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(ESPN)   Why can't MLB hitters best the shift? Spoiler: it's hard   ( espn.com) divider line
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592 clicks; posted to Sports » on 11 Jul 2018 at 9:53 AM (4 days ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



47 Comments     (+0 »)
 
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
4 days ago  
I have automatic transmission.
 
4 days ago  
That shift is one bad motha...
 
4 days ago  
Either it's really hard. Or by god they play a certain way and nothing will convince them to play a slightly different way for just a short little time then you can go back to the way you want to play.
 
4 days ago  
Push in the clutch, and move the gearstick into the desired gear.  Then release the clutch.  It's not rocket surgery.
 
4 days ago  
"...hit 'em where they ain't..." -Willie Keeler
 
4 days ago  
Good article, subby.
 
4 days ago  

pueblonative: That shift is one bad motha...


Shut your mouth!
 
4 days ago  
Scouting has been replaced by measurables. Nobody cares if you hit it into a shift three times a game if you hit enough home runs, so they're not emphasizing contact hitting in youth baseball as much.
 
4 days ago  

Gubbo: Either it's really hard. Or by god they play a certain way and nothing will convince them to play a slightly different way for just a short little time then you can go back to the way you want to play.


^ This.  It is a proven fact that no more than 3 bunts down the 3rd base line are required to never ever get shifted again.

Anyone that's still being shifted is a shiat hitter or just plain stupid.

/looking at you ryan howard
 
4 days ago  

edmo: "...hit 'em where they ain't..." -Willie Keeler


Came to say this. Well done Sir.
 
4 days ago  

Gubbo: Either it's really hard. Or by god they play a certain way and nothing will convince them to play a slightly different way for just a short little time then you can go back to the way you want to play.


I read the first two, and the gist was "Singles are boring. I wanna hit line drives!"

Getting on base > out. Their argument is that a low-probability of hitting a double through the shift > getting on base. That's the sort of pig-headed thinking that gets you shifted on in the first place.
 
4 days ago  
heaven forbid these egomaniacs bunt the opposite way some time.

I realize it happens some times but if you did it every time they shifted they'd have to do something about it.
 
4 days ago  
It drives me crazy how batters adamantly refuse to bunt down an empty third base line for a gift single.
 
4 days ago  

Konowalchuk22: It drives me crazy how batters adamantly refuse to bunt down an empty third base line for a gift single.


Cripes, Olbermann broke that down four farking years ago.

Tough Shift!
Youtube YUqLq6EJwBA
 
4 days ago  
If I made $6 million a year doing whatever I felt like doing and the boss said it was good enough because everyone else bats within .030 points of me, I wouldn't bother learning from a good hitting coach either.  Ichiro could still outhit 75% of MLB players of any age.  And he's.... I dunno, almost my age.
 
4 days ago  

Marcus Aurelius: /looking at you ryan howard


To be fair to Ryan, it's even easier to completely miss low-and-away sliders while bunting compared to just swinging wildly at them. (Seriously, during the last 2 or 3 years of his career, I was actively wondering about the intelligence of any pitcher that threw him a fastball anywhere close to the strike zone.)
 
4 days ago  
Letting a power hitter bunt one down the line for a single isn't much different than not giving him something to hit and settling for the walk.  You're still taking away his biggest strength.

So thinking that having guys beat the shift by bunting will somehow ultimately get rid of the shift isn't very realistic.
 
4 days ago  

Uzzah: Gubbo: Either it's really hard. Or by god they play a certain way and nothing will convince them to play a slightly different way for just a short little time then you can go back to the way you want to play.

I read the first two, and the gist was "Singles are boring. I wanna hit line drives!"

Getting on base > out. Their argument is that a low-probability of hitting a double through the shift > getting on base. That's the sort of pig-headed thinking that gets you shifted on in the first place.


It's funny how they cite "shifting all because of metrics and analysis," and even though the very first rule of Sabremetrics is "singles are infinitely better than outs", their only reaction is "my gut tells me to wallop home runs."
 
4 days ago  

You Are All Sheep: heaven forbid these egomaniacs bunt the opposite way some time.

I realize it happens some times but if you did it every time they shifted they'd have to do something about it.


Konowalchuk22: It drives me crazy how batters adamantly refuse to bunt down an empty third base line for a gift single.


You know how I know you guys didn't read the article?
 
4 days ago  

snowshovel: Uzzah: Gubbo: Either it's really hard. Or by god they play a certain way and nothing will convince them to play a slightly different way for just a short little time then you can go back to the way you want to play.

