• The KillerFrogs

2022 MLB Thread*

Eight

Member
I think there’s a difference between positioning a player and shifting a defense.

If the shift was just being employed against a few hitters, like it once was against David Ortiz, it would be one thing.

But shift usage has grown exponentially since then.

In 2010 there were 2,400 total shifts in MLB.

In 2016, there 24,464 shifts.

In 2021, there were 55,595 shifts.

how are pinching the middle infielders so they can get to the bag and make it easier to turn a double play different than moving your short stop behind second and your second baseman out to shallow right?

both situations will involve pitching to the batter in such a way as trying to induce them to hit the ball where the defense wants it and has positioned its fielders.

curious how many times with the winning run at third with less than 2 outs a manager will bring his infield in to the edge of the grass?

seems to be situational defense that has evolved to counter the way hitting to some extent has de-evolved
 

geefrogs

Active Member

This Is Fine GIF
 

FBallFan123

Active Member
how are pinching the middle infielders so they can get to the bag and make it easier to turn a double play different than moving your short stop behind second and your second baseman out to shallow right?

both situations will involve pitching to the batter in such a way as trying to induce them to hit the ball where the defense wants it and has positioned its fielders.

curious how many times with the winning run at third with less than 2 outs a manager will bring his infield in to the edge of the grass?

seems to be situational defense that has evolved to counter the way hitting to some extent has de-evolved

When shifts weren’t used that frequently they weren’t a big deal.

When shifts are used 55,000 times a season, they become an issue.

Shifts have an effect.

So do left-handed specialists who pitch to 1-2 left handed batters a game.

I think it’s fair to say neither add to the “entertainment” quality of the game.

Batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was .292 the last two seasons … the lowest it’s been in about 30 years.

People can blame this on hitters’ approach and launch angle if they want … but there’s a reason launch angle was adopted by hitters in the mid-2010’s … it’s because home runs were down in the early 2010’s.

People criticize the way batters approach hitting these days, and many say they want more action and more balls in play.

Well, take away the shift and see what impact it has.

Maybe it’ll only make a minimal difference … but if that’s the case, why oppose it?

But when you see teams use the shift 55,000 times a season, and the teams that use it the most (like Dodgers and Astros) are also the teams with the best analytics departments, it suggests maybe there’s a little more to it.
 
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ShreveFrog

Full Member
Didn't realize so many people enjoyed baseball because of the shift. I learned something today.
You know what is enjoyable? Watching a batter knock the ball through the vacated part of the field. Or just drop a bunt down where no one can field it. I've seen Gallo do it when the situation called for it -- needing a baserunner. It's a matter of "want to." Or maybe it's a coaching decision to keep swinging or flailing for the fence. Damn the torpedoes.

The shift would not be so prevalent if more hitters took the approach of Juan Soto or Jose Altuve -- excellent modern day hitters to all fields, and still have power. There are lots of hits on the other side of the field. Even big ol' Jim Thome would go the other way.

Also enjoyable to see a hitter smash a ball hard enough through the shift. Again, to see the player beat the shift. But anyway, forget it.
 
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geefrogs

Active Member
You know what is enjoyable? Watching a batter knock the ball through the vacated part of the field. Or just drop a bunt down where no one can field it. I've seen Gallo do it when the situation called for it -- needing a baserunner. It's a matter of "want to." Or maybe it's a coaching decision to keep swinging or flailing for the fence. Damn the torpedoes.

The shift would not be so prevalent if more hitters took the approach of Juan Soto or Jose Altuve -- excellent modern day hitters to all fields, and still have power. There are lots of hits on the other side of the field. Even big ol' Jim Thome would go the other way.

Also enjoyable to see a hitter smash a ball hard enough through the shift. Again, to see the player defeat the shift. But anyway, forget it.

Joey Gallo is the scapegoat. Everyone thinks this rule is to somehow help the Joey Gallos of the world. (Literally like 3 or 4 guys out of 1200.)

I knew Rangers fans wouldn't take to this well ;)

There's a nice post later in this thread from Matt Carpenter describing the hitters approach.

