Dewan: On the rise of the shift defense

From SABR member John Dewan at ACTA Sports on May 11, 2012:

This is so cool.  Have I died and gone to heaven?

Since I began my career over 25 years ago, first with Project Scoresheet, then with STATS, Inc., now with Baseball Info Solutions, my main focus in the analytics world has been defense.  At Project Scoresheet we came up with a variety of techniques that we presented at the SABR conference in the 80’s.  In the 90’s at STATS, we developed Zone Ratings and the original version of Ultimate Zone Ratings.  In the 2000’s, here at Baseball Info Solutions we developed the Plus/Minus System and Defensive Runs Saved.

Recently our focus has been on evaluating The Shift.  And for the first time ever, we’re seeing major league teams immediately adopt a major strategy that is in line with the new analytics.

This is so cool.

In each of the last two years, there have been about 1,900 shifts in MLB.  This year we’re on pace for twice that, about 3,800.   Here are the top ten teams.  You can see that they have really upped the ante on the new Shift Defense.

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Originally published: May 11, 2012. Last Updated: May 11, 2012.