Simon: Are some teams cutting back on shifts in 2019?

From SABR member Mark Simon at The Athletic on April 17, 2019:

Defensive shifting is​ alive and​ well to the​ point​ where​​ it is now baseball normalcy. No longer are we stunned to see a defense reposition itself when a left-handed batter comes up, or even when we see the third baseman play what’s become known as “the slot” area in short right field.

Yes, we know it’s early, but here are some shifting-related developments through the first few weeks of the 2019 season.

Shifts on balls in play are on pace to increase around 14 percent from last season. That would bring the number to close to 40,000. Anything about 36,000 would be more than double the volume of shifts from as recently as 2015.

The top two teams in projected shift usage are two that have made dramatic increases: the Marlins and Orioles.

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Originally published: April 19, 2019. Last Updated: April 19, 2019.