Does "the shift" work or doesn't it?

Cowtown

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#1
In fact, the data suggest that the shift doesn't do what it's supposed to do. It's designed to stop grounders, but it's supposed to help the defense prevent runs. And, in four fantastic articles (1, 2, 3, 4) at Baseball Prospectus this spring, Carleton found good evidence that it's not doing this.

Even though the shift is good at gobbling up ground balls and line drives, it has the secondary effect of making pitchers throw more pitches out of the strike zone. They don't appear to be pitching to the shift -- by throwing more pitches on the inner part of the plate, for instance -- but merely pitching away from contact, nibbling more and throwing fewer fastballs. This all means more balls. More balls mean more walks, and they also mean more hitter's counts, which means more doubles, more triples, more home runs and fewer strikeouts.

MLB myth-buster: The shift isn't curbing runs, it's creating them

But then there's this ...

How the shift has ruined Albert Pujols
 

OrangeDW

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#7
No, it sucks. The whole approach to hitting (and pitching) right now is toxic from a watching perspective. Never wouldve thought homeruns and strikeouts would be so boring.
For the first time, I felt the same way watching the NBA playoffs. Too many 3’s. If your team goes cold, the game becomes an unwatchable blowout in a hurry.

And yes, I agree...from a fan watching perspective a lot of the “little things” that make baseball such a great game are kindve lacking right now.
 

donniesyracuse

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#8
No, it sucks. The whole approach to hitting (and pitching) right now is toxic from a watching perspective. Never wouldve thought homeruns and strikeouts would be so boring.
That’s fair enough, but it’s not the nerds’ fault that the game is flawed.
 

Cowtown

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#10
That’s fair enough, but it’s not the nerds’ fault that the game is flawed.
I think he was referring to the coaching and management styles, those who have prostituted the game to infinitesimal data and statistics. There's no "feel" at work anymore.
 

Crusty

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#11
I think he was referring to the coaching and management styles, those who have prostituted the game to infinitesimal data and statistics. There's no "feel" at work anymore.
"Feel" is noting more than using anecdotal evidence in a subjective fashion with the results being purely random. I'll take the data every time.
 

Day2

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#12
In fact, the data suggest that the shift doesn't do what it's supposed to do. It's designed to stop grounders, but it's supposed to help the defense prevent runs. And, in four fantastic articles (1, 2, 3, 4) at Baseball Prospectus this spring, Carleton found good evidence that it's not doing this.

Even though the shift is good at gobbling up ground balls and line drives, it has the secondary effect of making pitchers throw more pitches out of the strike zone. They don't appear to be pitching to the shift -- by throwing more pitches on the inner part of the plate, for instance -- but merely pitching away from contact, nibbling more and throwing fewer fastballs. This all means more balls. More balls mean more walks, and they also mean more hitter's counts, which means more doubles, more triples, more home runs and fewer strikeouts.

MLB myth-buster: The shift isn't curbing runs, it's creating them

But then there's this ...

How the shift has ruined Albert Pujols
Age has ruined Pujols. He had no problem hitting to the opposite field early in his career. His approach changed so he could hit more home runs and now Father Time has caught up with him. And he’s probably older than he says he is. Regardless, he should adjust. Complaining isn’t going to help.
 

KaiserUEO

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#14
I do think it’s hurt and ruined baseball.

I get both sides of the argument, but it’s not football or basketball where if the weak side is sooo weak, it’s instant points.

Oh, hey...just hit it to the other side!!

Yeah right, these guys are maybe hitting 275
to the power side and now you want them to ‘just hit it way from the shift’.

I’d prefer that there must be 2 IFs on each side of second, then if you want to shift on the pitch...fine.
 

Cowtown

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#15
"Feel" is noting more than using anecdotal evidence in a subjective fashion with the results being purely random. I'll take the data every time.
No crap to you Crusty, for I'm sure your baseball acumen exceeds mine. But two points here: First, all entry level managers - and pretty much all coaches at the same level in any sport - learn to manage or coach based on "feel." It's how trust between players and coaches is built (both ways). Second, when I go to the ball park, I go to watch the players play, not to watch the managers manage. For example, watching Mike Scioscia (yes, on TV) call every pitch makes me want to scream.
 

