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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

‘Ungodly’ Joey Votto forces Cubs to think outside the box with four-outfielder shift | CSN Chicago

This is a shift you don’t see every day.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 15, 2017 at 08:40 AM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, joey votto, reds, shifts

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   1. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:24 AM (#5513462)
Pretty hard to hit a double into that kind of shift.
   2. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:30 AM (#5513470)
Disagree. Statistically every time a team has shifted like that this year it has resulted in a double. 100% of the time. That is a statistical certainty!

The fact that he doubled aside that is a situation where Votto should be bunting. Down 5, leading off the inning...just take the freebie and try and get a big inning started.
   3. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:33 AM (#5513475)
How about linking to an article with an actual picture?
   4. Davoice of Dapeople Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:37 AM (#5513476)
   5. KronicFatigue Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:45 AM (#5513481)
I don't get it, why aren't players bunting to break up the shift? I could almost understand an old Jason Giambi being too slow and too stubborn to learn how to bunt. Ditto David Ortiz. But shifts are a mainstream defensive strategy at this point. Every player on every team, in every system, should be getting comfortable learning how to bunt to third. Not perfect dribblers hugging the line. Just little taps to the side of the infield where there are no defensive players.

This is a teachable skill. Do it a few times, and you've removed the shift from your opponents repertoire. I'm losing my mind seeing hitters refuse to adapt.

EDIT: I'll retract slightly after seeing the picture. 3rd base isn't fully open in this shift. He'd have to be a decent bunter in this instance. I'm a little suprised the 4 outfielders are lined up, as I would have guessed one would be a shortfielder to cover more ground.
   6. Nasty Nate Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:46 AM (#5513483)
In somewhat related news, Anthony Rizzo has gained 2B-eligibility in some fantasy leagues because he has reached 10 games at that position (supposedly), even though he only totals 4.1 innings. What circumstances cause him to be recorded as a 2B? Is it just a shift, or does he actually swap mitts with the other player for a batter here and there?
   7. Man o' Schwar Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:48 AM (#5513485)
This was the craziest thing, but I really liked it. And yet Votto said \"#### you" and got a hit anyway.

I will happily accept 3 hits for Votto in each game, so long as the Cubs also score 15 runs in each game.
   8. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:49 AM (#5513486)
In somewhat related news, Anthony Rizzo has gained 2B-eligibility in some fantasy leagues because he has reached 10 games at that position (supposedly), even though he only totals 4.1 innings. What circumstances cause him to be recorded as a 2B? Is it just a shift, or does he actually swap mitts with the other player for a batter here and there?

A manager complained last year so, yes, it's a shift but he actually takes off his first base mitt.
   9. TDF, FCL Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:49 AM (#5513487)
I don't get it, why aren't players bunting to break up the shift? I could almost understand an old Jason Giambi being too slow and too stubborn to learn how to bunt. Ditto David Ortiz. But shifts are a mainstream defensive strategy at this point. Every player on every team, in every system, should be getting comfortable learning how to bunt to third. Not perfect dribblers hugging the line. Just little taps to the side of the infield where there are no defensive players.

This is a teachable skill. Do it a few times, and you've removed the shift from your opponents repertoire. I'm losing my mind seeing hitters refuse to adapt.
Teams would love it if they could get Votto to bunt every time he came up.
   10. Man o' Schwar Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:49 AM (#5513488)
In somewhat related news, Anthony Rizzo has gained 2B-eligibility in some fantasy leagues because he has reached 10 games at that position (supposedly), even though he only totals 4.1 innings. What circumstances cause him to be recorded as a 2B? Is it just a shift, or does he actually swap mitts with the other player for a batter here and there?

