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Tuesday, June 07, 2022

‘Damn, that should be a hit’: MLB players sound off on the infield shift—before it could disappear forever

“An anti-shift rule would restore a traditional aesthetic and make the game more familiar and relatable for fans who grew up knowing intuitively where the shortstop and second baseman play and what a sure base hit looks like off the bat,” Epstein wrote.

Even pitchers—who certainly benefit from the defense the shift provides—can cede to that point.

“I don’t ever feel sorry for hitters. My biggest complaint about the shift is, how do you explain that to kids?” said Chicago Cubs reliever David Robertson. “What’s the point of having a shortstop if he can’t play shortstop? What’s the point of having a second baseman if he can’t play second?”

Epstein also pointed to a “premium on range and athleticism for infielders” that would return with the shift’s departure.

“In last year’s Double-A and AFL anti-shift experiments, infielders loved playing with more freedom and room to roam—and we saw lots of athletic, rangy plays that you don’t see quite as often in a shift-heavy league with infielders bunched up,” he wrote.

At points. At Triple-A—where shifts are not banned—it is up only three points. Some might debate just how much offense will be added, but there’s little doubt among those who play or manage that it will have an effect.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 07, 2022 at 12:20 PM | 76 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: shifts

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   1. catomi01 Posted: June 07, 2022 at 12:46 PM (#6080382)
So we've reached the literal "Won't someone think of the children?" point of this debate?"
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 07, 2022 at 01:08 PM (#6080384)
My biggest complaint about the shift is, how do you explain that to kids?
"See kids, the defenders play where the ball is most likely to be hit. Doesn't that make sense?"

Hey, look. I did it. And I don't even have kids.
   3. Hombre Brotani Posted: June 07, 2022 at 01:13 PM (#6080385)
Example infinity+1 of "People don't like change, won't accept it if they can help it."
   4. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 07, 2022 at 01:40 PM (#6080389)
In the current environment, you have a couple of problems:

1) Just, in general, hitters are more and more overmatched. That encourages a swing-for-the-fences, pull-heavy style, and makes it difficult to hit it the other way.

2) Because hitters rarely face pitchers more than twice in a game, and oftentimes only once, hitters don't get as much chance to "learn". Again, this favors a "swing for the fences style". If you have never faced this pitcher before, and all you know is he throws hard and has a nasty slider, well, you aren't going to get a lot of chance to adjust, learn his/her tendencies. Just swing hard on the first thing you can handle.

In other words, in an environment where batters weren't overmatched in the way they are now, hitters might be able to take advantage of the shift to hit the other way (or even bunt along the third base line). As it is now, they are in a fight for survival that they are, more and more, losing. That's why the shift works now where perhaps in another era it wouldn't have been so effective.

What I'm trying to say is that the success of the shift is a symptom, not a cause. It's a symptom of the unbalanced nature of the hitter/pitcher matchup. Pitchers need to throw more times through the order, and not as hard. Deaden the ball or increase drag if you want to keep offense/defense balanced.

I'm playing in a league now. Things are much more satisfying, from a hitter's standpoint, if one can say to oneself "he/she got me on that one last time, I'm not going to let that happen again". If "again" never happens, and suddenly you are facing someone else, well, part of the battle/interplay between pitcher and hitter is lost. It's more and more lost in baseball now. Pitchers, even relief pitchers, should pitch twice through the order.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: June 07, 2022 at 01:43 PM (#6080391)
“In last year’s Double-A and AFL anti-shift experiments, infielders loved playing with more freedom and room to roam—and we saw lots of athletic, rangy plays that you don’t see quite as often in a shift-heavy league with infielders bunched up,” he wrote.


That's the best argument I've ever read for getting rid of the shift. I'm still opposed, but that's a hell of a lot better than Robertson's Don't Say Shift and whatever else is offered.
   6. The Duke Posted: June 07, 2022 at 02:18 PM (#6080400)
Can't...Come...Soon....Enough
   7. cHiEf iMpaCt oFfiCEr JE Posted: June 07, 2022 at 02:30 PM (#6080407)
If the hitters are more and more overmatched, lower the mound.

Or move the rubber back by a foot.

Or adjust the seams on the ball a tad so pitchers can't grip the ball quite as well.

Why the thirst to penalize innovation instead?

   8. Itchy Row Posted: June 07, 2022 at 02:43 PM (#6080413)
That's the same reason they outlawed Ozzie Smith.
   9. BDC Posted: June 07, 2022 at 02:49 PM (#6080415)
Exactly.

1920s: This new-fangled "playing deep" has nixed the thrill of the long smack over everybody's head. There should be an "inner outfield" where fielders must return for each new pitch.

1890s: This ungentlemanly practice of "playing in" on a "bunt" has taken away the wonder of a batsman dropping an artful nudge. The basemen should be compelled to stand on their bases as their names indicate.

1850s: And since when is "shortstop" the name of a base?? Gone are the blest days when a lad could poke a bingle between second and third as Mr. Doubleday intended.
   10. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 07, 2022 at 02:55 PM (#6080418)
Why the thirst to penalize innovation instead?


I hope you understand that I am arguing something along the same lines as you. The success of the shift is a symptom of the unbalanced pitcher/hitter matchup.

One designs the rules of a game to penalize features which detract from the enjoyment of spectators and players. So, goaltending is penalized in basketball because otherwise 7-footers would just stand at the basket and swat everything away. Bunting foul with 2 strikes is an out because otherwise players would just stand there and bunt things foul until they obtain a walk.

Sometimes "innovation" is good, sometimes innovation is exploiting a heretofore unknown loophole or previously unused strategy, which has to be precluded by rule changes or the game becomes unbalanced, unfun, and/or unwatchable. Was the spitball an innovation? Or exploting a loophole? The caretakers of the game finally decided it was the latter.

The mere fact that the game has no clock and hence it is a strategy to take all the time one wants is a loophole that, if the game wants to survive, needs to be closed.

My argument is that the game should have rules which make it unfavorable to have a pitcher throw less than twice through the order. The strategic innovation of having 14 pitchers, most of which are fungible and cannot pitch effectively for more than one inning, is in my mind more a result of exploiting a loophole that should, for the benefit of the game, be closed.



