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Thursday, January 05, 2023

How Corey Seager can benefit from new shift rules

Great analysis, as always, from Mike Petriello and Tangotiger.

jimfurtado Posted: January 05, 2023 at 09:47 AM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: shift

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: January 05, 2023 at 01:35 PM (#6112006)
It's not a big point but chances are they make a mistake in ascribing this entirely to the shift. It's pretty clear that in 2022, Seager was very unlucky (or extremely easy to position against). Under this method, many/most of the "regained" hits will just be Seager regressing towards the mean that likely would have happened whether they changed the shift rule or not. That is:

He pulled 107 grounders into the shift
Of those 107 pulled grounders into a full or partial shift, he managed all of six hits – a .056 average

That's simply abysmal. That's worse than the average BA on a FBip (100). It's virtually impossible that 056 is a "true" BA on any type of grounder for any type of hitter against any type of defense. Even if you don't believe "bad luck" then this is only possible if Seager is super easy to position against. With the new shift rules, he'll still be super easy to position against.

If we posit (based on nothing but "Walt's common sense" that Seager must be at least something like a true 160 hitter on these GBs hit into a shift, then he regains half the hits they credit him with just by returning to his norm. For his career, Seager has hit 232 on GBs, pretty much average. In 2021, he hit 259. It's only in 2022 that he hit 146. Give him 20 more hits in 2022 and his BA on GBip is 246 ... against a career 232. That's nothing, a couple of hits. Quite possibly all that they have demonstrated here is that, without the shift, we might have expected Seager to have a career 246 BAgb rather than 232 which would be about 14 more hits for his entire career.

It's possible that teams finally caught onto Seager during the 2021-22 offseason and recognized that his distribution of (pulled) GBs was even more restricted than most other LH pull hitters and everybody re-designed their shifts to turn him into an historically bad 056 hitter on pulled GBs. Maybe he's unique. Or maybe he was a good bet to put up a 230ish BAgb next year regardless of any rule changes. I'll bet on the latter.

Note, if b-r has a way to look at league splits on LH pulled GBs, I don't know how to do it. Fangraphs probably does but I'm too lazy to figure it out.

   2. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 05, 2023 at 02:46 PM (#6112022)
Hit ‘em where they ain’t used to be.
   3. I Am Not a Number Posted: January 05, 2023 at 03:44 PM (#6112040)
I am looking forward to every left handed batter hitting .400 this season.
   4. Booey Posted: January 05, 2023 at 04:14 PM (#6112045)
#3 - It won't happen, but I'd LOVE to see batting averages skyrocket. A return to 1920's-1930's averages would be super fun (hell, even a return to 1990's-2000's averages would be awesome!).

The AL hasn't had even a .320 hitter in the past 2 seasons. Ignoring the COVID season, the NL hasn't had a .330 hitter since 2017. And the majors haven't had a .350 hitter in a non-60 game season since 2010. That's 11 straight full seasons and counting, more than double the previous record drought of five (1962-1966).
   5. Walt Davis Posted: January 05, 2023 at 04:53 PM (#6112053)
Out of curiosity, here it is by BABIP of 340 or higher ... I used 340 just so I could mention that last year JDM had a 345 BABIP as a "be careful what you wish for" warning.

2022: 15 qualified players (qualified as in 502 PA, not based on BIP)
2012: 23 (Goldschmidt on both 2012 and 2022)
2002: 15 (Jose Hernandez with a healthy 404)
1992: 13 (Kruk! Listach! McGee!)
1982: 2 (Willie Wilson and Carew)
1972: 5 (Brock, Carew, Allen, Baker, Watson)
1962: 4

A guy like Carew did it all the time of course, career 359 BABIP. Combo that with a 10% K-rate and about 1 HR for every 10 Ks and you get a 330 career BA. Last year Bogaerts had a 362 BABIP with about 1 HR for every 8 Ks ... but with over 1/5 of his ABs being Ks. If you're gonna K in 20% of your ABs (and MLB average is much higher of course), you need to hit 413 on-contact or about 390 BABIP if you HR about as often as Xander does.

The best bets appear to be Freeman -- good BABIP, relatively low K-rate -- or McNeil -- good BABIP with very low K-rate. McNeil did hit 326 last year to lead the NL so not exactly a dark horse. Or Aaron Judge who, give or take, just needs to combine 2018-19 BABIP with 2022 HR and K rates.

Point being it's not the shift, it's the Ks. BABIPs are already higher than they ever were, it's that if you increase contact, you generally lose power and probably BABIP. Banning the shift might help a bit, at least I'd expect a smaller BABIP drop for cutting down on the swing, but there's no way it can make a big enough difference to really boost BA. You've got to dramatically reduce Ks if you want that.
   6. Itchy Row Posted: January 05, 2023 at 05:30 PM (#6112063)
I read the headline as a hyper-targeted ad for when Corey Seager looks at, I assume, skateboarding or Golden Girls fan websites.

How Corey Seager can benefit from new shift rules with this one weird trick
   7. Walt Davis Posted: January 05, 2023 at 05:46 PM (#6112065)
Because if he's checking out b-r, he's still seeing videos explaining the big Correa-Giants deal.
   8. sunday silence (again) Posted: January 06, 2023 at 01:41 AM (#6112112)
TIL: Rod Carew was the luckiest player in baseball.

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