Baseball - Just beat the Shift

pfister1

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#1
I always think this is an interesting debate. Defense puts the shift on against a left handed hitter. Why does that hitter seem to ignore the defensive alignment and blast away at the right side of the field?

This article has some interesting perspectives from Daniel Murphy and Matt Carpenter ESPN where they seem to make two basic arguments (i) we are basically incapable of hitting directionally and either bunting or hitting the ball on the ground to the left side or (ii) we don't think our teammates can string two hits together behind us to make it worthwhile to give up trying to drive the ball for an extra base hit and instead shoot for a single against the shift. The argument kind of assumes that the defense doesn't care whether it gets the lefty out, it would be happy giving up an opposite side ground ball hit and avoid the risk of an extra base hit.

Does anyone buy the argument that seems to be starting to circulate that the shift is an "unfair" tactic that should be outlawed or legislated out of fashion?? I am a "deploy the fielders anywhere on the field you want" kind of guy.
 

Hoo's That

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#2
I think it’s reason II; they don’t want to give up the chance to power the ball even though the odds are against it. Ego and $$$$ overcome trying to eliminate the shift by making it a bad strategy.

How can you legislate where the players stand? How are you eliminating the shift when the shortstop stands behind 2nd until the pitch/ball is hit and the moves to his left? Put up 3 lefties in a row and “power bunt” toward 3rd. Now, the bases are loaded and a walk scores a run.
 

MSOrange

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#3
I always think this is an interesting debate. Defense puts the shift on against a left handed hitter. Why does that hitter seem to ignore the defensive alignment and blast away at the right side of the field?

This article has some interesting perspectives from Daniel Murphy and Matt Carpenter ESPN where they seem to make two basic arguments (i) we are basically incapable of hitting directionally and either bunting or hitting the ball on the ground to the left side or (ii) we don't think our teammates can string two hits together behind us to make it worthwhile to give up trying to drive the ball for an extra base hit and instead shoot for a single against the shift. The argument kind of assumes that the defense doesn't care whether it gets the lefty out, it would be happy giving up an opposite side ground ball hit and avoid the risk of an extra base hit.

Does anyone buy the argument that seems to be starting to circulate that the shift is an "unfair" tactic that should be outlawed or legislated out of fashion?? I am a "deploy the fielders anywhere on the field you want" kind of guy.
I've actually been thinking about this also. Seems like I've come to two lines of thoughts regarding the shift. I basically feel like you - affected batters need to learn how to handle the stick better so the shift doesn't provide as much of an advantage to the defense. I realize not every batter came be Tony Gwynn, but come on guys. Put some work into your craft.

But on the other hand, baseball needs to keep the fans interested and coming to the ballpark and I think offense is what primarily does that for the average fan.

But as I started, I still feel like it's on the batters to beat the shift.
 

upperdeck

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#5
they dont beat the shift for the same reason they strike out so much.. its all about HR for most of these guys. back in the day a team might have 1 dude not they have 4-6 of these types of guys.
 

KaiserUEO

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#6
In ththe side of at the pitch, you must have 2 guys on left side of infield and 2 on the right.

Now if it’s just by an inch...so be it.

OR...if you want to move an outfielder down as a ‘softball shirt fielder’ then...good luck.

Otherwise, I side with the football ‘illegal formation’ argument.
 

Bayside44

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#7
To me it's lunacy that a defense is ceding half a field and still winning. Bryce Harper used to hit gap to gap, and now Kevin Long has turned him into Kevin Maas.

Not everyone hits like Daniel Murphy.
 

OttoinGrotto

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#8
To me it's lunacy that a defense is ceding half a field and still winning. Bryce Harper used to hit gap to gap, and now Kevin Long has turned him into Kevin Maas.

Not everyone hits like Daniel Murphy.
In basketball, if a guy dribbles a lot better to one hand the defensive player should shade towards that hand and make the guy go the other way.

Same thing in baseball.
 

bpo57

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#10
Scott Boras calling the shift unfair was absolutely ridiculous.