   11. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 07, 2022 at 03:25 PM (#6080422)
Because hitters rarely face pitchers more than twice in a game, and oftentimes only once, hitters don't get as much chance to "learn".
Players can now review video of every pitch thrown by a pitcher, and study compilations of pitcher tendencies in specific situations. If they’re too lazy to do so, one of the now several hitting coaches can instruct them on such matters. Batters are no longer “on their own” at the plate. If batters apply sub-optimum strategies for getting on base, based on how the defense is playing, that’s on them.
   12. Nasty Nate Posted: June 07, 2022 at 03:28 PM (#6080423)
make the game more familiar and relatable for fans who grew up knowing intuitively ... what a sure base hit looks like off the bat
This kind of thing has been baked into baseball forever, even when there is comparatively little shifting. On groundballs, you had to wait to see which direction it was hit before knowing if hit or not; on line drives to the outfield you had to wait to see whether it hung up enough to be an hour, or if it was low or mis-hit enough to drop in.
   13. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 07, 2022 at 04:03 PM (#6080428)
If batters apply sub-optimum strategies for getting on base, based on how the defense is playing, that’s on them.


I'm glad you are happy with the state of the game.
   14. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: June 07, 2022 at 04:16 PM (#6080431)
I agree on the pitcher/hitter imbalance. But we all seem to think the biggest cause is the non-stop replacement of pitchers.

Every f'n recent rule just encourages more AAAA shuttle, more pitchers. Covid season? We'd better expand the rosters for two months, then make a surprised pikachu face when every team uses the spots for two more relievers.

More and more IL and DL and covid list and paternity list, which aren't bad in themselves, but they seem to ALWAYS be used for more relievers.

Teams are giving up in the ninth inning down 5 runs, and pitching their second baseman, because they want to retain every last reliever spot for tomorrow.

All of this drives a non-stop parade of relievers throwing as hard as f'n possible for 12 pitches. Then getting send to AAA while some other guy comes in and grunts for 12 pitches.

MLBPA should see that the AAAA shuttle may be the biggest driver in falling salaries.

But, yeah, let's outlaw the SHIFT.


   15. Hombre Brotani Posted: June 07, 2022 at 04:25 PM (#6080434)
Baseball IS America’s pastime, after all, and what’s more American than resisting change?
   16. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 07, 2022 at 04:32 PM (#6080435)
Butyeahlet's outlaw the SHIFT. 


My theory is that the AAA shuttle, more pitchers, also means more FUNGIBLE pitchers. "Smart" teams like the A's realize they don't need to pay pitchers anything, because one-inning relievers are fungible, one doesn't work, just get another one from AAA. You can see how the A's aren't that bad re: ERA, though their hitting is awful.

In other words, Baseball Management LIKES fungible pitchers, so it doesn't want to change the game that way, because they see in the future they won't have to pay pitchers anything. They like that.

So instead they do all this other horrible stuff which doesn't address the root cause, because short-sightedly they don't want to address the root cause.

Here on the West Coast baseball is disappearing. Even the Giants' ratings and attendance are down, and the A's might as well not exist.

   17. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 07, 2022 at 04:32 PM (#6080436)
Baseball IS America’s pastime, after all, and what’s more American than resisting change?
Golf clap.
   18. BDC Posted: June 07, 2022 at 04:34 PM (#6080438)
One thing struck me the other night, as I was sitting up the 1B line watching guys get thrown out at first on grounders to right field … improvements and standardizations in playing surfaces have probably been a factor in enabling these shifts. 40-50 years ago, grounders on the right side might have died in the grass at some parks long before they got to a deep-shift "infielder"; or alternatively, bounced high in the air on period synthetic turf and taken too long to reach a defender way out there. But now it seems to me that engineered natural and improved artificial turf surfaces have converged, and you get a fast, true, low bounce out of a ground ball in nearly every park, and the ball reaches the shifted defender in time for a routine play at first. Is this my imagination? I don't think you could have gotten away with that positioning BITD, though teams certainly did move their standard-distance infielders a little over to pull or opposite way as needed.

So clearly what we need to go back to is either unkempt grass grown on dead clay, or alternatively Astroturf that turns grounders into Superballs :)
   19. Walt Davis Posted: June 07, 2022 at 04:56 PM (#6080450)
BDC, the solution on most of the fields I played on as a kid was random distribution of gravel.
   20. The Duke Posted: June 07, 2022 at 05:23 PM (#6080460)
What is the fascination with the shift? Is it because it's a cool, sabr/front office thing ? I don't get it.

1. It removes athleticism from the game. Nelson Arenado used to be a great third baseman - now he plays SS most of the time. Shortstops hardly ever make great plays in the hole anymore - this is a huge loss to the fun of watching the game. I love it when the announcers say " what a great job by the analytics team setting up the Defense for that one !" Is that what we want ?


2. Baseball has always had a symmetry of beauty in its alignment - that's gone. Line drives up the middle are outs. Foul balls behind third drop harmlessly 100 fr from the nearest fielder.

3. Actually being skilled at defense isn't really a big deal anymore.

4. I don't want to see people bunt to open areas. Nobody can do it anyhow, but it's not very exciting.

5. The game is horribly unexciting. This is not the biggest issue but it's a material issue to that overall problem.

Why is everyone so enamored with a bunch of back office geeks who have made the game far less entertaining?
   21. Hank Gillette Posted: June 07, 2022 at 05:28 PM (#6080465)
What I'm trying to say is that the success of the shift is a symptom, not a cause. It's a symptom of the unbalanced nature of the hitter/pitcher matchup. Pitchers need to throw more times through the order, and not as hard. Deaden the ball or increase drag if you want to keep offense/defense balanced.


It’s hard to see how that would help the offense. Fewer home runs and more fly ball outs.

Outlaw Tommy John surgery.
   22. Hank Gillette Posted: June 07, 2022 at 05:40 PM (#6080470)
Outlaw Tommy John surgery.
I was being facetious, but I do think that TJ surgery has had a major effect on the competitive balance between the hitters and pitchers. You have roughly 30% of the pitchers at the ML level who in the past would have been out of baseball or at best, throwing junk.

Replace 30% of MLB pitchers with pitchers now in the minors and I think you would see a noticeable increase in offense.
   23. Hank Gillette Posted: June 07, 2022 at 05:46 PM (#6080472)
BDC, the solution on most of the fields I played on as a kid was random distribution of gravel.
Tony Kubek agrees with that sentiment.
   24. Hank Gillette Posted: June 07, 2022 at 05:52 PM (#6080475)
Fly balls caught on one hop used to be an out until they changed the rules. Why not change the rules so that the first baseman has to catch a throw on the fly for the force to be in effect? If he catches it on a hop, he has to tag the runner to get the out.

