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(Hardball Talk)   Fourteen MLB games were played yesterday. Six ended in shutouts. Welcome to the 1960's   (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com) divider line 26
    More: Strange, K-Rod, Yasiel Puig, shoestring catch, White Sox, Max Scherzer, Lance Lynn, Josh Reddick, Devin Mesoraco  
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279 clicks; posted to Sports » on 17 May 2014 at 4:37 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



26 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2014-05-17 04:37:15 PM  
Strike three. Peace out, man.
 
2014-05-17 04:42:50 PM  
A lot of baseball pundits are quick to attribute the sudden drop in offense this year to the (seemingly just as sudden) proliferation of defensive shifts.

I have to ask (of those that pay attention to this kind of thing), ARE teams shifting a lot more this year, and why now? What suddenly happened in the offseason to cause all the teams to go shift-crazy?
 
2014-05-17 04:56:42 PM  
I'd attribute the drop in offense to the league getting serious about enforcing PED.
 
2014-05-17 05:04:03 PM  

Generation_D: I'd attribute the drop in offense to the league getting serious about enforcing PED.


I would disagree twofold: one in that PEDs do not, I believe, has a big an impact on offense as that and the other, being that the game hasn't been as cleaned up as they like to say it is.
 
2014-05-17 05:11:15 PM  
The Sox and their retarded lack of consistency are killing me right now.
 
2014-05-17 05:18:31 PM  

The Bestest: A lot of baseball pundits are quick to attribute the sudden drop in offense this year to the (seemingly just as sudden) proliferation of defensive shifts.

I have to ask (of those that pay attention to this kind of thing), ARE teams shifting a lot more this year, and why now? What suddenly happened in the offseason to cause all the teams to go shift-crazy?


I don't have the numbers on me, but yeah, shifting has become huge over the last three or four years and this year it's going nuts. As for what changed, sabermetrics types have been in favor of shifting more for a while. It works great for pull hitters, and they don't seem to be willing or able to go the other way as much as you'd think. I think it's just something that teams started encouraging five years ago, and it worked, so they did it a little more the next year, and it kept working, so they did it more the next year, etc. The Pirates shifted a ton last year, which helped them have one of the best defences in baseball and thus make the playoffs. I think that's why it exploded this year. Everyone's jumping on the bandwagon.
 
2014-05-17 05:28:00 PM  

FriarReb98: The Sox and their retarded lack of consistency are killing me right now.


Seriously.  They're losing to the god damned Astros right now, for chrissake.
 
2014-05-17 05:30:53 PM  

JosephFinn: Seriously.  They're losing to the goddamndogassstros right now, for chrissake.

 
2014-05-17 05:38:45 PM  

neon_god: The Bestest: A lot of baseball pundits are quick to attribute the sudden drop in offense this year to the (seemingly just as sudden) proliferation of defensive shifts.

I have to ask (of those that pay attention to this kind of thing), ARE teams shifting a lot more this year, and why now? What suddenly happened in the offseason to cause all the teams to go shift-crazy?

I don't have the numbers on me, but yeah, shifting has become huge over the last three or four years and this year it's going nuts. As for what changed, sabermetrics types have been in favor of shifting more for a while. It works great for pull hitters, and they don't seem to be willing or able to go the other way as much as you'd think. I think it's just something that teams started encouraging five years ago, and it worked, so they did it a little more the next year, and it kept working, so they did it more the next year, etc. The Pirates shifted a ton last year, which helped them have one of the best defences in baseball and thus make the playoffs. I think that's why it exploded this year. Everyone's jumping on the bandwagon.


http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/anthony-castrovince-odd-defensive- alignments-the-new-norm?ymd=20140304&content_id=68665254
 
2014-05-17 05:46:27 PM  
The Brewers shift quite often, and it rarely backfires. The one that drives me nuts is bringing the infield in with a runner on third. That one rarely seems to help.
 
2014-05-17 06:05:45 PM  

roc6783: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/anthony-castrovince-odd-defensive - alignments-the-new-norm?ymd=20140304&content_id=68665254


insightful article, but oh god the comments...

mlb.com article comments make Fark sports threads look like Mensa meetings
 
2014-05-17 06:09:07 PM  
Part of the problem is the strike zone this year has almost doubled in size if you watch the way the umpires are calling games. The K zone was originally made to help mlb and the umps to get better but its just getting worse every year now it seems like. And if a player or manager even looks at an umpire the wrong way they get kicked out of the game.
 
