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Sunday, April 13, 2014

NY Times: Kepner: A Rapidly Shifting Philosophy of Infield Play

Teams shifted about 2,400 times in 2010 and 2011, said Ben Jedlovec, a vice president for the company, and about 4,500 times in 2012. Last season, the total jumped to about 8,100, and teams are on pace for 13,000 shifts in 2014.

“Clint Hurdle said nine of 10 balls up the middle used to be hits — and now, two of 10 are,” said Detroit Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski, referring to the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. “It just shows how different it is.”

Dombrowski’s Tigers are using more shifts under their new manager, Brad Ausmus, but they are not alone. Entering the weekend, data showed that 23 of the 30 teams were on pace to deploy more shifts than they did last year.

Milwaukee’s Scooter Gennett (2) came up with his nickname based on his favorite Muppets character.

bobm Posted: April 13, 2014 at 01:47 PM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: muppets, shift

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   1. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 06:53 PM (#4685619)
How can you trust someone whose favorite muppet is Scooter?
   2. BDC Posted: April 13, 2014 at 07:04 PM (#4685624)
For a middle infielder to nickname himself Scooter after a muppet is like a painter nicknaming himself Raphael after a ninja turtle.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: April 13, 2014 at 08:56 PM (#4685671)
#1 and #2 ... I will grant him some slack if he was <= 6 years old when the nickname was bestowed. Still, even by 6, you should have a better favorite muppet.
   4. cardsfanboy Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:02 PM (#4685672)
Obviously Michael Wacha gets Fozzie, but what other players would be muppets?
   5. bjhanke Posted: April 14, 2014 at 11:26 AM (#4685879)
Just a reality check - Is there an increase in infield range factors for teams who shift? That's really the only advantage of the shift; you're trying to turn singles into outs, at the cost of opening up your defensive on the left side. When you do that, your assists from your middle infielders must increase for the tactic to pay off. I'm not saying that it does not work; but I am saying that the reality check would be a good idea. - Brock Hanke
   6. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: April 14, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4685902)
what other players would be muppets?

Cookie Monster = Prince Fielder
   7. bobm Posted: April 14, 2014 at 12:09 PM (#4685905)
   8. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 14, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4685918)
“Clint Hurdle said nine of 10 balls up the middle used to be hits — and now, two of 10 are,” said Detroit Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski, referring to the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. “It just shows how different it is.”


Well hell, if CLINT HURDLE says it, it MUST be true.
   9. Karl from NY Posted: April 14, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4685994)
Randy Johnson's schnozz = Gonzo

Animal = pretty much anyone from the 2013 Red Sox

Don Zimmer = Bunsen Honeydew

Johnny Damon = Floyd Pepper
   10. . . . . . . . . . . Posted: April 14, 2014 at 03:47 PM (#4686053)
Shawn Green = Kermit
   11. bfan Posted: April 14, 2014 at 04:49 PM (#4686094)
Is there an increase in infield range factors for teams who shift?


Shouldn't BABIP be going down? I know 9 of 10 to 2 of 10 (balls up the middle, as hits) is an over-statement, but shouldn't there be a pretty dramatic drop if this is really working?
   12. AROM Posted: April 14, 2014 at 05:01 PM (#4686110)
Cookie Monster = Prince Fielder


He'll have to fight David Ortiz for that one.
   13. gehrig97 Posted: April 14, 2014 at 05:08 PM (#4686116)
Warning: Tiny sample, anecdotal "evidence" ahead:

Brian McCann has been KILLED by the shift in the early going. I've seen him laser a line drive into right field three times--only to have the second baseman scoop it up and throw him out at first. This isn't "the second baseman playing deep, on the edge of the outfield grass" -- this is short rightfield, 25 feet beyond the edge of the infield.

   14. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 14, 2014 at 06:01 PM (#4686148)
David Ortiz == Grimace

Should defensive efficiency be the biggest number changed by the shift, rather than individual ranges?
   15. cardsfanboy Posted: April 14, 2014 at 06:10 PM (#4686152)
Shouldn't BABIP be going down? I know 9 of 10 to 2 of 10 (balls up the middle, as hits) is an over-statement, but shouldn't there be a pretty dramatic drop if this is really working?


I've argued that it's ISO that is going to take the hit, for every guy who doesn't adjust like McCann, you will get a Matt Adams who just exploits the crap out of it. Sacrificing power for the base hit.
   16. bfan Posted: April 14, 2014 at 06:17 PM (#4686154)
I've argued that it's ISO that is going to take the hit, for every guy who doesn't adjust like McCann, you will get a Matt Adams who just exploits the crap out of it.


That could be true too, but if it is effective, then the effectiveness has to show up somewhere.
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: April 14, 2014 at 06:25 PM (#4686158)
David Ortiz == Grimace


And here I was going to go with Miss Piggy for Ortiz...Grimace is much better even if he's not a muppet.

Frank Thomas and Goose Gossage would work as Statler and Waldorf.
Lincecum as Zoot or Janice.
Puig has to be Animal.
Luke Scott as Sam the Eagle.
Braun as Dr Bunsen Honeydew
Arod as Beaker.
Jeter as Gonzo.
Thome as Big Bird(Big but nice guy)



   18. cardsfanboy Posted: April 14, 2014 at 06:36 PM (#4686160)
That could be true too, but if it is effective, then the effectiveness has to show up somewhere.


Agreed. Intuitively babip would be the first place you would expect it to show up, and Walt has shown (in another thread) that there doesn't seem to be much going on with it there, but of course it would help if we could identify the teams which are doing it versus those that don't. If not in babip, then ISO could be the next thing it might show up in.

From limited experience, I don't think it has made the impact on the game that some people are acting like it has.
   19. RickG Posted: April 15, 2014 at 08:29 AM (#4686354)
Adam Eaton as the ever-eager Bean Bunny.
Nick Swisher (White Sox months) as Waldo, the Spirit of 3-D.

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