There is precedent for both moving the mound further away and lowering it. I don’t know how much difference it would make, but it would be worth experimenting.
   25. Walt Davis Posted: June 07, 2022 at 05:59 PM (#6080481)
Behold the mighty shift!!

BAgb
2022 233
2021 239
2020 234
2019 238
2018 242
2017 245
2016 246
2015 245
2014 247
2013 240
...
2008 236
2003 239
1998 230
1993 242

So the shift didn't have any effect on BAgb until about 2019. Its effect over the last few years, if it's had one, has been to return BAgb to the levels it was at for the period (give or take) of 1993-2008.

In 2021 there were about 52,000 GBs. Even if we set the shift effect at essentially its maximum there around 12 "points" that's about 625 singles ... across about 4,860 team games. One single every 8 team-games (4 games). Yes, it's destroyed the aesthetics of the game.

The bigger change in the game is that in 98-03 there were about 60-61,000 GBs per year so on the order of a 15% reduction in GBs ... and of course a major increase in the number of Ks. If you lose 9,000 GBs then you're losing 2,000 singles -- that's the aesthetic change. That's not unrelated to the shift (one obvious "solution" to the shift is to hit it over the shift) but it's got more to do with hitting HRs -- getting rid of the shift is not going to lead to more GB now. I won't rule out that (by some unknown method) a big reduction in Ks along with a restricted flight ball AND a ban on shifts might lead to a more BIP-oriented game. (Probably at about 3.3 R/G :-)

Basketball has changed at least as much since I was a kid as baseball, probably more. Sometimes I read stuff about basketball (which I stopped following almost entirely when I left the US) and I don't have a clue what they're talking about. Doesn't seem to phase the kids -- who aren't carrying 40 years of "how the game should be played" in their heads Mr Robertson. Nobody seems overly concerned that LeBron James "shouldn't" be shooting threes or misses the days wnen Dennis Awtrey would commit assault against any puny point guard who dared invade the lane (it was Awtrey's only skill). I styled my personal game on the Chet Walker 15-18 foot "jump" shot** that I gather has disappeared from the game because of the nerds. So it goes. That might indeed spoil my enjoyment of the game but not some kid who's never heard of HoFer Chet Walker ... or even Walter Davis.

** Truth be told, my game bore greater resemblance to Awtrey.
   26. Walt Davis Posted: June 07, 2022 at 06:07 PM (#6080483)
I don't want to see people bunt to open areas. Nobody can do it anyhow, but it's not very exciting.

Nobody wants to see that ... what folks "want" to see is batters do it often enough and well enough that the defense decides they can no longer afford to shift on this guy. Of course McCovey and Williams rarely (never?) bunted against the shift because they were McCovey and Williams and similarly Juan Soto should never do it. But Christian Yelich might want to give it a try.
   27. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 07, 2022 at 06:47 PM (#6080491)
BAgb


I don't think this capture's the issue entirely. With the advanced shifts, especially as they are used against LHB's, a lot of things we would think of as line drives or "texas leaguers" are being turned into outs.

When we look back to the past, "when baseball was good", we have to keep something in mind which I think is missed a lot - Baseball has to actually BE BETTER THAN IT WAS. Baseball right now is kind of like, say, Studebaker in the 1950's - in the mind of many it's already dead, or will be soon. Things move fast these days, Baseball has a lot less time than it thinks it does to change people's minds.

What that means, is one cannot do just half-measures, or even full-measures. Probably have to be 1.5-measures.

Where are we are, using last year (since this year is still incomplete), from BBRef

2021 30 1373 28.4 4.53 4858 37.43 33.33 4.53 8.13 5.15 1.62 0.14 1.22 4.32 0.46 0.15 3.25 8.68 .244 .317 .411 .728 13.69 0.69 0.43 0.16 0.24 0.14 23.67

4.53 R/G, .244 Batting Average, 8.13 H/game, 23.67 BIP/game, 1.22 HR, 3.25 BB and 8.68 SO/game, 0.985 fielding percentage, 3:10 time of game

Let's look at 1993

1993 28 900 28.4 4.60 4538 38.47 34.15 4.60 9.05 6.31 1.64 0.21 0.89 4.32 0.72 0.37 3.33 5.80 .265 .332 .403 .736 13.77 0.76 0.26 0.40 0.32 0.33 27.78

4.6 R/G, .265 Batting Average, 9.04 H/game, 27.78 BIP/game, 0.89 HR, 3.33 BB and 5.80 SO/game, 0.980 fielding percentage, 2:48 time of game

Let's look at something a bit better than, say, 1993. Let's look at 1936:

1936 23 634 28.4 5.26 2784 39.42 35.21 5.26 10.00 7.27 1.77 0.40 0.56 4.86 0.41 0.26 3.39 2.96 .284 .350 .404 .754 14.24 0.17 0.63 0.20 31.6

5.26 R/G, 0.284 Batting Average, 10.0 H/game, 31.6 BIP/game, 0.25 HR, 3.39 BB, and 2.95 SO/game, 0.970 fielding percentage, 1:58 time of game

Versus 2021 numbers, 1936 has 33% more balls in play, and 16% more runs, with in less than 2/3rd of the time.

That's TWICE THE ACTION (measured in terms of BIP/time) per unit of time measure, 2021 compared with 1936.

If baseball puts something together that suddenly gets you 1993 numbers, and can do the game in 2 hours, well, then you might have something - but maybe not enough to get it back into the conversation. If you get the game back to 1936 numbers, and do it in 2 hours, well then you might.

My suggestions:
Deaden the ball, make pitchers pitch at least 3 innings, move the mound back, make infields slower and outfields faster, pitch clocks, batters cannot get out of the box.
   28. . Posted: June 07, 2022 at 07:11 PM (#6080496)
Baseball IS America’s pastime, after all, and what’s more American than resisting change?

Golf clap.


Nothing wrong with a good golf clap, but it has to be pointed out that regulating where defending infielders and outfielders have to deploy IS change.
   29. The Duke Posted: June 07, 2022 at 07:15 PM (#6080498)
What's exciting to me is that they may go the extra mile here and put a V shaped box from the pitchers mound back to the 2B and SS positions to force fielders back to their natural positions, because let's face it, if they just say "two guys on either side of second" they won't have solved the problem they are trying to solve.

I wonder if they will also go after 4 OF alignments and the permanent "no doubles " OF defense?

Dexter Fowler coukd come back and make $20 million a year dumping dying ducks in the OF
   30. Walt Davis Posted: June 07, 2022 at 07:22 PM (#6080499)
Nelson Arenado used to be a great third baseman - now he plays SS most of the time.