I read the first two, and the gist was "Singles are boring. I wanna hit line drives!"

Getting on base > out. Their argument is that a low-probability of hitting a double through the shift > getting on base. That's the sort of pig-headed thinking that gets you shifted on in the first place.

It's funny how they cite "shifting all because of metrics and analysis," and even though the very first rule of Sabremetrics is "singles are infinitely better than outs", their only reaction is "my gut tells me to wallop home runs."


Sabremetrics is how we ended up with One True Outcome (K-BB-HR) guys. Rob Deer was born too early.
 
4 days ago  
Laughs at the comments in this thread:

img.fark.netView Full Size
 
4 days ago  
Adaptation to the shift will take a few years.  Any of these changes take a few years for the players to either successfully change their games or be replaced by new players that have the newly required skill set.  Some present day players did not develop into major leaguers with the skill set of hitting against the shift.  They were successful hitting against conventional defense alignments.  They will adapt or be replaced.  That is the baseball way.
 
4 days ago  

Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadu: Letting a power hitter bunt one down the line for a single isn't much different than not giving him something to hit and settling for the walk.  You're still taking away his biggest strength.

So thinking that having guys beat the shift by bunting will somehow ultimately get rid of the shift isn't very realistic.


Expecting a power hitter to learn how to pull the ball IS realistic however.
 
4 days ago  

pissnmoan: Adaptation to the shift will take a few years.  Any of these changes take a few years for the players to either successfully change their games or be replaced by new players that have the newly required skill set.  Some present day players did not develop into major leaguers with the skill set of hitting against the shift.  They were successful hitting against conventional defense alignments.  They will adapt or be replaced.  That is the baseball way.


Hitting the other way is a valuable skill set to have for any hitter, not just when the shift is on. The Cubs recently had a rally where they had like 4-5 straight singles with runners on 1st and 3rd, and I think they were all hit to the opposite field. It was beautiful to watch, and on some level, I think it's more dispiriting to the defense than a couple of home runs would be.
 
4 days ago  

Jim from Saint Paul: Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadu: Letting a power hitter bunt one down the line for a single isn't much different than not giving him something to hit and settling for the walk.  You're still taking away his biggest strength.

So thinking that having guys beat the shift by bunting will somehow ultimately get rid of the shift isn't very realistic.

Expecting a power hitter to learn how to pull the ball IS realistic however.


Even if he is great at it, he will never be able to consistently pull ground ball hits. Sure he could probably increase his average, but it would lead to far fewer extra base hits. Which the stats people seem pretty confidant leads to fewer runs.

There will be some changes over time, but you are never going to see big power hitters consistently hunting or trying to hit ground balls through the shift.
 
4 days ago  
Miguel Cabrera laughs at your shifts. Or at least he'll start laughing again next spring.

img.fark.netView Full Size
 
4 days ago  

dywed88: Jim from Saint Paul: Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadu: Letting a power hitter bunt one down the line for a single isn't much different than not giving him something to hit and settling for the walk.  You're still taking away his biggest strength.

So thinking that having guys beat the shift by bunting will somehow ultimately get rid of the shift isn't very realistic.

Expecting a power hitter to learn how to pull the ball IS realistic however.

Even if he is great at it, he will never be able to consistently pull ground ball hits. Sure he could probably increase his average, but it would lead to far fewer extra base hits. Which the stats people seem pretty confidant leads to fewer runs.

There will be some changes over time, but you are never going to see big power hitters consistently hunting or trying to hit ground balls through the shift.


Adapt or lose your value. Just don't complain about it is all I ask.
 
4 days ago  

Jim from Saint Paul: Expecting a power hitter to learn how to pull the ball IS realistic however.


It's not about pulling the ball since we're primarily talking about lefties.  It's about hitting the ball to the opposite side of the infield, which is much harder done than said, especially when the pitcher can throw it to spots that make it much more difficult to hit the other way.

I think we'll see batters try to adapt as long as this continues, but the advantage will still remain with the defense.
 
4 days ago  

snowshovel: Uzzah: Gubbo: Either it's really hard. Or by god they play a certain way and nothing will convince them to play a slightly different way for just a short little time then you can go back to the way you want to play.

I read the first two, and the gist was "Singles are boring. I wanna hit line drives!"

Getting on base > out. Their argument is that a low-probability of hitting a double through the shift > getting on base. That's the sort of pig-headed thinking that gets you shifted on in the first place.