A simple question to ponder. When the batter steps into the box, who has the advantage. The pitcher or the batter? Inherently it's the pitcher right? Because they have the ball.

Look if you are a hitter and are successful 3 out of 10 times you could be a hall of famer.

Pitching and hitting was fine from 1863-2001. We didn't implement 55,000 shifts a season then and we don't need it now.

Pitchers will still have the ball in their hand and find a good pitch to get the batter out 8 or 7 out of 10 times.
 

geefrogs

Active Member
The shift gives the hitter an advantage if they’re willing. Take the base they’re giving you.

But what if I'm a power hitter, slow wheels, the guy behind me hits alot of ground balls. Hm.....I could use my strengths which are gap power and home run strength or I could try to hit this 95mph cutter on my knuckles the other way? But the number #6 hitter behind me is slow too, they're about to bring in their lefty-specialist who induces alot of grounders and that could be an inning ending 6-4-3.

Lots to consider and lots of assuming "take the base they are giving you". Which goes back to this idea that the hitters will get a easy pitch to handle and slap the other way when in reality, instinct takes over, "Oh! a mistake pitch! let me rip this into the gap or the short porch so I can at least get into scoring position if not tie the game!"

I dont think you need analytics to tell us that possibly getting on first-base isnt as valuable as possibly getting into scoring position or scoring runs.

I agree with you there are moments where the hitter can surprise the shift and lay down a bunt, I just dont think its so black and white that it will be successful or as beneficial.
 

Bob Sugar

Active Member
But what if I'm a power hitter, slow wheels, the guy behind me hits alot of ground balls. Hm.....I could use my strengths which are gap power and home run strength or I could try to hit this 95mph cutter on my knuckles the other way? But the number #6 hitter behind me is slow too, they're about to bring in their lefty-specialist who induces alot of grounders and that could be an inning ending 6-4-3.

Lots to consider and lots of assuming "take the base they are giving you". Which goes back to this idea that the hitters will get a easy pitch to handle and slap the other way when in reality, instinct takes over, "Oh! a mistake pitch! let me rip this into the gap or the short porch so I can at least get into scoring position if not tie the game!"

I dont think you need analytics to tell us that possibly getting on first-base isnt as valuable as possibly getting into scoring position or scoring runs.

I agree with you there are moments where the hitter can surprise the shift and lay down a bunt, I just dont think its so black and white that it will be successful or as beneficial.
7Dmv.gif


"Do I care if its a walk or a hit?"
"You do not."
 

FBallFan123

Active Member
You know what is enjoyable? Watching a batter knock the ball through the vacated part of the field. Or just drop a bunt down where no one can field it. I've seen Gallo do it when the situation called for it -- needing a baserunner. It's a matter of "want to." Or maybe it's a coaching decision to keep swinging or flailing for the fence. Damn the torpedoes.

The shift would not be so prevalent if more hitters took the approach of Juan Soto or Jose Altuve -- excellent modern day hitters to all fields, and still have power. There are lots of hits on the other side of the field. Even big ol' Jim Thome would go the other way.

Also enjoyable to see a hitter smash a ball hard enough through the shift. Again, to see the player defeat the shift. But anyway, forget it.

Juan Soto is a generationally great hitter. … he still faced the shift 45% of at bats last year.

Which was a huge increase for him but still
on the low end for left-handed batters, which is who the shift is primarily used against.
 

BrewingFrog

Was I supposed to type something here?
The game is an ever flowing series of adjustments, and adjustments to adjustments. In this case, MLB has stepped in and "banned" an over-the-top defensive alignment before the sport itself made it's own adjustment. It did so to protect the HR and lots of scoring, which they perceive as Good TV that will keep the casual fan tuned in.
 

FBallFan123

Active Member
The shift gives the hitter an advantage if they’re willing. Take the base they’re giving you.

Bryce Harper led the league in OPS and wRC+ last year … he was still shifted against 68% of the time.

And Harper does bunt … and has been doing it more in recent seasons.

But you think it’s to his or the Phillies advantage to bunt a high percentage of at bats?

Not to mention what the entertainment quality is of having one of the games best hitters bunting at a high frequency.
 
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