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Dylan Carlson Newsbeat

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Analyzing the early returns from the Blue Jays’ unorthodox defensive experiment

Not only are the Blue Jays moving fielders around in a general sense, they are making a particular commitment to four-outfielder alignments. In Montoyo’s first year as manager they threw an extra man into the outfield on just 38 pitches, and that number has shot up recently.

While it’s far from the team’s most common defensive alignment, it’s become an important card up the Blue Jays’ sleeve — and they’re by far the league’s biggest proponents of the unorthodox defence. Only six teams haven’t tried it in 2022, and the other five have combined to throw fewer pitches with a four-man outfield (289) than the Blue Jays.

If Toronto is going to be an extreme outlier on the 3-4 defence, it’s worth asking how effective that’s been. The sample is small, but the overall numbers aren’t particularly encouraging. Of the 80 balls in play with a four-man outfielder, 29 have fallen in for hits — good for a .363 BABIP.

That sounds grim, but it’s not a fair way to judge the alignment because it doesn’t take into account what would’ve happened if the Blue Jays were playing a more conventional defence instead. Digging through footage of all of these hits, it’s clear that there are only three that straight-up positioning was significantly more likely to convert into outs.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 25, 2022 at 03:12 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, dylan carlson



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