2014-05-17 06:37:24 PM  
Wasn't the craziest part that most were by away teams?

#hutchisclutch
 
2014-05-17 07:03:11 PM  
Tommy John seen laughing in the corner.
 
2014-05-17 07:14:52 PM  

The Bestest: A lot of baseball pundits are quick to attribute the sudden drop in offense this year to the (seemingly just as sudden) proliferation of defensive shifts.

I have to ask (of those that pay attention to this kind of thing), ARE teams shifting a lot more this year, and why now? What suddenly happened in the offseason to cause all the teams to go shift-crazy?


A lot more, actually. I saw a chart early in the season showing shifts, this years numbers were already on par with last years, with the Astros leading by far. Im not sure if its going to be beneficial in the long run, but most teams are giving it a lot of attention. Time will tell.
 
2014-05-17 08:08:59 PM  

The Bestest: A lot of baseball pundits are quick to attribute the sudden drop in offense this year to the (seemingly just as sudden) proliferation of defensive shifts.


Baseball pundits should note that this is a testable hypothesis.  As a very simple test, look at the 10-year trend for batting average on ground balls (all MLB teams):
This year: .239
2013: .240
2012: .238
2011: .237
2010: .234
2009: .236
2008: .236
2007: .245
2006: .240
2005: .234

That's pretty much flat.  Teams are shifting more, especially in the last two years.  But one of the following is true:
1) The shift works, but is being counteracted by some other factor that makes ground balls go through for hits.  Maybe teams are deploying less effective defenders in their infield to try to get more bats in the lineup.  Maybe teams are deploying speedier lineups who can beat out borderline grounders.
2) The shift doesn't work.

BP's definitely tracking this sort of thing, but the main article series I've followed is that bunting against the shift is getting much more common, and it's very effective.

In 2012, there were 4 bunts against the shift by this date.
This year: 24 bunts, 15 of which were successful. (.625).  Considering that some of these bunt singles were from such speedsters as Garrett Jones (a bunt where the defender didn't even bother to throw, because he would have been safe by 20 feet), it's safe to say an effective anti-shift tactic is being developed.  It's obviously a 'new' type of bunt, because they're not trying to just dump it softly down the line-- some of these bunts would go into shallow left if no one stepped in front.  Might have just taken lefties a year or so to get good enough at it to use it in a game.
 
2014-05-17 10:40:15 PM  

chimp_ninja: The Bestest: A lot of baseball pundits are quick to attribute the sudden drop in offense this year to the (seemingly just as sudden) proliferation of defensive shifts.

Baseball pundits should note that this is a testable hypothesis.  As a very simple test, look at the 10-year trend for batting average on ground balls (all MLB teams):
This year: .239
2013: .240
2012: .238
2011: .237
2010: .234
2009: .236
2008: .236
2007: .245
2006: .240
2005: .234

That's pretty much flat.  Teams are shifting more, especially in the last two years.  But one of the following is true:
1) The shift works, but is being counteracted by some other factor that makes ground balls go through for hits.  Maybe teams are deploying less effective defenders in their infield to try to get more bats in the lineup.  Maybe teams are deploying speedier lineups who can beat out borderline grounders.
2) The shift doesn't work.

BP's definitely tracking this sort of thing, but the main article series I've followed is that bunting against the shift is getting much more common, and it's very effective.

In 2012, there were 4 bunts against the shift by this date.
This year: 24 bunts, 15 of which were successful. (.625).  Considering that some of these bunt singles were from such speedsters as Garrett Jones (a bunt where the defender didn't even bother to throw, because he would have been safe by 20 feet), it's safe to say an effective anti-shift tactic is being developed.  It's obviously a 'new' type of bunt, because they're not trying to just dump it softly down the line-- some of these bunts would go into shallow left if no one stepped in front.  Might have just taken lefties a year or so to get good enough at it to use it in a game.


I will take a bunt single with no one on from a power hitting lefty over a HR every time.
 
2014-05-17 11:46:35 PM  
What you are seeing is a generation of pitchers that grew up in the steroid era throwing to guys that are no longer on steroids.    The pitching is just better, and the hitters are just human again.

And frankly, I like it that way.

/ Give me a pitching duel over a home run derby every time.
 
