Carleton: The corner outfield inefficiency

From Russell Carleton at Baseball Prospectus on November 25, 2013:

On Friday’s episode of Effectively Wild, listener Matt Trueblood emailed the show to ask Ben and Sam a fascinating question. Why is it that teams do not have their left and right fielders switch places more often, particularly if one of them is a better fielder than the other? We know that some players like to pull the ball, while others like to hit to the opposite field. Why not put the better fielder in the place where it’s more likely that the ball will be hit? It’s a fascinating question because there is no rule that prohibits it from happening. In the era of the infield shift, why hasn’t anyone tried this?

Teams will often shift an outfielder from left to right (or the reverse) within a game if they make a defensive substitution, and no one minds. Sometimes players bounce back and forth and back again. Other than the fact that box score makers would hate it, why not within an inning as the batter changes?

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Originally published: November 25, 2013. Last Updated: November 25, 2013.