Simon: The rise of outfield shifts

From SABR member Mark Simon at ACTA Sports on February 22, 2019:

This offseason there was a lot of talk about the possibility of banning infield shifts, though that has yet to happen. It should be noted that teams aren’t just getting creative with their infield positioning these days, they’re also doing unusual things with their outfield positioning.

BIS defines an outfield shift as when the three outfielders are positioned at least 110 total feet from their average position, taking into consideration bat side, ballpark, team, fielder and situational effects. The outfielder locations and average positions were obtained using Statcast data.

There were 2,814 outfield shifts last season. That’s up 28 percent from 2017 and 89 percent from 2016.

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Originally published: February 22, 2019. Last Updated: February 22, 2019.