I really don't like it but I dislike his attitude more.
Speaking of Boreass, I bet Eric Hosmer is happy to be in San Diego with that awesome .400 record. Oh well he signed for a ton of $$$ and SD is a nice place to live. Now if he can just elevate that impressive .249 average. Typical Boreass client.
 

MSOrange

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#11
Speaking of Boreass, I bet Eric Hosmer is happy to be in San Diego with that awesome .400 record. Oh well he signed for a ton of $$$ and SD is a nice place to live. Now if he can just elevate that impressive .249 average. Typical Boreass client.
I hate to criticize Hosmer because he was just tremendous in the community here in KC. Couldn't ask for a better guy. He's a good first baseman but agree with you, not a break the bank kind of guy.
 

bpo57

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#12
I hate to criticize Hosmer because he was just tremendous in the community here in KC. Couldn't ask for a better guy. He's a good first baseman but agree with you, not a break the bank kind of guy.
Yeah I guess I'm being harsh but I can't understand why a guy would sign a LT deal with a team that has very little chance of being competitive while he is there.
 

jncuse

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#13
Yeah I guess I'm being harsh but I can't understand why a guy would sign a LT deal with a team that has very little chance of being competitive while he is there.
National League Teams lately seem to jump from totally uncompetitive to competitive fairly quickly. And with baseball players peaking on average about 1.5 years earlier than before, a team of young players can contend sooner than expected (if they have the right young players coming up of course).

Not saying that they are a good team this year or next but with players getting better at a younger age, its hard to predict out 3 years.
 

bpo57

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#15
National League Teams lately seem to jump from totally uncompetitive to competitive fairly quickly. And with baseball players peaking on average about 1.5 years earlier than before, a team of young players can contend sooner than expected (if they have the right young players coming up of course).

Not saying that they are a good team this year or next but with players getting better at a younger age, its hard to predict out 3 years.
I think you're probably right. My sense with Hosmer though (and being a Boras client) is that he just took the deal with the most $$$ like ARod did with Texas. If the team turns into a contender he's happy but it probably wasn't a big part of his thought process.
 

jncuse

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#16
I think you're probably right. My sense with Hosmer though (and being a Boras client) is that he just took the deal with the most $$$ like ARod did with Texas. If the team turns into a contender he's happy but it probably wasn't a big part of his thought process.
No doubt ... it was for the money. But I doubt it was a case where he took $144M from a bad team over say $130M from a good team. It was probably a massive over pay.
 

KaiserUEO

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#17
What’s this??

They guy was drafted by the royals, that’s a feat sentence for $$ and wins.

Then the guy plays in 2 World Series, winning 1.

Then he goes and gets his $$. He’s Hispanic, he went to San Diego, he didn’t go to Minnesota.

And Boras did his job,magnificently.
 

MSOrange

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#18
they dont beat the shift for the same reason they strike out so much.. its all about HR for most of these guys. back in the day a team might have 1 dude not they have 4-6 of these types of guys.
Exactly. Chris Davis, Joey Gallo among others - neither one can sniff the Mendoza line
 

Alsacs

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#19
Matt Adams broke a finger this year trying to bunt against the shift for a hit.
Just hit for power and don’t worry about singles.
Baseball has a walk/strike out/homer run problem.
Too much time without balls put in play.
The shift is just using intelligence and not being stupid.
 

bpo57

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#21
No doubt ... it was for the money. But I doubt it was a case where he took $144M from a bad team over say $130M from a good team. It was probably a massive over pay.
You're probably right. I know the Red Sox were interested in him and I'm sure KC would have liked to retain him. He took the $$$, which is not unusual these days and particularly not for a Boras client. Boras paints a picture to his client that he will be making mega $$$ so when the deal falls short then the player is even more disposed toward the top dollar given his raised expectations.
 
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#22
They can beat the shift. The way hitters at the Major League level are taught to hit goes against how you're supposed to beat it. No one bunts anymore and you can't find many players who can go opposite field. It's become an all or nothing league largely due to analytics being embraced which in a cruel twist of irony is impacting the game in a negative way.

Don't know how many people here watch SNY, but Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling routinely break down how to beat these shifts.

I can't buy that argument in the ESPN article. I read it last week and found it to be a load of garbage. It's not that they can't, it's a matter of skill.
 


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