Not meaning to call out the Duke individually but this is the sort of weird "logic" that often comes up in anti-shift (or anti-anything) discussions. What exactly was the joy of Arenado stationed near 3B against batters who (maybe literally) never hit the ball to the 3B? The whole point of Arenado at SS (against certain LHB only which is far less than half the time, so not the exaggeration too) is to give him more opportunities to make a play. If you like watching Arenado's defense, you should like the shift.

SS make fewer great plays in the hole ... against LHB pull hitters against whom they never had the chance to make plays in the hole to begin with. For the SS (and the 2B against RHB), the shift is just a matter of degree. Even if the LHB in question isn't a guy teams would do a full shift against at any point in post-war baseball history (McCovey, T Williams, Ortiz, etc.), the SS would still be shaded up the middle and the 2B shaded towards the RF line. From the SS perspective, the modern shift just moves him 15-20(?) feet to his left. The 2B moves 25 feet further back. Against a RHB pull hitter, the SS was always shaded towards the hole and the 2B shaded up the middle ... I'm not sure the SS has moved much at all, the 2B has moved 15 feet to right and the 1B has shifted far to his right -- 1B is much harder to play these days (which might explain why statcast doesn't show big differences between 1B and the other IF because the old lummoxes aren't allowed to play there as often these days).

In support, sure the shift (when it's designed well at least) reduces the impact of the range of the IFs. That fits well with the use of more bulked-up middle IFs. Just as Jazz hits one out to CLCF.
   31. The Duke Posted: June 07, 2022 at 07:30 PM (#6080505)
Arenado is not a good SS, first of all. He has the range of a really slow plodding guy at that position. What makes it work is that all the players are positioned in a way to maximize the ball being hit to them. Third base is a reflex position - that is his great skill plus catching foul balls out in LF. He hardly does either anymore. He picks up routine ground balls at SS and throws them to first. If it's hit a few feet to his left or right he has no chance.

To be fair - about half the time he plays at his Normal position so it's not all or nothing, but my point remains
   32. . Posted: June 07, 2022 at 07:40 PM (#6080511)
The game will have a pitch clock and a vast reduction in shifts and shifting next year. That's very positive change, and it will be a far better game.
   33. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: June 07, 2022 at 07:41 PM (#6080512)
Hey, look. I did it. And I don't even have kids.


Good. fewer to take away.
   34. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 07, 2022 at 08:09 PM (#6080519)
I know I'm quoting myself.

That's TWICE THE ACTION (measured in terms of BIP/time) per unit of time measure, 2021 compared with 1936.


So, granted a slow roller to first is not particularly exciting (random gravel sprayed on the field notwithstanding) But here's another measure:

R/G - HR/G = NHRR/G (non-home-run-runs)/game

2021: 4.53 R/G - 1.33 HR/G = 3.31 NHRR/G

1993: 4.6 R/G - 0.89 HR/G = 3.71 NHRR/G

1936: 5.26 R/G - 0.25 HR/G = 5.01 NHRR/G

1993 has 12% more NHRR/G than 2021, but 1936 has 51% more!

Is baseball itself so special that it can sustain such a reduction in measures of "things which may be interesting to a spectator"?
   35. vortex of dissipation Posted: June 07, 2022 at 09:08 PM (#6080534)
Of course McCovey and Williams rarely (never?) bunted against the shift because they were McCovey and Williams


I don't know how often McCovey bunted against the shift, but he did on one of the plays I'd most love to have seen - when, in 1970, Willie Mays scored from first base on a bunt against the shift by McCovey. This is Jon Miller's recollection:

“Mays got on first base with two down and they went into the big shift for McCovey as they often did,” Miller said. “Willie [McCovey] went ahead and laid down a bunt down the third base side and he bunted it hard enough that it went right down the line past third base and into left field and Mays scored from first on a bunt. McCovey ended up with a double. To this day, it was the most outstanding thing I’ve ever seen in a baseball game.”

He's got it right, except that there was only one out - May 3, 1970, in the first inning against the Phillies. Here's the box score and play-by-play.
   36. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: June 07, 2022 at 09:28 PM (#6080538)
“Mays got on first base with two down and they went into the big shift for McCovey as they often did,” Miller said. “Willie [McCovey] went ahead and laid down a bunt down the third base side and he bunted it hard enough that it went right down the line past third base and into left field and Mays scored from first on a bunt. McCovey ended up with a double. To this day, it was the most outstanding thing I’ve ever seen in a baseball game.”
Appears to have blown Woodie Fryman's mind.
   37. The Honorable Ardo Posted: June 08, 2022 at 12:49 AM (#6080572)
I play vintage base ball. I've always thought the vintage rule would be a great halfway point for governing the shift: the basemen a "pace or two" away from their bases, and the shortstop a true rover free to position himself wherever he wishes (usually to the pull-side hole, but way in against a skilled bunter, and virtually a 4th OF against a slugger)
   38. Lassus Posted: June 08, 2022 at 10:12 AM (#6080606)
What is the fascination with the shift? Is it because it's a cool, sabr/front office thing ? I don't get it.

Ask the managers who employed the shift for Ted Williams. They were very cool and sabr.
   39. bfan Posted: June 09, 2022 at 12:52 PM (#6080841)
This notion that MLB hitters should just adjust to the defensive shifts seems wrong to me. These batters are the most skilled hitters on the planet. If they could readily do that to their advantage, they would have done so, already. When you are facing a guy throwing 97 MPH who can put the ball on the inside of the plate, this notion that it is easy to "go the other way" with the ball seems wrong. It is hard enough to put a bat on the ball a t all, using your best swing. Now, you walk into the batters box, examine the defense and change your swing, to best take advantage of the defense, and you still are able to hit the ball at all, and hard enough to get it through the infield? I don't think so.
   40. Nasty Nate Posted: June 09, 2022 at 01:06 PM (#6080845)
This notion that MLB hitters should just adjust to the defensive shifts seems wrong to me. These batters are the most skilled hitters on the planet. If they could readily do that to their advantage, they would have done so, already. When you are facing a guy throwing 97 MPH who can put the ball on the inside of the plate, this notion that it is easy to "go the other way" with the ball seems wrong. It is hard enough to put a bat on the ball a t all, using your best swing. Now, you walk into the batters box, examine the defense and change your swing, to best take advantage of the defense, and you still are able to hit the ball at all, and hard enough to get it through the infield? I don't think so.
I think you're making a lot of unnecessary assumptions in this post.
   41. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: June 09, 2022 at 02:06 PM (#6080858)
Has the history of baseball been a lie?

