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July 21, 2014 6:00 am

The Weekend Shift

0

Chris Mosch

A shift-happy Baltimore squad unveils a new approach against the Athletics' switch-hitting leadoff hitter.

At the end of May, I introduced the idea that some teams were going from playing nearly straightaway to using a full overshift once they got two strikes on certain pull-heavy, bunt-threat lefties. The idea was that teams would probably prefer to implement a full overshift earlier in the count, but were hindered by the hitter’s ability to bunt for a base hit. This was inspired by the Orioles using a two-strike overshift numerous times against Michael Bourn, and the Pirates doing it a couple of times against both Denard Span and Danny Espinosa.

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How have the Rays outfielder's opponents shifted against him with the bunt in mind?

At the end of May, I introduced the idea that some teams were going from playing nearly straightaway to using a full overshift once the count went to two strikes against certain pull-heavy lefties whom they deemed threats to bunt. The idea was that teams would probably prefer to implement a full overshift earlier in the count, but were hindered by the hitter’s ability to bunt for a base hit. This was inspired by the Orioles using a two-strike overshift numerous times against Michael Bourn, and the Pirates doing it a couple of times against both Denard Span and Danny Espinosa.

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This week's bunts (including the first attempt by a right-hander), plus a look at aggressive counter-adjustments by opposing defenses.

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This week's bunts (including three first-timers, two near-misses, and Joey Gallo), plus a look at counter-adjustments by opposing defenses.

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This week's bunts (including two big debuts), plus a look at counter-adjustments by opposing defenses.

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This week's bunts, plus a look at counter-adjustments by opposing defenses.

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The latest exciting developments in the back-and-forth battle between batters/bunters and defenders.

Last month I started a season-long series (continued here and here) devoted to tracking bunts for base hits with the infield shift in effect; this is the third installment. To bring you up to speed on the series’ premise and methodology will take but two brief excerpts. Excerpt one:

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Are batters catching on?

Earlier this month I started a season-long series devoted to tracking bunts for base hits with the infield shift in effect; this is the third installment. To bring you up to speed on the series’ premise and methodology will take but two brief excerpts. Excerpt one:

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May 21, 2013 5:00 am

Skewed Left: The Shift's PR Problem

12

Zachary Levine

The shift is here to stay, but to be embraced, it has to be rebranded.

In 50 years, and that may be a conservatively distant estimate, we will hear much less talk about defensive shifts.

First of all, there might not be baseball in 50 years. It’s why I’m always hesitant to answer questions that start with “will we ever see,” because “ever” is a really, really long time compared to the current lifespan of baseball (unless it isn’t).

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June 6, 2012 5:00 am

Manufactured Runs: What We Really Know About the Shift

15

Colin Wyers

The defensive shift revolution makes for a nice narrative, but how much has it truly changed the game?

Last week, we examined the effects of fielding shifts on fielding metrics. For those who missed out, I’d advise you to go read it, but the short version is that location-based fielding metrics can overstate the importance of fielding shifts to a team’s defense and thus overrate players who are shifted in such an arrangement.

But if the fielding shifts are throwing defensive metrics off, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t contributing to team defense, right? And we are in what some people might term a shifting renaissance. John Dewan of Baseball Info Solutions says:

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These days, it seems like you can't discuss defensive shifts without a J.D.

Sometimes, it’s the comments that seem to miss the mark that generate the most discussion. Take this nugget  (please!) from Tom Verducci, buried within a long, otherwise-insightful article for SI.com about this season’s league-wide ebb in offense:

“The state of hitting is awful. Batters strike out more than ever before and, anecdotally, there seem to be more defensive overshifts employed than ever before. A shift for J.D. Drew, a guy who has hit 30 homers once in his life?”

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January 10, 2008 12:00 am

Schrodinger's Bat: Getting Shifty

0

Dan Fox

Repositioning the infield and its effects on history, defense, and batting.

When asked what he did in the winter when there is no baseball, Rogers Hornsby famously replied that he would "stare out the window and wait for spring." Fortunately, these days fans of the game have plenty to keep them occupied in the cold winter months. Not least amongst the off-season events is looking forward to the baseball-oriented Christmas loot that keeps us busy until spring. While not the massive haul of our Jay Jaffe, I'll keep warm with a new Cubs fleece from my lovely wife and keep occupied with Lee Lowenfish's hefty biography of Branch Rickey titled Branch Rickey: Baseball's Ferocious Gentleman and Cait Murphy's romp through the 1908 season Crazy '08: How a Cast of Cranks, Rogues, Boneheads, and Magnates Created the Greatest Year in Baseball History; both additions to my library courtesy of my in-laws.

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