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March 3, 2015 6:00 am

Rumor Roundup: Shift Happenings

4

Chris Mosch

Zack Wheeler hates that darned shift, but everybody else is getting ready for it on both sides of the ball this spring.

Zack Wheeler admits he's not a fan of the shift
On Saturday morning, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson joined Dan Brooks, Dave Cameron and Ben Lindbergh on a panel moderated by Jonah Keri at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. The central topic the panel discussed on day two of the event was the effect the large increase in defensive shifts during recent seasons has had on the game, which prompted this interesting tidbit:


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Maybe stathead teams don't love their favorite strategy as much as you'd think.

Well, congrats go out to Rob Manfred on assuming the post of Commissioner of Major League Baseball. And congratulations go out to Rob Manfred on igniting his first Twitter controversy about three hours into his lifetime term. In an interview that he gave to ESPN’s Karl Ravech, Manfred spoke of his desire to introduce “the clock” into the game, but then continued on to this tasty nugget:

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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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