Only about 10% of the population is left handed. Though they are largely the minority, in face-to-face sports, lefties tend to hold the advantage over their opponent. If you consider that left-handed athletes have faced right-handed athletes more than vice versa, it provides reasoning as to why most athletes struggle against lefties. Hockey is the biggest exception to the rule, as there are far more left handed players than right handed players. For some reason, Canadians and European players are more prone to shoot left while Americans have a tendency to shoot right.
There are currently no starting quarterbacks in the National Football League with one possible exception being if Michael Vick beats out Geno Smith for the New York Jets' starting position. However, baseball, like boxing, is a sport where lefties have a history of dominance. Baseball owners will often pay inflated prices to keep a decent southpaw in their bullpen while opposing managers must alter their batting line-up to cater to a lefty on the mound. While it's no surprise to see the top three richest franchises account for 80% of our list, the Dodgers in particular seem to have a thing for expensive left-handed players. In order to make the cut, players must both bat and throw with their left hand.
With Mike Trout's 6-year, $144.5 million contract extension with the Angels and Miguel Cabrera's 8-year, $248 million contract extension with the Detroit Tigers, Major League Baseball's opening week talk is all about cash flow. Considering the top contract values around the league, these ten southpaws have cashed in on their unique ability to test even though the most seasoned right-handed players in the league. According to Spotrac, we've found the ten biggest active contracts being dished out to the most prize left-handed players in Major League Baseball.
11 Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers - 5-Year, $85,000,000
10 Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies - 5-Year, $120,000,000
9 T8. Josh Hamilton, Los Angeles Angels - 5-Year, $125,000,000
8 T8. Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies - 5-Year, $125,000,000
7 Shin-Soo Choo, Texas Rangers - 7-Year, $130,000,000
6 Carl Crawford, Los Angeles Dodgers - 7-Year, $142,000,000
5 Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies - 6-Year, $144,000,000
4 Jacoby Ellsbury, New York Yankees - 7-Year, $153,000,000
3 Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers - 7-Year, $154,000,000
2 CC Sabathia, New York Yankees - 8-Year, $186,000,000
1 Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers - 7-Year, $215,000,000
Ironically, Clayton Kershaw is the highest paid lefty in Major League Baseball but has the lowest 2014 base salary of any player on our list. Pocketing a shy $4 million this season, Kershaw's earnings will skyrocket to $30 million in 2015 until it caps out at $33 million in the final year of his contract. This Texas native entered Los Angeles' farm system after the 2006 MLB Draft before making his debut with the Dodgers in 2008. With a regular season career ERA of 2.59 through 185 games and nearly 1200 innings pitched, Kershaw has already been considered one of the great pitchers of all-time.
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