Sullivan: Banning the shift is a solution in search of a problem

From SABR member Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs on December 5, 2018:

One of the first things Rob Manfred did after becoming MLB commissioner was talk about his idea of limiting or outright banning the shift. The shift has only become increasingly popular! Here is one proxy measure, courtesy of our own leaderboards. This shows the percentage of time there was some kind of shifted alignment in the field when a batted ball was hit in play.

Defenders move around all the time. Defenders move around more than ever. Different places categorize different alignments differently, and it’s not clear where you draw the line between shift and no shift, but the exact definition doesn’t really matter. Shifts are way up, compared to ten years ago. Shifts are way up, compared to five years ago. It’s impossible to watch baseball and not notice, unless you’ve only started watching baseball very recently.

Back then, killing the shift was only an idea. Ideas, for the most part, are harmless. There’s nothing wrong with a thought exercise. But now this is all back in the news.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: December 6, 2018. Last Updated: December 6, 2018.