Hit 'em where they ain't

5.5 hole

Tony Gwynn

Hitting it thru the hole caused the the 1bman holding a runner

Hit and run
   42. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 09, 2022 at 02:20 PM (#6080859)
Has the history of baseball been a lie?
Yes. Tony Gwynn never actually existed.

I have a newsletter, if you're interested.
   43. BDC Posted: June 09, 2022 at 02:47 PM (#6080862)
I'm trying to figure out why banning the shift bothers me more & more (I think in the past I expressed some indifference to it, but that's changing).

Maybe it goes like this. Innovative defensive strategies, in sports, tend to be reactions to offensive strategies (which in turn were reactions to the defense etc.)

So the forward pass became more a bigger part of football in the mid-20th century, and defenders started to get more physical with receivers, knocking them around more. The NFL figured fans wanted more passing, so they put in penalties in the 1970s to discourage the "bump and run." (If you don't remember this, it is because you are not ancient like me.) The result was more passing and fans liked that even more and the game has continued to evolve towards the pass.

The shift, by the same token, is a reaction to LHB in particular trying to pull every pitch as hard as they can. Outlawing the shift means … that you want to encourage more pulling of pitches as hard as batters can.

But do fans really want that? Kole Calhoun's complaint in TFA is revealing. He wants to continue to pull every pitch as hard as he can, but be rewarded more of the time when he fails at it and makes soft contact to the right side. Is pulling the ball, and getting some unimpressive singles in the process, analogous to pass-oriented offenses in the NFL parallel? – i.e. what you want to encourage?
   44. . Posted: June 09, 2022 at 03:12 PM (#6080864)
The shift, by the same token, is a reaction to LHB in particular trying to pull every pitch as hard as they can.


I see it more as a reaction to being able to use Big Data to perfectly measure the risk-reward tradeoff offered by various defensive alignments.

The shift revolution wasn't a reaction to offense; it was the natural evolution of sabermetrics and cheap computing power. Everything about baseball since the computing explosion in the mid-90s has been availing oneself of the ability to measure probabilities and values of baseball's discrete events and then reacting accordingly.

Any jabronie off the street, including this jabronie, can now find what batters batted on 3-2 in 1977. In 30 seconds and for free. That revolution has been ported to every piece of baseball strategy, including FO strategy. That's why we now have shifts so frequently.

So my perspective is the opposite. Shifts bother me not only because I don't want to see the best LHBs in the world being told to hit dribblers down the 3B line with the nearest fielder 100 feet away; I also have no interest in spreadsheet-ism. Nothing about the way Big Data has allowed the hacking of the game appeals to me.
   45. sunday silence (again) Posted: June 09, 2022 at 03:44 PM (#6080867)
no 44: you're arguing about something that's been part of baseball since its inception or at least since the days of John McGraw. Playing the percentages is part of its charm. what a weird thing to get worked up about.
   46. BDC Posted: June 09, 2022 at 03:50 PM (#6080871)
I don't want to see the best LHBs in the world being told to hit dribblers down the 3B line with the nearest fielder 100 feet away

That's fair enough, but as Barry was suggesting above, think back 30-40 years. The best LHB in the world were Carew, Brett, Gwynn, Boggs, Mattingly, Hernandez. Those guys got played relatively straightaway because they could hit to the opposite field with some authority. As silence suggests, it wasn't as if managers had no idea what was going on in front of them, and didn't compute they should have been shifting; George Brett said something like "If they'd shifted on me in 1980, I would have hit .600."

So if the shift is effective nowadays, and it seems to be in Kole Calhoun's case, it's because he never hit to the opposite field anyway. The best LHB in the world now are the TTO guys – Harper, Freeman, Soto, Ohtani, Matt Olson: if they weren't so successful, one might call them "oafs"; their strategy doesn't differ much from oafs. Forcing the defense to give them more of right field is not going to turn them into Gwynns and Carews. They're just going to keep working the count and then launch-angling toward the RF fences. That's fine if you want to encourage it, but at least be aware of what a rule encourages.
   47. Steve Sparks Flying Everywhere Posted: June 09, 2022 at 04:13 PM (#6080873)
Nothing about the way Big Data has allowed the hacking of the game appeals to me.


It’s removing the “human” element of the game, which is the very thing that makes the game beautiful. I view the shift similar to the automated strike zone.

It’s one thing to recognize a batters tendencies and position yourself accordingly. I think its completely different to automatically follow where the data tells you to go.
   48. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 09, 2022 at 04:18 PM (#6080875)
This notion that MLB hitters should just adjust to the defensive shifts seems wrong to me. These batters are the most skilled hitters on the planet. If they could readily do that to their advantage, they would have done so, already. When you are facing a guy throwing 97 MPH who can put the ball on the inside of the plate, this notion that it is easy to "go the other way" with the ball seems wrong. It is hard enough to put a bat on the ball a t all, using your best swing. Now, you walk into the batters box, examine the defense and change your swing, to best take advantage of the defense, and you still are able to hit the ball at all, and hard enough to get it through the infield? I don't think so.


Indirectly, you have agreed with my previous point. The shift is very effective nowadays because hitters like Brett, Boggs, Carew would have found it difficult to exist in this day and age. The fact that I cannot think of a single LHB (or even RHB)who sprays the ball around with any success is at least empirical evidence for this. Further evidence comes from that fact that players are struggling to even hit .230 right now. The batter/pitcher matchup is skewed. That batters have compensated with launch angle, working the count, and film study is, in my minds, miraculous.

In my mind:

1) The shift is a natural part of the game
2) The shift is only successful nowadays because hitters are overmatched (except in power).
3) The natural way to get rid of the shift is to fix the batter/pitcher dynamic, not simply "outlaw the shift".

How to fix it? I don't know. But my suggestions:
a) Make pitchers throw more than 3 innings
b) Pitch clock even with men on base
c) Balls with less carry (would that be lower seams?) and/or deader
d) slower infields and faster outfields (infielders cannot play deep if the infield is slow, and outfielders risk playing shallow if the outfield is fast)
e) Penalties for too many attempted pickoff throws (to give some advantage back to men on base, steals, etc.)
   49. Ithaca2323 Posted: June 09, 2022 at 04:29 PM (#6080877)
Actually, I think 44 has a perfect point on how big data, and its widespread acceptance is affecting things.

