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Monday, September 06, 2021

The Righty Shift Has Petered Out

This season, we’ve reached a point of stagnation. Teams haven’t budged from the mark they set against lefty hitters in 2020. Moreover, after a steady year-to-year increase, the rate of shifts against righty hitters has actually dropped. What I find more interesting — and ultimately want to dissect — is the latter trend. That teams aren’t looking for new lefties to shift against makes sense, since there’s presumably a limited pool. But righties demonstrate pull-side tendencies, too. If we assume teams are shifting mainly based on pull rates, we’d also expect the number of shifts against righties to keep climbing.

Each team has its own philosophies and internal metrics, so it’s worth noting there may never be a consensus on infield shifts. In the same division no less, the Padres occupy one end of the spectrum and the Dodgers the other. With that in mind, which teams have become more conservative against righties? And which teams are bucking the overall trend?...

What have we learned from this? Nothing revelatory, but we do have a sense of where the league is as a whole. As it stands, most shifts against right-handed hitters come from a fervent minority; otherwise, teams are shying away from them or, like the Padres, never bought into the idea in the first place. I thought the numbers would keep climbing from the looks of previous years, but apparently not. Maybe teams have considered public research. Maybe they’ve come to their own conclusions. Either way, that a justification exists for shifting righties en masse is becoming less likely.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 06, 2021 at 12:28 PM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: shifts

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   1. Jose Canusee Posted: September 07, 2021 at 09:27 PM (#6038618)
didn't log into the other site to comment but one was "why shift for Miguel Sano more than Hunter Dozier if Sano pulls less?" might have been answered by another that said Sano's grounders were harder hit. Apart from batter speed it might be that the fielders have more time to throw out the runner when the ball gets to them faster and the power hitter has more to lose by going the other way with singles.
Another factor might be the many teams rotating through 1B, e.g. the Giants with Belt/Ruf/Wade/Flores, it's harder for a part-time 1B to play far from the bag when they haven't had as many reps throwing to the P covering.
   2. . Posted: September 08, 2021 at 09:12 AM (#6038653)
And meanwhile, with strikeouts in nearly half of his Yankee ABs, Joey Gallo has brought oafball to fabulous new heights!!!

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