What’s with all the shifts in baseball?
This year seems to be the year of the defensive shifts in Major League Baseball. There have been a number of articles written about the topic. Some have gotten into the stats as to whether it actually
works. Others have focussed on which teams do it more often. My take on it is that it shows just how bad or, at the very least, how one dimensional more major league hitters have become.
I don’t mind when teams shift for guys like Ryan Howard, Jose Bautista, and Prince Fielder. Those guys are paid to drive the ball out of the park so pulling every pitch to accomplish that is no big deal in my mind. But when you see teams putting on the shift for average hitters (and some below average hitters), there is something wrong.
What ever happened to using the whole field? When did that go out of fashion for the majority of hitters?
It’s true that the money gets paid to guys who drive the ball and hit home runs. That’s probably why hitters are trying to pull the ball so much. But it’s also why there are a growing number of strikeouts as well.
Although the players deserve a good chunk of the blame for this, I blame the organizations more. They are the ones who develop players. They are the ones who decide who to call up from the minor leagues. They are the ones who piece together their rosters so they shouldn’t be pointing fingers at the players.
Reward the players who hit to all fields and play the offensive side of the ball the correct way. Do it consistently and minor league players will quickly get the message that one dimensional players don’t make it. Period.
Do that and things will change. Don’t do it and the game will continually go downhill on the offensive side of the ball.
Tomorrow’s post: Why I still love the Twins