Joey Gallo isn't just going to need to head up to the plate with the idea of successfully poking a ball through a shift once or twice, so teams get fed up with it. He's going to have to do it often enough that it becomes, statistically, a net negative to shift him. And it might be entirely possible that going the other way that often isn't within his skill set.

One of the things I wonder in all this is why we seem to be unable to entertain the idea that a decent portion of hitters just....don't have the ability to hit the ball to the opposite field well/frequently enough to prevent teams from shifting them.

   50. BDC Posted: June 09, 2022 at 04:32 PM (#6080878)
Doug (and ithaca), the suggestion that Carew-type hitting has simply become impossible is certainly plausible - though it is not that long since Ichiro did fine with the Carew approach. Ichiro did see quite a dip in his production in the 2010s, but he also turned 37 in 2010; I don't know if pitchers since 2010 have passed some threshold of unhittability. The trend toward ever-stocked power-pitching bullpens is a factor, though, I'm sure. As is the realization by somebody like Kole Calhoun (106) that he can match Ichiro's career OPS+ (107) by the much easier method of pulling everything like a madman and not minding if he strikes out 130 times a year. The payoff on an occasional HR is just that much greater than on a single.

But yes, I think that the changes you suggest (Doug) are much more worth trying than banning the shift. I would add moving OF fences back and moving the pitching rubber back (the former unlikely, I guess, the latter under trial in some minor or amateur leagues IIRC).
   51. BDC Posted: June 09, 2022 at 04:36 PM (#6080879)
BTW, I apologize for opining in some thread that Kole Calhoun was washed up after his April OPS of .375. His OPS in May was 1.013 and I was of course delighted with him. Of course now in June it's .385 again. He may have a point about how those weak singles to RF were keeping his production more consistent :)
   52. Der-K's tired of these fruits from poisoned trees Posted: June 09, 2022 at 04:56 PM (#6080881)
Doug Jones, you and I are on similar pages, I think, but with some significant differences. The big one involves how long pitchers stay on the mound - I don't see your approach working in a world that's more conscious about arm injuries. (I also don't favor restricting how long pitchers stay in the game at all but that's more personal preference.)

Part of what I want in baseball is quick paced games with a diverse set of viable strategies. Setting aside the first bit for a sec, as we've beat that to death (yes, enforcing the pitch clock and having it be relatively short ins important) - the diverse set of viable strategies is a tough one. One way I'd try to enhance that - which aligns with e) is to pursue rules that's emphasize steals. Limiting pickoff throws has resulted in a large increase in steals in the minors and I think will come to majors sooner than later. It also (and I'm speculating) may hurt power pitchers more than finesse ones, who tend to be better at limiting the running game, though more steals also reduces double plays, which hurts contact and groundball guys. (I'm painting with a broad brush!)
I want fast turfs, but that's ultimately up to the home team.
Would like a deader ball but also am good with small foul territory and relatively close walls (if in conjunction with that).
   53. John DiFool2 Posted: June 09, 2022 at 06:05 PM (#6080887)
The shift is very effective nowadays because hitters like Brett, Boggs, Carew would have found it difficult to exist in this day and age. The fact that I cannot think of a single LHB (or even RHB)who sprays the ball around with any success is at least empirical evidence for this.


Doug (and ithaca), the suggestion that Carew-type hitting has simply become impossible is certainly plausible - though it is not that long since Ichiro did fine with the Carew approach.


That is a style which has worked very well in every era of the game's history. There's absolutely no reason to think it couldn't work now. In said days of yore players would typically develop their own unique idiosyncratic styles. That some may, or may not, have been a bit suboptimal never crossed their minds. Nowadays however the uber-analysis that has been going on has tremendously homogenized the game, and we don't see this wide diversity of styles anymore, even if the near-extinct ones would still be viable. [Someone who stile 100 bases a year-if at a high success rate a la Tim Raines-would still help his team a great deal, but that kind of player is extinct too.]

IOW I think most everybody has over-corrected while chasing the chimera of the "optimal" hitting approach for this era's conditions. A series of negative feedback loops: "Oh, I gotta maximize my launch angle and exit velocity because the pitchers are throwing harder than ever"-which given said all-or-nothing approach just drives batting averages down and strikeout rates up even more.

[Shot of Coke to 52]
   54. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 09, 2022 at 06:06 PM (#6080889)
Der-K thanks for your response.

In terms of

how long pitchers stay on the mound - I don't see your approach working in a world that's more conscious about arm injuries


There are still quite a few starters than can pitch more than 3 innings. Baseball would have to select for that. Also I imagine the medical understanding would progress to the point that we would know that, well, if you throw 98 then the injury risk is "this" and if the same pitcher throws 92 then it is "that", and the pitchers would adjust. It's just right now there is now incentive.

In terms of

s quick paced games with a diverse set of viable strategies.


Yes, this is one of the things that is killing fan interest. People literally used to talk about baseball for hours, now no one can really do it, because the number of viable strategies has been reduced to TTO-ball, partly because analytics has recognized that certain strategies were terrible and certain outcomes were bogus, e.g. clutch hitting doesn't exist.

My favorite thing that would fix the shift and bring in more viable strategies is this rather wild idea which I've put out here before:

Rule Change: If a batter bunts the ball, the pitcher cannot touch the ball before another fielder does.

That rule change right there would make the infielders subject to all kinds of choices - do they play in or not? Because with no pitcher to field a bunt, a bunt would be much more likely to be successful (I hypothesize). Also it would encourage batters to swing early, because if they have 2 strikes they lose the "bunt advantage" regarding players guarding against a bunt.
   55. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: June 09, 2022 at 08:54 PM (#6080927)
the suggestion that Carew-type hitting has simply become impossible is certainly plausible

---

The fact that I cannot think of a single LHB (or even RHB)who sprays the ball around with any success


Luis Arraez is currently hitting 361/448/410 and is maybe the most interesting player in baseball.


   56. sunday silence (again) Posted: June 09, 2022 at 10:44 PM (#6080940)
It’s removing the “human” element of the game, which is the very thing that makes the game beautiful. I view the shift similar to the automated strike zone.

It’s one thing to recognize a batters tendencies and position yourself accordingly. I think its completely different to automatically follow where the data tells you to go.


Could you explain your position here, because it doesnt make much sense to me.

If you read the Sporting News or some other compiler of info and conclude at the end of the season that Boggs hits into a lot of DPs, or that some advance scouting report tells you that Pete Rose likes to take the extra base. YOu're fine with that. That's baseball.

