Both Rollins and Barmes were surprised to hear that BABIP on grounders was up, but they also said that ground ball data wasn’t the whole story when it comes to the utility of shifting.
Rollins shook his head, “Hmm, yeah, you’d expect the [ground ball] numbers to be down.” After taking a moment to consider how to explain what was going on, he asked, “What about line drives?” I didn’t have an answer because I hadn’t thought about what suddenly appeared obvious. “I’ve seen so many line drives right past the first baseman and that third or second baseman is sitting there in that hole, and you’re saying, ‘It’s not fair.’
“From what I see, looking at line drives may be the place to look [for the effectiveness of the shift]. I mean, we see it with Ryan [Howard], [Domonic] Brown a little bit, and balls that come off that bat, he’s like, ‘Yes!’ and the guy’s sitting there,” Rollins continued, jokingly adding, “And that should be illegal, it’s stacking the field.”
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