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Wednesday, July 13, 2022

MLB testing ‘pie slice’ infield experiment aimed at reining in defensive shift in Class A FSL

The Florida State League will limit defensive shifts by drawing chalk lines in a pie shape from second base to the outfield grass starting July 22, prohibiting infielders from the marked area prior to the pitch in an experiment that could increase offense.

Major League Baseball has been testing shift limits all season at Double-A and Class A, requiring teams to have four players on the infield, including two on each side of second base.

The experiment in the Class A FSL was first reported by The Athletic and confirmed by MLB on Tuesday.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 13, 2022 at 10:52 AM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: defensive shifts

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   1. salvomania Posted: July 13, 2022 at 11:43 AM (#6086497)
What a stupid idea.

Why not prohibit outfielders from playing within 100 feet of an outfield wall? That would certainly increase offense.

Since time eternal, fielders have positioned themselves based on who is batting and where they thought the batter was most likely to hit the ball. If the batter doesn't like it, they can try to go the other way, or bunt.

Rather than change the fundamentals of how the game is played, why not just tweak the ball (which has been done numerous times) to make it harder to hit it a long distance? If right now a team accepts hitting into the shift because every fifth fly ball (or whatever) a guy hits goes over the fence, would they modify their approach if it was every 10th fly ball?
   2. cHiEf iMpaCt oFfiCEr JE Posted: July 13, 2022 at 12:10 PM (#6086501)
Chalk lines won't move the needle but making the affected area a minefield would surely do wonders for fan attendance.
   3. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: July 13, 2022 at 12:17 PM (#6086502)
It's so strange that the things that MLB/Manfred tries are mostly stupid. I thought all these guys were Ivy League? Maybe they should try employing more people from Berkeley, Stanford, and UCLA.
   4. SandyRiver Posted: July 13, 2022 at 01:14 PM (#6086515)
Without looking into the exact 2A/1A rule, I wonder if "on the infield" means on the skin portion of the field. Infielders, especially SS/2B, have been positioning on the outfield grass for years, even when not in a lateral shift. Do the trial rules end this practice?
   5. catomi01 Posted: July 13, 2022 at 03:33 PM (#6086532)
Without looking into the exact 2A/1A rule, I wonder if "on the infield" means on the skin portion of the field. Infielders, especially SS/2B, have been positioning on the outfield grass for years, even when not in a lateral shift. Do the trial rules end this practice?

The Atlantic League trialed this rule a few seasons ago, and if I recall, this exact situation game up basically the first game...the 2nd baseman played in the shallow OF on a lefty pull hitter and it was deemed illegal, and all 4 infielders had to be on the dirt at the time the pitch was released (that was how I remember it being worded - though that same literal interpretation would seem to preclude a bunt defense too.)
   6. bobm Posted: July 13, 2022 at 04:09 PM (#6086542)
[4] MLB definition:
The infield shall be a 90-foot square. The outfield shall be the area between two foul lines formed by extending two sides of the square, as in diagram in Appendix 1
   7. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: July 13, 2022 at 05:38 PM (#6086561)
MLB never saw a bad idea it didn't like.
   8. A triple short of the cycle Posted: July 13, 2022 at 06:06 PM (#6086569)
Is there a diagram of this pie shape somewhere? Sounds like the no-go zone is entirely behind the second base bag? Can fielders play anywhere they want as long as they are not in this zone?
   9. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: July 15, 2022 at 07:06 AM (#6086790)
Since time eternal, fielders have positioned themselves based on who is batting and where they thought the batter was most likely to hit the ball.


Don't forget the "Cool Carl" Karansky shift!
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 15, 2022 at 08:47 AM (#6086796)
Since time eternal, fielders have positioned themselves based on who is batting and where they thought the batter was most likely to hit the ball.

They could, but they generally didn't. Like strikeouts, and batters pitching, shifting was fun when it was rather rare. It's annoying when it happens all the time.
   11. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 15, 2022 at 03:03 PM (#6086832)
Is there a diagram of this pie shape somewhere?

I found a diagram on this APBA message board.. That diagram basically extended the baselines thru second base to the outfield grass. So the line from first base to second base just kept going till it hit the LF grass. The line from third base to second base just keeps running straight thru the bag till it hits the RF grass.

Basically, the pie piece is there to give back the "single up the middle".

   12. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: July 15, 2022 at 03:28 PM (#6086834)
Basically, the pie piece is there to give back the "single up the middle".

And then Manfred should put a bulls-eye target at the dirt line behind 2B and any line drive hitting the center is an automatic double and a zombie runner on first automatically scores, because why not?
   13. gehrig97 Posted: July 15, 2022 at 05:40 PM (#6086844)
@4: Yep. What's old is new again. Ernie Lombardi once quipped "Pee Wee Reese was in the league three years before I realized he wasn’t an outfielder.”

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