2014-05-18 12:02:20 AM  

Rent Party: What you are seeing is a generation of pitchers that grew up in the steroid era throwing to guys that are no longer on steroids.    The pitching is just better, and the hitters are just human again.

And frankly, I like it that way.

/ Give me a pitching duel over a home run derby every time.


..because the pitchers totally don't juice too
 
2014-05-18 12:23:51 AM  

roc6783: I will take a bunt single with no one on from a power hitting lefty over a HR every time.


Shifts do not protect against home runs.
 
2014-05-18 12:35:59 AM  

The Bestest: Rent Party: What you are seeing is a generation of pitchers that grew up in the steroid era throwing to guys that are no longer on steroids.    The pitching is just better, and the hitters are just human again.

And frankly, I like it that way.

/ Give me a pitching duel over a home run derby every time.

..because the pitchers totally don't juice too


Not nearly to the degree that hitters did.
 
2014-05-18 08:19:32 AM  

Rent Party: The Bestest: Rent Party: What you are seeing is a generation of pitchers that grew up in the steroid era throwing to guys that are no longer on steroids.    The pitching is just better, and the hitters are just human again.

And frankly, I like it that way.

/ Give me a pitching duel over a home run derby every time.

..because the pitchers totally don't juice too

Not nearly to the degree that hitters did.


That's just assumption. Frankly, starting pitchers would be helped the most by steroids. It would get them back quicker from starts.
 
2014-05-18 09:06:34 AM  

Farkenhostile: Part of the problem is the strike zone this year has almost doubled in size if you watch the way the umpires are calling games. The K zone was originally made to help mlb and the umps to get better but its just getting worse every year now it seems like. And if a player or manager even looks at an umpire the wrong way they get kicked out of the game.


Not to mention the repeated fail of off-the-plate pitches called as parallax "strikes". Stand directly behind the catcher, you fat bat! Or, better yet, dump the meatware and use the technology. Pitchtracker FTW.
 
2014-05-18 09:38:16 AM  

Farkenhostile: Part of the problem is the strike zone this year has almost doubled in size if you watch the way the umpires are calling games. The K zone was originally made to help mlb and the umps to get better but its just getting worse every year now it seems like. And if a player or manager even looks at an umpire the wrong way they get kicked out of the game.


See Jerry Layne/Scott Kazmir yesterday. No curse words, no obscene gestures, and no warning. Just a disagreement with a pitch call, and BOOM! gone in the second inning. Layne is a joke. Then later in the same game, the umpires rob Donaldson of a home run that was redolent of Adam Rosales' home run last year that crooked umpire Angel Hernandez robbed the A's of.
 
2014-05-18 10:55:43 AM  

meanmutton: Rent Party: The Bestest: Rent Party: What you are seeing is a generation of pitchers that grew up in the steroid era throwing to guys that are no longer on steroids.    The pitching is just better, and the hitters are just human again.

And frankly, I like it that way.

/ Give me a pitching duel over a home run derby every time.

..because the pitchers totally don't juice too

Not nearly to the degree that hitters did.

That's just assumption. Frankly, starting pitchers would be helped the most by steroids. It would get them back quicker from starts.


that point not-with-standing, SI had an article on the increase in the number of K's over the past few years.  Pitchers may or may not be juicing, but I think the development of pitchers from youth to pros is where we are seeing the difference.  Article pointed out that a decade or two ago, a team would have one flamethrower with a 95 MPH fastball, now damn near everyone can throw that heat.

Batters have always bulked up and worked on strength from middle school on up and then you would have the wire-y kid pitching....now the wire-y kid pitching is also lifting and working on strength.  add to that better sabremetrics and math modeling, and pitchers are much better.
 
2014-05-18 11:29:33 AM  

UNAUTHORIZED FINGER: Farkenhostile: Part of the problem is the strike zone this year has almost doubled in size if you watch the way the umpires are calling games. The K zone was originally made to help mlb and the umps to get better but its just getting worse every year now it seems like. And if a player or manager even looks at an umpire the wrong way they get kicked out of the game.

See Jerry Layne/Scott Kazmir yesterday. No curse words, no obscene gestures, and no warning. Just a disagreement with a pitch call, and BOOM! gone in the second inning. Layne is a joke. Then later in the same game, the umpires rob Donaldson of a home run that was redolent of Adam Rosales' home run last year that crooked umpire Angel Hernandez robbed the A's of.


Well, as usual, that sums up exactly what I was going to say.
 
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