitchers. But in the case where a lefty pitcher throws as hard as a righty, they would still allow fewer runs.
In addition, the quality of pitchers delivered by RHP is superior to their counterparts. This is based on pitching techniques like cutter, sinker, and four-seam.
- They do better against right-handed batters.
- They produce quality pitches.
- They have more power at delivering the ball.
- They don’t do well against left-handed batters.
- Because they’re common in MLB, they don’t have the unfamiliarity advantage.
Does RHP Do Better Against Lefties?
Although the demand for left-handed pitchers has increased, right-handed pitchers outperform them on various levels. Without their familiarity advantage, many left-handed pitchers would not be able to maintain a spot in the rotation or reach star status.
Still, we have to remember that each pitcher has their own strength. Even if RHPs statistically do better on average, it does not mean there are no exceptional left-handed pitchers who excel in their craft.
Frequently Asked Questions
We’re done tackling the meaning of RHP in baseball. It’s now time to answer some FAQs.
Are there MLB players who bat right and throw left?
Yes, there are several MLB players who bat right-handed and throw left-handed. This is a rare occurrence in MLB, and we’d usually see only two to three of these players annually.
One notable player who can hit right-handed while throwing left-handed is Daniel Nava. What’s more impressive is that he can also hit using his left hand.
Do right-handed pitchers get paid more than left-handed pitchers?
While there are statistics indicating that left-handed players in MLB receive higher pay than their right-handed counterparts, it is important to note that this difference is likely not solely due to their handedness.
What are left-handed specialists?
A lefty specialist is a type of relief pitcher in baseball. They throw the ball using their left arm and are skilled at pitching to left-handed batters.
They are also successful against right-handed batters who have trouble hitting left-handed pitches. Additionally, they are effective against switch-hitters who struggle to bat from the right side of the plate.
From now on, you don’t have to wonder about what RHP means in baseball. By simply remembering that RHP in baseball refers to the handedness of a pitcher, you’d also remember the meaning of other terms like LHP.
And because you now know who are the best right-handed pitchers in MLB history, we hope that this made you hopeful and motivated to be a better pitcher yourself.
Whether you’re left-handed or right-handed, always remember you’re valuable in baseball. Good luck!
Rogers is a hardcore baseball enthusiast. He joined Nations Baseball as a writer to share his knowledge and help others realize their passions for the sport. Roger is striving towards becoming a coach at his local baseball club.