From SABR member John Dewan on July 25, 2014:
I was recently asked the following question [by Rob Neyer]: If infield shifts work so well, why aren’t league-wide BABIPs (Batting Average on Balls in Play) dropping? It’s a great question. Shifts are designed to to take hits away from certain pull-heavy hitters, and with the huge increase that we have seen in the number of shifts used across baseball over the last few years, intuitively we would think that this would affect the league’s batting average. And it does! However, the effect is almost imperceptible because the number of batted balls against a shift is still a small percentage of all batted balls put in play.
First, for reference let’s look at what the league-wide BABIP has been over the last 10 years, as well as the shifts data that we have been collecting at Baseball Info Solutions since 2010.
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Originally published: July 29, 2014. Last Updated: July 29, 2014.