It's funny how they cite "shifting all because of metrics and analysis," and even though the very first rule of Sabremetrics is "singles are infinitely better than outs", their only reaction is "my gut tells me to wallop home runs."


Sock a few Dingers
Youtube _Vocj9IwcRk
 
4 days ago  
LEARN TO FARKING BUNT.

Seriously, that's how you beat the shift (this basically applies just to left handed batters, but they usually get shifted the worst).  If nobody is covering the left side of the field, lay down a bunt down the third base line for a base hit.  Continue to do this until they stop shifting you.
 
4 days ago  
All of the people talking about bunting have no idea what they're talking about.
 
4 days ago  

Geotpf: LEARN TO FARKING BUNT.

Seriously, that's how you beat the shift (this basically applies just to left handed batters, but they usually get shifted the worst).  If nobody is covering the left side of the field, lay down a bunt down the third base line for a base hit.  Continue to do this until they stop shifting you.


RTFA
In most situations teams will gladly give up the bunt.  That will not get rid of the shift.
 
4 days ago  

Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadu: Geotpf: LEARN TO FARKING BUNT.

Seriously, that's how you beat the shift (this basically applies just to left handed batters, but they usually get shifted the worst).  If nobody is covering the left side of the field, lay down a bunt down the third base line for a base hit.  Continue to do this until they stop shifting you.

RTFA
In most situations teams will gladly give up the bunt.  That will not get rid of the shift.


The people quoted in the article are a bunch of players who don't want to bunt.

Assuming you are good at bunting (this takes tons of practice), you are reasonably fast, and there's nobody guarding the line due to the shift, the success rate for bunting for a base hit is very high.  Getting on base is step one to scoring.  Obviously, how good a player you are otherwise, how good the rest of your team is, how good the other team is, who's pitching, the count, the inning, the score, who's on base if anybody, number of outs, the weather, the time of day, etc., are factors in deciding whether to bunt, but it should be done to beat the shift a hell of a lot more often than currently happens.
 
4 days ago  

Geotpf: the success rate for bunting for a base hit is very high


This is not true
 
4 days ago  

Geotpf: Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadu: Geotpf: LEARN TO FARKING BUNT.

Seriously, that's how you beat the shift (this basically applies just to left handed batters, but they usually get shifted the worst).  If nobody is covering the left side of the field, lay down a bunt down the third base line for a base hit.  Continue to do this until they stop shifting you.

RTFA
In most situations teams will gladly give up the bunt.  That will not get rid of the shift.

The people quoted in the article are a bunch of players who don't want to bunt.

Assuming you are good at bunting (this takes tons of practice), you are reasonably fast, and there's nobody guarding the line due to the shift, the success rate for bunting for a base hit is very high.  Getting on base is step one to scoring.  Obviously, how good a player you are otherwise, how good the rest of your team is, how good the other team is, who's pitching, the count, the inning, the score, who's on base if anybody, number of outs, the weather, the time of day, etc., are factors in deciding whether to bunt, but it should be done to beat the shift a hell of a lot more often than currently happens.


Even if the success rate of bunts is as high as is 50%, it is a big trade off to give up chances of your best hitters to get extra base hits.
 
4 days ago  

MugzyBrown: Geotpf: the success rate for bunting for a base hit is very high

This is not true


Assuming you are good at bunting (this takes tons of practice), you are reasonably fast, and there's nobody guarding the line due to the shift
 
4 days ago  

dywed88: Geotpf: Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadu: Geotpf: LEARN TO FARKING BUNT.

Seriously, that's how you beat the shift (this basically applies just to left handed batters, but they usually get shifted the worst).  If nobody is covering the left side of the field, lay down a bunt down the third base line for a base hit.  Continue to do this until they stop shifting you.

RTFA
In most situations teams will gladly give up the bunt.  That will not get rid of the shift.

The people quoted in the article are a bunch of players who don't want to bunt.

Assuming you are good at bunting (this takes tons of practice), you are reasonably fast, and there's nobody guarding the line due to the shift, the success rate for bunting for a base hit is very high.  Getting on base is step one to scoring.  Obviously, how good a player you are otherwise, how good the rest of your team is, how good the other team is, who's pitching, the count, the inning, the score, who's on base if anybody, number of outs, the weather, the time of day, etc., are factors in deciding whether to bunt, but it should be done to beat the shift a hell of a lot more often than currently happens.

Even if the success rate of bunts is as high as is 50%, it is a big trade off to give up chances of your best hitters to get extra base hits.