But if a computer tells you that 29% of GBs go to the 7th sector of the baseball infield as opposed to 24% in the 6th sector then you're all upset with that?

Like the latter situation is somehow fundamentally different. Right?
   57. sunday silence (again) Posted: June 09, 2022 at 10:50 PM (#6080941)

In support, sure the shift (when it's designed well at least) reduces the impact of the range of the IFs.


Walt, can you explain your reasoning here? Because I dont think that makes logical sense.

If say Arenado is shifted and playing near second base. Let's say he has to extend himself to the max on say 10% of GBs. And maybe 80% of GBs are within two steps of him. OK?

Why would that change if he was playing his normal 3b position against a normal batter?

Wherever Arenado is playing, whether it's at 2b or 3b he should be playing at a position where he can maximize the balls hit to him. So why would that rate of "hard to get balls" change whether he's playing 3b or 2b? If Arenado is at 3b for hitter X, and the numbers tell us 3b is the best place for Arenado, then he should still get 80% of GB in two steps and 10% hard to get to.

In either case, he's supposed to be playing where the ball is most likely to arrive. The only way what you're saying makes sense would be if Arenado plays 3b and the batter tendency is not to hit there... Well, hell, then Arenado needs to move over.

You (and Duke) seem to think that if Arenado is playing normal 3b against a hitter who goes the other way that he somehow has to make more tougher plays. But why? Wherever he plays he's supposed to be in the most likely place the ball will be hit.

So what's the reasoning?
   58. sunday silence (again) Posted: June 09, 2022 at 11:06 PM (#6080943)

That is a style which has worked very well in every era of the game's history. There's absolutely no reason to think it couldn't work now.



when HRs are flying out of the stadium at the highest rates in history THAT'S THE REASON. Its pretty simple.
   59. Howie Menckel Posted: June 09, 2022 at 11:15 PM (#6080944)
the NFL analogy interests me.

fans liked seeing WRs catch long passes for big plays. defenses at first figured out how to stifle that, then the league prevented the defenders from doing that.

seems to me that it's a bit like the shift (granting that it isn't effective as 1970s NFL secondaries were, at first).

I do want to see a ball hit up the middle be a hit, and same for the hard grounder between first and second.

I don't see an issue with the defenses trying to be more effective. it's just that if MLB had a Commissioner, that person could mandate changes that make the game more appealing.

I would watch more baseball with adjustments, including pace of play, is the bottom line.

they don't have to change - and I don't have to watch as much. if that's their line in the sand, then so be it.
   60. sunday silence (again) Posted: June 09, 2022 at 11:17 PM (#6080946)
Meanwhile hitting rates seem to be climbing back. Just a month ago, May 10 according to an article here, HR rates were at 2.5%. Today a month later they are back to 3%. So at 2015 levels before whatever changes they made to the ball in 2015 and there after.

batting average is back up to .240. What was it .230 a month ago?
   61. sunday silence (again) Posted: June 09, 2022 at 11:23 PM (#6080947)
fans liked seeing WRs catch long passes for big plays. defenses at first figured out how to stifle that, then the league prevented the defenders from doing that.


its hard to understand what your talking about exactly, HOwie, without reference to a specific pt. in time.

About 1974 or so, the NFL moved the hash marks in considerably. Which basically removed what used to be referred to as the "short side" of the field. This and a few other rules seemed to open up passing. Passing rates moved up higher and higher at least for the next three decades or so. I havent paid much attention lately.

Defenses were stifling passing back in the 1930s. Not sure what time period your talking.
   62. Steve Sparks Flying Everywhere Posted: June 09, 2022 at 11:31 PM (#6080950)
Could you explain your position here, because it doesnt make much sense to me.

If you read the Sporting News or some other compiler of info and conclude at the end of the season that Boggs hits into a lot of DPs, or that some advance scouting report tells you that Pete Rose likes to take the extra base. YOu're fine with that. That's baseball.

But if a computer tells you that 29% of GBs go to the 7th sector of the baseball infield as opposed to 24% in the 6th sector then you're all upset with that?

Like the latter situation is somehow fundamentally different. Right?


So it goes back to the human element of the game. Without “Big Data” maybe you send an advance scout out. Or someone watches video of other games. Or you read stats. All of those involve a human element, either gathering or interpreting information. Because it involves people, it’s not going to be the same because people are all different. It’s more art than science.

Isn’t the end goal of data to predict exactly what will happen next? Is that a game even worth watching?

   63. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 09, 2022 at 11:39 PM (#6080951)
That is a style which has worked very well in every era of the game's history.


Saying something has always worked before doesn't necessarily follow that it will now. The game is markedly different than it was before, and could have reached a tipping point.

Baseball doesn't have to change, but as I said before, things happen faster than ever. Baseball as it's played right now is not a very good entertainment product. IMHO small tweaks will not be enough. Baseball really needs to think long and hard about how to get levels of action back to 1936 levels:

1936 World Series on the Radio

The NFL and the NBA have analyzed - what makes the game fun to play and fun to watch, and made adjustments accordingly. Baseball essentially stopped doing that in 1900, with 3 exceptions: banning the spitball, lowering the mound in the late 1960's, and the DH. Many, many innovations in analysis, strategy, and physical conditioning have occurred in the interim, and the play of the game has definitely changed in response (only 50% of Non-Home-Run-Runs/game compared with 1936, and game times 50% longer) yet baseball is stuck with Manfred. Where is Bill Veeck?
   64. Howie Menckel Posted: June 09, 2022 at 11:41 PM (#6080953)
its hard to understand what your talking about exactly, HOwie, without reference to a specific pt. in time.

NFL passing yards per team peaked at 177.5 yards per game in 1969 - then declined below that until 1979, when it climbed to 180.4 yards per game - up more than 20 yards per game from 1978.

the NFL loved that, and it has never declined to 1978 levels again - precisely because they adjusted the rules as needed to achieve their goals.

the last year that the average passing yards per team was below 200 yards was 1992. it reached 212 yards in 1999, and 222 yards in 2010 and 231 yards in 2012 and 242 yards in 2016.

none of that is a coincidence. it's a staple of the entertainment business - figure out what your customers want, and give it to them.

the NFL keeps soaring, while MLB is kind of stuck in place.

   65. John DiFool2 Posted: June 10, 2022 at 08:55 AM (#6080972)
Everybody's saying the old-school approach(es) wouldn't work anymore-what, exactly, do you mean by that?

