Simon: Taking a look at the hitters who’ve fared best against the shift — and a few who’ve lost to it

From SABR member Mark Simon at The Athletic on August 29, 2019:

There’s a school of thought that the best way to deal with the shift is to hit the ball over it. Some hitters have changed their swings and adjusted their approach to do that more often. But not everyone is going to have success with that approach every time up.

There’s still something to be said for the guys who are finding other ways to beat the shift by figuring out other ways around it. One of the best examples of that is Mets utilityman Jeff McNeil. He’s batting .394 when hitting a groundball or short line drive versus a shift this season. McNeil’s first at-bat against the Yankees in the Subway Series matchup on July 9 epitomized that.

McNeil fought for eight pitches, and on the eighth, he slapped a soft groundball to shortstop. Had Didi Gregorius been playing a normal shortstop position, he’d have shuffled over a few steps, fielded the ball on his forehand and thrown it across for a likely out.

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Originally published: August 29, 2019. Last Updated: August 29, 2019.