The assumption here is that the hitter won't get lots of doubles or traditional singles due to the shift.  Basically home run, walk, or out, with not much else.  Now, if they are a top home run hitter, that might be okay (getting a homer every 12-20 at bats or so).  But that means a lot of 0 for 4s and 1 for 5s.
 
4 days ago  

Geotpf: Assuming you are good at bunting (this takes tons of practice), you are reasonably fast, and there's nobody guarding the line due to the shift


Even good bunters can fail to put down the bunt.

So you're taking a stud slugger who isn't fast. Wasting his time on bunting practice for a ~30-40% chance he'll success to bunt and get on 1B.  That's not good strategy and the opposing team is hoping you'll take it.
 
4 days ago  
FTFA, Daniel Murphy broke it down as such:  he'd rather start on 2nd base, making it easier for a teammate to drive him in.  I say that's crap, but then again I have irrational sports hate for Daniel Murphy.  But I understand his logic.  Not saying he's right, but I get it.
However, if I see Kyle Schwarber trying to bunt against the shift in the 9th and down 1, remotes might get thrown at the TV.  It's all about the situation is what I'm trying to say.
 
4 days ago  
They aren't leaving left field empty with 0 out and nobody on base.
 
4 days ago  

MugzyBrown: Geotpf: Assuming you are good at bunting (this takes tons of practice), you are reasonably fast, and there's nobody guarding the line due to the shift

Even good bunters can fail to put down the bunt.

So you're taking a stud slugger who isn't fast. Wasting his time on bunting practice for a ~30-40% chance he'll success to bunt and get on 1B.  That's not good strategy and the opposing team is hoping you'll take it.


If you hit a home run at least once every 20 at bats, or are slow, no, bunting against the shift probably is the wrong move (except to shake things up every once in awhile, perhaps).  But if you homer half as much and are reasonably quick, that's a lot different.  A lot of people in the second category don't.
 
4 days ago  

Geotpf: dywed88: Geotpf: Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadu: Geotpf: LEARN TO FARKING BUNT.

Seriously, that's how you beat the shift (this basically applies just to left handed batters, but they usually get shifted the worst).  If nobody is covering the left side of the field, lay down a bunt down the third base line for a base hit.  Continue to do this until they stop shifting you.

RTFA
In most situations teams will gladly give up the bunt.  That will not get rid of the shift.

The people quoted in the article are a bunch of players who don't want to bunt.

Assuming you are good at bunting (this takes tons of practice), you are reasonably fast, and there's nobody guarding the line due to the shift, the success rate for bunting for a base hit is very high.  Getting on base is step one to scoring.  Obviously, how good a player you are otherwise, how good the rest of your team is, how good the other team is, who's pitching, the count, the inning, the score, who's on base if anybody, number of outs, the weather, the time of day, etc., are factors in deciding whether to bunt, but it should be done to beat the shift a hell of a lot more often than currently happens.

Even if the success rate of bunts is as high as is 50%, it is a big trade off to give up chances of your best hitters to get extra base hits.

The assumption here is that the hitter won't get lots of doubles or traditional singles due to the shift.  Basically home run, walk, or out, with not much else.  Now, if they are a top home run hitter, that might be okay (getting a homer every 12-20 at bats or so).  But that means a lot of 0 for 4s and 1 for 5s.


Except it isn't nearly that extreme.

The shift only affects ground balls and low line drives. Fly balls and drives to the outfield are not impacted by it. So that fly ball into the gap or drive down the line is still a double. Those bloopers over the infield are still singles as well. It isn't "out or HR".
 
4 days ago  

dywed88: Geotpf: dywed88: Geotpf: Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadu: Geotpf: LEARN TO FARKING BUNT.

Seriously, that's how you beat the shift (this basically applies just to left handed batters, but they usually get shifted the worst).  If nobody is covering the left side of the field, lay down a bunt down the third base line for a base hit.  Continue to do this until they stop shifting you.

RTFA
In most situations teams will gladly give up the bunt.  That will not get rid of the shift.

The people quoted in the article are a bunch of players who don't want to bunt.

Assuming you are good at bunting (this takes tons of practice), you are reasonably fast, and there's nobody guarding the line due to the shift, the success rate for bunting for a base hit is very high.  Getting on base is step one to scoring.  Obviously, how good a player you are otherwise, how good the rest of your team is, how good the other team is, who's pitching, the count, the inning, the score, who's on base if anybody, number of outs, the weather, the time of day, etc., are factors in deciding whether to bunt, but it should be done to beat the shift a hell of a lot more often than currently happens.