I was going to do Brett, but he had power, so, Gwynn.

Are you saying if we took peak Gwynn (.350/.400/.470), transplanted him to today's game, he'd hit .300/.350/.420, which would be just a bit above average?

Are you saying that yeah, he'd still hit .350/.400/.470, but minor league coaches would have tried to turn him into a .250/.330/.450 type of hitter? [Note they tried that with Boggs iirc, but he stuck to his guns. Wade even hit for power that one season ('87), but early in '88 got his swing all screwed up trying to pull everything, so went back to his old style and hit .378/.487/.506 for the rest of the season.]

But his old style would still have plenty of value, which has been my point all along.

The best Brett analog today I'd have to say is Rafael Devers. In the air he hits to all fields (they apparently shift on him in the infield), with an 11% launch angle. The thing about huge launch angles is that your timing has to be impeccable, because your swing plane and that of the incoming pitch will only intersect in a tiny location in 3D space. Ted Williams (he of the proto-shift) recommended having your swing plane match that of a typical incoming fastball so you can still make contact even if your timing is off. Last I checked Devers is doing fine (the Sox people here know that I am hoping he makes a run at the doubles record this year).

I think this launch angle yank everything as hard as you can stuff has been oversold, and has (partially) contributed to the current offensive malaise.
   66. Der-K's tired of these fruits from poisoned trees Posted: June 10, 2022 at 09:22 AM (#6080974)
There are still quite a few starters than can pitch more than 3 innings. Baseball would have to select for that. Also I imagine the medical understanding would progress to the point that we would know that, well, if you throw 98 then the injury risk is "this" and if the same pitcher throws 92 then it is "that", and the pitchers would adjust. It's just right now there is now incentive.

I'm thinking more "what if someone gets hurt?" At which point you can go, fine - we'll have a rule for that. But I think we'd have either situations where injured pitchers are forced to stay out there or abuse of that rule in such a way as to make it farce.
---
I asked in a different thread recently, what were the most and last interesting decades in baseball history? I think that some of the talk here is related to (though obviously different from) those questions.
I don't think that the 30s would be what I'd look to, fwiw.
   67. Der-K's tired of these fruits from poisoned trees Posted: June 10, 2022 at 09:30 AM (#6080977)
moving the mound back: i like the idea of reducing the velocity hitters are seeing ... but it's not clear that giving breaking balls more space to move doesn't more than compensate here.
   68. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 10, 2022 at 10:04 AM (#6080984)
I'm thinking more "what if someone gets hurt?"


I understand now I wasn't clear on my proposed mechanism for "making pitchers throw more than 3 innings". What I propose is a rule change that says this: The manager is free to take a pitcher out of the game at any time, even after a single batter, but if the pitcher has not pitched at least X innings (let's say X=2, but X=3 would also be something to consider) or finished the game, then the pitcher is put on the ineligible list, costing a roster spot, for the next Y games (let's say Y=4). This would let the manager do whatever he/she wants in an individual game, including protecting a pitcher from injury, or taking out an injured pitcher, but there would be consequences, because one could rapidly run out of eligible pitchers. Pitchers on the ineligible list cannot be sent down, they stay on the roster, just cannot be used in a game. This would provide a huge incentive to have pitchers throw multiple innings but provides the manager maximum in-game flexibility. In my mind this is a much better solution than the stupid "have to throw to 3 batters" rule.
   69. Der-K's tired of these fruits from poisoned trees Posted: June 10, 2022 at 11:07 AM (#6080992)
i anticipated that you meant a rule like this, but not necessarily the structure.
hmmm, the ineligible list (as defined here) aspect is interesting. i'll ponder.
   70. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 10, 2022 at 11:46 AM (#6081003)
Are you saying if we took peak Gwynn (.350/.400/.470), transplanted him to today's game, he'd hit .300/.350/.420, which would be just a bit above average?


The thing about Wade, Carew, Gwynn, is that they had something of an inside-out swing. You think of Boggs or Carew or Gwynn lofting that little line drive right over the shortstop's head. Reggie Jackson, too, though of course he was lofting a huge fly ball over the left-center-field wall. I think that's harder to do against 99 mph fastballs than the typical strategy these days of guessing fastball and swinging hard, which I think inevitably leads to a pull-heavy approach.

But, well, maybe Devers and Arraez are doing it, I'll have to go check out some of their games on MLB.TV
   71. bfan Posted: June 10, 2022 at 12:48 PM (#6081011)
Tony Gwynn


Using Tony Gwynn as an answer to how achievable controlling where a ball is hit strikes me as about as accurate as using Nolan Ryan as an example of why putchers in their 40's should be able to pitch over 300 innings a year and throwing their fast ball at over 100 mph while doing that.

Some guys are just freaks, but they do not define the acceptable standard; they are outliers.
   72. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: June 10, 2022 at 01:28 PM (#6081016)
So, its impossible to slap a 100 mph pitch to left, but jerking it over the wall in right is the answer?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
   73. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 10, 2022 at 02:26 PM (#6081023)
So, its impossible to slap a 100 mph pitch to left, but jerking it over the wall in right is the answer?


I concede.
   74. Mayor Blomberg Posted: June 10, 2022 at 02:58 PM (#6081025)
then the pitcher is put on the ineligible list, costing a roster spot, for the next Y games (let's say Y=4).
he proposal was off-hand, not finished, but 4-game ineligibility wouldn't have any effect on a starter.
   75. Cris E Posted: June 10, 2022 at 04:18 PM (#6081035)
The thing about huge launch angles is that your timing has to be impeccable, because your swing plane and that of the incoming pitch will only intersect in a tiny location in 3D space. Ted Williams (he of the proto-shift) recommended having your swing plane match that of a typical incoming fastball so you can still make contact even if your timing is off.

This is why I like the idea of lowering the mound a lot. If a hitter wants his launch angles to coincide with the pitched ball he'll be hitting line drives instead of HR. If he wants to hit dingers he'll have to be that much further from the pitched ball line and it'll be harder to time the pitch.
   76. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 10, 2022 at 05:34 PM (#6081050)
he proposal was off-hand, not finished, but 4-game ineligibility wouldn't have any effect on a starter.


Actually, it works for starters too. If you want to throw a pitcher every 5 days for < 3 innings at a pop, well, you are going to have to have a very large pitching staff. At least that's how I would think it works. That would mean you would have 5 pitchers who cover 10 innings out of the 90 innings you need to cover during that span. Starters I think would remain starters and would pitch 5 or 6 innings at a minimum.

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