Crusty

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#16
No crap to you Crusty, for I'm sure your baseball acumen exceeds mine. But two points here: First, all entry level managers - and pretty much all coaches at the same level in any sport - learn to manage or coach based on "feel." It's how trust between players and coaches is built (both ways). Second, when I go to the ball park, I go to watch the players play, not to watch the managers manage. For example, watching Mike Scioscia (yes, on TV) call every pitch makes me want to scream.
College baseball would really drive you nuts. Many coaches call all the pitches and control when batters swing.

I don't think trust is built by old school managers who don't understand what is really happening.
Trust is built by making more correct decisions than incorrect ones and winning. That can best be done by using the best information available.
How do you position the defense if you don't rely on the data? Simply cannot be done by feel.

Willie Mays attended every pregame pitchers meeting because he felt he had to know how batters were going to get pitched so that he could anticipate better. Preparation, not feel or natural ability to get a jump, was just another reason he was so great.

The managers that understand and best use the available tools will prevail.

I find the game richer and more nuanced today than ever, making the manager chess match even more interesting. We actually know exactly how risky certain decisions are instead of wondering.

Personally, I enjoy it. But hey, everyone enjoys sports differently, which makes it fun.
 

Bayside44

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#17
I'll say this - its drives me nuts to see ball get out of the infield now when players are shifted away from their "natural" positions.
 

donniesyracuse

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#18
I'll say this - its drives me nuts to see ball get out of the infield now when players are shifted away from their "natural" positions.
how do you feel when a ball that would have been a hit becomes an out because of the shift? This happens more often by the way.
 

Cowtown

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#21
Okay, here's what I see on this. Batting coaches today teach hitters to drive everything. (Chicks dig the long ball!) And I mean everything, which results in them pulling almost every pitch. And some hitters are more predictable at this than others. It's those against whom the shift is deployed. These hitters are defenseless against the shift and continue to drive the ball into the teeth of it. The odd one gets through.

Old school hitters, like Carew, Rose, Boggs and Gwynne (and there were others) - from the Charley Lau school - hit the ball where it was pitched. They were difficult to defend against because they hit outside pitches away, and pulled inside pitches. There is nothing stupider than trying to pull outside pitches. It just keeps middle infielders employed.

Until batting coaches adjust and teach hitters to use the entire field, they deserve the freaking shift and all the frustration it brings them. And it's brain dead stupid to try to legislate against the shift. That will only prolong the single-minded nonsense that says every batter should try to hit a homer every time up. It's the same nonsense that advocates the sizzle of HR's and K's rather than the steak found in the art of winning a game.

Just IMHO.
 

OrangeDW

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#22
Okay, here's what I see on this. Batting coaches today teach hitters to drive everything. (Chicks dig the long ball!) And I mean everything, which results in them pulling almost every pitch. And some hitters are more predictable at this than others. It's those against whom the shift is deployed. These hitters are defenseless against the shift and continue to drive the ball into the teeth of it. The odd one gets through.

Old school hitters, like Carew, Rose, Boggs and Gwynne (and there were others) - from the Charley Lau school - hit the ball where it was pitched. They were difficult to defend against because they hit outside pitches away, and pulled inside pitches. There is nothing stupider than trying to pull outside pitches. It just keeps middle infielders employed.

Until batting coaches adjust and teach hitters to use the entire field, they deserve the freaking shift and all the frustration it brings them. And it's brain dead stupid to try to legislate against the shift. That will only prolong the single-minded nonsense that says every batter should try to hit a homer every time up. It's the same nonsense that advocates the sizzle of HR's and K's rather than the steak found in the art of winning a game.

Just IMHO.
Baseball players just try to jack homers every time up, and basketball players just try to jack 3’s every possession.

Both games gotta balance back out IMO.
 

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