Even if the success rate of bunts is as high as is 50%, it is a big trade off to give up chances of your best hitters to get extra base hits.

The assumption here is that the hitter won't get lots of doubles or traditional singles due to the shift.  Basically home run, walk, or out, with not much else.  Now, if they are a top home run hitter, that might be okay (getting a homer every 12-20 at bats or so).  But that means a lot of 0 for 4s and 1 for 5s.

Except it isn't nearly that extreme.

The shift only affects ground balls and low line drives. Fly balls and drives to the outfield are not impacted by it. So that fly ball into the gap or drive down the line is still a double. Those bloopers over the infield are still singles as well. It isn't "out or HR".


There are shifts in the outfield as well, as well as weird things like this (Astros versus Joey Gallo of the Rangers on opening day):

pbs.twimg.comView Full Size


If you come to bat, and you see this, bunting down the third base line make a lot of farking sense, IMHO.
 
4 days ago  

Geotpf: dywed88: Geotpf: dywed88: Geotpf: Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadu: Geotpf: LEARN TO FARKING BUNT.

Seriously, that's how you beat the shift (this basically applies just to left handed batters, but they usually get shifted the worst).  If nobody is covering the left side of the field, lay down a bunt down the third base line for a base hit.  Continue to do this until they stop shifting you.

RTFA
In most situations teams will gladly give up the bunt.  That will not get rid of the shift.

The people quoted in the article are a bunch of players who don't want to bunt.

Assuming you are good at bunting (this takes tons of practice), you are reasonably fast, and there's nobody guarding the line due to the shift, the success rate for bunting for a base hit is very high.  Getting on base is step one to scoring.  Obviously, how good a player you are otherwise, how good the rest of your team is, how good the other team is, who's pitching, the count, the inning, the score, who's on base if anybody, number of outs, the weather, the time of day, etc., are factors in deciding whether to bunt, but it should be done to beat the shift a hell of a lot more often than currently happens.

Even if the success rate of bunts is as high as is 50%, it is a big trade off to give up chances of your best hitters to get extra base hits.

The assumption here is that the hitter won't get lots of doubles or traditional singles due to the shift.  Basically home run, walk, or out, with not much else.  Now, if they are a top home run hitter, that might be okay (getting a homer every 12-20 at bats or so).  But that means a lot of 0 for 4s and 1 for 5s.

Except it isn't nearly that extreme.

The shift only affects ground balls and low line drives. Fly balls and drives to the outfield are not impacted by it. So that fly ball into the gap or drive down the line is still a double. Those bloopers over the infield are still singles as well. It isn't "out or HR".

There are shifts in the outfield as well, as well as weird things like this (Astros versus Joey Gallo of the Rangers on opening day):

[pbs.twimg.com image 850x786]

If you come to bat, and you see this, bunting down the third base line make a lot of farking sense, IMHO.


There are some exceptions, but when people refer to the shift they usually mean just the infield.

Something like your that outfielder shift will cut down on extra base hits but allow more singles through the right side. If the team is doing that, they would be happy for the hitter to have a .600 average if he only got singles.
 
4 days ago  

Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadu: Jim from Saint Paul: Expecting a power hitter to learn how to pull the ball IS realistic however.

It's not about pulling the ball since we're primarily talking about lefties.  It's about hitting the ball to the opposite side of the infield, which is much harder done than said, especially when the pitcher can throw it to spots that make it much more difficult to hit the other way.

I think we'll see batters try to adapt as long as this continues, but the advantage will still remain with the defense.


It's not hard to lift your outside elbow 2 inches as you swing, is it?
 
4 days ago  

johnny_stingray: Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadu: Jim from Saint Paul: Expecting a power hitter to learn how to pull the ball IS realistic however.

It's not about pulling the ball since we're primarily talking about lefties.  It's about hitting the ball to the opposite side of the infield, which is much harder done than said, especially when the pitcher can throw it to spots that make it much more difficult to hit the other way.

I think we'll see batters try to adapt as long as this continues, but the advantage will still remain with the defense.

It's not hard to lift your outside elbow 2 inches as you swing, is it?


yes, you've clearly figured this all out.
 
4 days ago  

Konowalchuk22: It drives me crazy how batters adamantly refuse to bunt down an empty third base line for a gift single.


I agree, but what if you're Victor Martinez? They shift on him all the time but he's the slowest player on the Tigers.
 
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