It happens on bunt plays - they do a shift where he switches to be the 2B, and the 2B covers first, so that Rizzo can play way in in hopes of getting the force out at 2nd. I guess some umpires have forced the Cubs to designate him as the 2B because he's so far out of position for a 1B.
   11. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:51 AM (#5513490)
Well not exactly a shift. I've only seen them do it in bunt situations.
   12. Nasty Nate Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:52 AM (#5513491)
Teams would love it if they could get Votto to bunt every time he came up.
Not if he was getting a single 80% of the time.
   13. Man o' Schwar Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:53 AM (#5513492)
I don't get it, why aren't players bunting to break up the shift? I could almost understand an old Jason Giambi being too slow and too stubborn to learn how to bunt. Ditto David Ortiz. But shifts are a mainstream defensive strategy at this point. Every player on every team, in every system, should be getting comfortable learning how to bunt to third. Not perfect dribblers hugging the line. Just little taps to the side of the infield where there are no defensive players.


Rizzo has done it more than a few times this year. He seems fairly adept at just half-swinging a ball down the 3rd base line for a single.

I don't know that it's stopped any teams from shifting on him, and I know at least once he got the ball a little too far off the line and was thrown out.
   14. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:53 AM (#5513494)
or does he actually swap mitts with the other player for a batter here and there?


Yes. In some bunting situations, Rizzo plays way in and the 2B covers first. In those situations, the 2B is the official 1B, and so Rizzo has to be a regualr IF glove and is the official 2B. Since Rizzo is a LHT, he can't just swap gloves, he has to get one off the bench.
   15. isaacc7 Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:54 AM (#5513495)
Rizzo has indeed swapped gloves several times, usually with Baez covering first. It's a really aggressive bunt defense. I'm not sure why they don't have Baez covering the bunt though. A manager complained that Rizzo shouldn't be able to use a first baseman's mitt if he isn't going to cover first so now they have to juggle gloves whenever that defensive alignment comes up.
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:56 AM (#5513502)
Thanks guys. I would think he would prefer to have a regular glove in that situation, but he might be just more comfortable with his usual mitt due to familiarity.
   17. PreservedFish Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:57 AM (#5513504)
This is so cool. I love it.
   18. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:57 AM (#5513505)
Not if he was getting a single 80% of the time.


There's no way that Votto could get a single 80% of the time by slapping the ball to the left side. Maybe an outstanding bunter like Brett Butler could.
   19. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: August 15, 2017 at 11:02 AM (#5513513)
It wouldn't even have to be a bunt, just a weak groundball away from the shift would do it. Of course the shift is on BECAUSE these players cannot (or at least do not) hit it that way.

Votto is a boss, of course. What a hitter.
   20. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: August 15, 2017 at 11:02 AM (#5513516)
Pretty hard to hit a double into that kind of shift.

Well nigh impossible!
   21. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 15, 2017 at 11:09 AM (#5513525)
The funny thing is that the Cubs shift less than anyone else (or are near the bottom, I forget exactly where they stand now), but when they do it's extreme things like this. Well, this is the first time they've done this one, but the bunt one everyone else talks about happens quite frequently*. Maddon was one of the early shift adopters, and he's stayed consistent in how often he shifts while the rest of the league completely embraced it. I do think teams overshift - I don't think Rizzo and Bryant should automatically get the 3 guys on one side shift they do the 90% of the time - so I like to think (since I can't prove it) that the Cubs are just shifting smarter than most teams.

*I think the reason why this aggressive defense works so well is because of the way the batter reacts to having Rizzo charging home hard on the pitch. It has to be distracting for them.
   22. A triple short of the cycle Posted: August 15, 2017 at 11:13 AM (#5513526)
Not if he was getting a single 80% of the time.

If he singled on just over 50% of them, he would match his current OPS of 1.050.
   23. SoSH U at work Posted: August 15, 2017 at 11:26 AM (#5513535)
If he singled on just over 50% of them, he would match his current OPS of 1.050.


With the greater value of OBP compared with SLG, he probably wouldn't need to do it half the time (and, of course, such an approach wouldn't prevent him from walking).






