Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Batters Still Refuse to Beat the Shift

"Bro, just hit home runs. It's simple."

Yesterday we discussed how I personally am growing up in an era that many people love to hate, the era of shifting in baseball and sabermetrics. We covered the fact that teams shifted just 2,357 times in 2011 and that numbers has steadily climbed up to 13,296 in 2014 and is expected to rise in 2015, so why do batters still refuse to beat the shift?

Mark Teixeira has already announced and unwillingness to beat the shift this season and instead will focus more on home runs and doubles. Teixeira is paid to hit in the middle of the order and hit home runs and doubles anyway so basically in a nutshell what he is saying is that we should expect another season long flirt session with the Mendoza Line from the Yankee first baseman. The numbers don’t lie Teixeira but when you decide to blame it on your wrist and lack of upper body strength please read this first.

David Ortiz’s batting average against the shift in 2014 was .201 while Ryan Howard hit .167 and Chris Davis hit .121 with three infielders on the right side of the infield. All three of these men look to hit home runs and doubles and all three of these men refuse to hit against the shift. The one thing that separates these current and former All Star’s is that their upper body strength was up to par and their wrists were healthy. Why do you think you will be more successful than them Mr. Teixeira?

Speaking of Yankees Brian McCann was the fifth most shifted against player in 2014 and saw his number of pulled ground ball singles drop down to just three last season. THREE. Drop a bunt, at least show a bunt but you have to do something to beat the shift. The shift is here to stay and the simple notion of walking more and hitting home runs, something you were already doing anyway when the issue arose, is not going to cut it.

Rob Manfred, you want more offense in the game? Tell your players to beat the shift. 

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