Simon: A closer look at early-season intriguing stories

From SABR member Mark Simon at ACTA Sports on April 11, 2018:

It’s too early in the season to make judgments on predictability or sustainability for most statistics. Who you play, who you don’t play and an abundance or lack of flukish plays can wreak havoc on early-season numbers.

But within the smallest of sample sizes are interesting stories from the first two weeks of the season. Here are a few that we’ve noted:

The story of a shift in strategy

In the first week of the season, the Twins used shifts at a pace that would double their 2017 total. Several teams can say that, but the Twins have shifted with a great amount of effectiveness. The Twins didn’t give up a ground ball or short liner hit in a shifted defense until their sixth game of the season.

The Twins have recorded outs on ground balls when in any defensive alignment at the second-highest rate in the majors through eight games (81 percent), and their successful shifts have been a big reason why. Opponents are 3-for-39 when hitting a ground ball or short liner against a shifted Twins defense.

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Originally published: April 11, 2018. Last Updated: April 11, 2018.