Carleton: The hole in the shift is fixing itself

From Russell Carleton at Baseball Prospectus on August 24, 2018:

I’ve been on a bit of a mission against The Shift of late. I’m not out to get The Shift for the usual reasons that people oppose it. The words “the right way to play the game” won’t be found on my lips. If a team wants to pursue a strategy that is within the rules and it works, then by all means, they have my blessing (not that they need it). Instead, my concern with The Shift is a worry that it doesn’t work, or at least that it has a flaw that needs fixing.

The data show that while The Shift does a decent job of preventing singles on balls in play (what it’s supposed to do), it also increases the number of walks that happen in front of it, and the number of additional walks outweighs the number of singles saved. It’s a problem because you can’t throw a guy out if he gets to walk to first base.

But the “why” was important. It seemed that The Shift was changing the way in which pitchers pitched.

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Originally published: August 24, 2018. Last Updated: August 24, 2018.