Thursday, May 14, 2015

Shift is Still Prevalent in MLB

The defensive shift in Major League Baseball is here, it’s been here and it’s here to stay apparently as the shift has been just as prevalent in 2015 as it has the last three or four seasons. Across the league through roughly 35 games teams have shifted on 3,395 balls in play this season which factors out to 17,666 times over a 162-game MLB season.

The Colorado Rockies have joined the shift campaign shifting 141 times already this season which puts the team on pace for 816 shifts in 2015. For a team that has had four consecutive losing seasons and a 10 game losing streak this season the team seems desperate to do anything they can to get an extra out here or there to help the team win. Colorado is currently on pace to shift seven times more than the entire team total in 2014 and is by far the highest percentage increase from 2014 to 2015 this season. The Diamondbacks are also joining the shift parade and are on pace for 659 shifts this season which is a 2.6 times larger number then it was in 2014.

The Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Red and San Diego Padres seem to be joining the new trend as well and are on pace for 532, 502 and 491 shifts this season respectively. The highest shifted against players in the league this season have been Lucas Duda (106 times), David Ortiz (100), Chris Davis (90), Adrian Gonzalez (89) and Ryan Howard at 81 times. The New York Yankees are considered to be the most vulnerable team to be shifted against according to many but none of their players appeared on this list surprisingly, not even Brian McCann or Mark Teixeira.

Shifts are here to stay ladies and gentleman and Rob Manfred is not going to ban them so teams and players are going to have to start either beating them or employing them more because they aren’t going anywhere. The sluggers are likely going to be shifted against until they retire but the players like Chase Headley and others need to either go the other way more or drop a bunt down occasionally to counteract the shift. It has to be done or we’re going to see more perennial .300 hitters falling into the sub-.250’s due to the overwhelming shifts across Major League Baseball,

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)