Vigderman: The outfield shift has arrived

From Alex Vigderman at ACTA Sports on March 21, 2018:

Over the weekend there was a bit of hubbub about the Phillies’ use of seemingly conflicting shifts in the infield and outfield in a Grapefruit League game against Twins first baseman Joe Mauer. Their infielders were playing Mauer in what BIS calls a Full Ted Williams Shift (three men on the pull side of the infield), while their outfielders were heavily shaded to the opposite field. This alignment could look perplexing if you assume that players hit balls the same direction whether in the air or on the ground. But the thing is, this makes some sense given Mauer’s tendencies, and he’s not unique in this respect.

The diagrams below (which we like to call “smart charts”) show the number of balls hit to different areas of the field where the fielder can make a difference (i.e. no pop-ups for infielders or short line drives for outfielders). The color coding includes a weighting system that increases the importance placed on high-impact locations (down the line, deep, and in the gaps). Here we have Mauer’s batted ball breakdown on grounders and short line drives (GSLs) and outfield airballs from last season.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: March 22, 2018. Last Updated: March 22, 2018.