   24. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 15, 2017 at 11:47 AM (#5513555)
I'm not sure why they don't have Baez covering the bunt though.

They probably prefer the LHT Rizzo attempting a throw to 2B rather than a RHT like Baez. Much more natural for a LHT to pick up a bunt and fire to second, a RHT could have to spin his whole body.

   25. JAHV Posted: August 15, 2017 at 12:04 PM (#5513569)
Rizzo has indeed swapped gloves several times, usually with Baez covering first. It's a really aggressive bunt defense. I'm not sure why they don't have Baez covering the bunt though.


The same reason you don't let left handed throwers play any infield position other than first base. The throw across the infield forces them to completely turn their body. In this case, you want the left hander fielding the ball so he can make a quick throw to second or third.

Edit: Coke to Barry's
   26. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 15, 2017 at 12:13 PM (#5513579)
Baez isn't always the 2b on those plays - it's also Zobrist. I'd also rather have Rizzo making the decision on which base to throw to than Javy.
   27. KronicFatigue Posted: August 15, 2017 at 12:15 PM (#5513581)
(and, of course, such an approach wouldn't prevent him from walking).


We haven't seen the skill developed, let alone utilized, but my gut says that developing a half-swing to third could create a higher contact rate than a normal swing. In my mind's eye, I see a modified cricket defensive swing that could lead to a lot of strike-two fouls. I'm sure defenses would un-shift with two strikes, but even then you're back to having the hitter bat against a defense that's more to his liking.
   28. TDF, FCL Posted: August 15, 2017 at 12:27 PM (#5513590)
All of this talk of shifts - remember, this was a "shift an extra guy into the outfield", not a "shift a guy from the left hand side of the infield to the right". While unsaid, the strategy was likely to keep Votto from driving a ball into the power alleys.

Because I don't think the latter shift would be very effective against Votto.
   29. Nero Wolfe, Indeed Posted: August 15, 2017 at 01:03 PM (#5513628)
Just looking at it from the link above, with a power hitting lefty at the plate, I'd want to cover more of the right field foul line than Maddon is doing there. I'm not trying to Monday-morning-QB, but it just seems like that alignment is begging the batter to pull the ball down the line for a double.
   30. Rough Carrigan Posted: August 15, 2017 at 01:48 PM (#5513688)
Maddon did this against David Ortiz years ago. The joke was that the Rays were playing the same 3-4 defense as the Patriots.
   31. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: August 15, 2017 at 02:18 PM (#5513728)
Yeah looking at the actual picture of the shift they used, I don't see how Votto has a gimme bunt there, even if he was a good bunter and reasonably fast. There is no gaping huge hole there waiting to be exploited by even a mediocre effort. There is just no way he gets even close to 50% success rate on those. Probably not close to 30% either.
   32. Walt Davis Posted: August 15, 2017 at 06:13 PM (#5513946)
Has anybody looked at whether the Cubs shift more depending on the IF they have in the game? Bryant, Russell, Baez is an IF with a fairly ridiculous amount of range so you don't necessarily need to shift (much) to provide better coverage of the 2B hole while giving up the 3B line. With Zobrist at 2B (or recently with Russell on the DL and Baez at SS), it might make more sense to shift (more dramatically).
   33. cardsfanboy Posted: August 15, 2017 at 07:53 PM (#5514026)
I don't get it, why aren't players bunting to break up the shift? I could almost understand an old Jason Giambi being too slow and too stubborn to learn how to bunt. Ditto David Ortiz. But shifts are a mainstream defensive strategy at this point. Every player on every team, in every system, should be getting comfortable learning how to bunt to third. Not perfect dribblers hugging the line. Just little taps to the side of the infield where there are no defensive players.


For the Cardinals, Carpenter likes to drop a bunt once in a while against the shift.... Carpenter is 3 for 5 on Bunts, with a sacrifice..... and was 1 for 3 last year (with 3 sacrifices)

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