Why it's time for Major League Baseball to ban (or not ban) the shift

Yappi

Go Buckeyes
Seems this topic will come up every year.

I am 100% AGAINST banning the shift. The defense plays where the ball is hit. If the batter(s) can't use the whole field, why should the defense defend the whole field.

Here's another opinion...

Though it's been rising in recent weeks, the batting average this season is .245. Think about that at the surface level. If you see a player hitting .248, what's your initial reaction? We've grown accustomed to thinking that's bad, but it's actually above average this year. This is the lowest league batting average since 1972, the year that led to the implementation of the designated hitter. The only other lower batting averages in history are from the 1800s, the Deadball Era, 1967 and 1968. The latter two led to the mound being lowered. We absolutely have a batting average problem.

Maybe it is time for baseball to return to finding hitters who can hit and not keep promoting the swing for the fences types if they want batting averages to go up. Great hitters will always be able to hit even with a shift.
 

wolves82

Well-known member
An interesting topic, but the author of that article is just going for clicks and views. He even touched on it in the article, the real issue is strikeouts, not the shift. Hitters go for the HR and strike out more.

BABIP is the true indicator of how much of a factor the shift is, and it is not terribly below average. Certainly it is frustrating to see a hitter smoke a ball into what used to be the gap, and an infielder is there in short RF or LF to make the out. But it is no more than 1-2 times per game. I agree that it is incumbent on the batter to "hit 'em where they ain't". Rod Carew, Pete Rose, Tony Gwynn would place it where they wanted, and bat .450 against the shift, so teams would have to play them straight.

But you cannot outlaw the shift. for many decades teams have played "no doubles" defense, where they guard the lines at 1B and 3B, and play deeper in the OF. Or the outfielders would adjust to account for pull-hitters. Or the SS/2B would shift towards the middle with a runner on first and less than 2 outs. Thats baseball. How would you legislate what is a legal defensive shift, and what is not?
 

Sig Hansen

Well-known member
Three true outcomes is what's hurting the game, not shifts

It's extremely frustrating to watch a right handed hitter who's hitting .180 or something not reach when every defensive player is shifted past second base. For the love of God, learn how to bunt and you will automatically get a base hit. It's insane that players care more about being asked to bunt than their horrendous average and OBP

Also how are you going to ban the shift exactly? Paint a bunch of lines onto the dirt that players would not be able to move out of? That would be dumb.
 

Zunardo

Well-known member
An interesting topic, but the author of that article is just going for clicks and views.
That was my first thought after reading the article. My second thought was, " What Would Ted Do?"

Here's an interesting article that basically says hitters need to suck it up and adjust. As long as teams reward them for not doing so, averages will stay down.

"These days, every team is shifting, but it's much more scientific than Boudreau's flooding of the diamond's right side. The more data teams can digest, the more they will know about where a hitter is likely to hit the ball....... it's a rough time for offense in baseball. And it likely will be until hitters make their own adjustments. But, hey, you know, in time hitters will adjust. It's baseball. Things will shift. "
https://joeposnanski.substack.com/p/the-boudreau-shift
 

LELL

Active member
Keep it. The batter should be able to lay down a bunt every time. Nothing like seeing a well hit placed ball that the batter can turn it into a double!
 

Omar

Well-known member
Three true outcomes is what's hurting the game, not shifts

It's extremely frustrating to watch a right handed hitter who's hitting .180 or something not reach when every defensive player is shifted past second base. For the love of God, learn how to bunt and you will automatically get a base hit. It's insane that players care more about being asked to bunt than their horrendous average and OBP

Also how are you going to ban the shift exactly? Paint a bunch of lines onto the dirt that players would not be able to move out of? That would be dumb.
I assume the umpires would have discretion to make the call based on how the Defense is aligned. I must admit, I’ve grown torn on the shift. These are professional hitters, but the result has been more guys swinging for power instead of contact.
 

thavoice

Well-known member
The problem in baseball is the amount of strikeouts. When Ks out pace hits, we have a issue. The only real solution is lowering the mound. Before I started my boycott, after the players thought it was smart to boycott and it play and shove a political movement down our throats, baseball had been trending the last few years to become even more stagnant than I had been. Does not bother me anymore as I don't watch or listen any longer, but the viability nod the game is hanging on the balance and more Ks than hits is not a sustainable game
 

Zezzo!

Well-known member
Analytics has destroyed baseball as we know it, David Bell doesn't know what to do without it. Does anyone on the Reds besides Castellanos and Suarez play 9 innings or get 4 AB's anymore?
 

wolves82

Well-known member
Analytics has destroyed baseball as we know it, David Bell doesn't know what to do without it. Does anyone on the Reds besides Castellanos and Suarez play 9 innings or get 4 AB's anymore?
I like analytics, when properly applied. In the hands of Ding-a-ling Bell, they are an abomination. The man has no clue...
 

ringer2

Active member
The shift would disappear if players and teams simply were willing to bunt for base hits. For crying out loud, if you get a bunt down you could crawl to 1B for a hit.
 

OldSoulon

Active member
I saw Kenny Lofton interviewed last year, and he said he would bunt every time up down that vacant third base line if they shifted like they do today against him.

Whatever happened to keeping the other team honest? Oh, that's right, almost nobody in the game can lay down a bunt today.
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
Lot of people always say "just bunt" and "why can't this guy bunt" (on a sacrifice).

Keep this in mind....what batter, in HS, college, whatever, is going to get drafted and work his way through the minors because he can bunt? The guys in the pros now had to be the top 1% in HS, then the top 1% in college, then the top 1% in A, then the top 1% in AA. The guys in the pros got where they are b/c they were always the best players and hitters on their team. How many coaches have their best hitter bunt?

Now they get to the majors and can only hit .200 bc of the level of pitching, and everyone wonders why they can't lay a bunt down. B/c they never bunted when pitchers sucked, now they are supposed to do it against the guys with the most velocity and movement on the planet?

When scouts start drafting and promoting players that make contact over the guys who hit it 450 feet every 25th at bat, we might get back to seeing fundamentals at the MLB level
 

wolves82

Well-known member
Lot of people always say "just bunt" and "why can't this guy bunt" (on a sacrifice).

Keep this in mind....what batter, in HS, college, whatever, is going to get drafted and work his way through the minors because he can bunt? The guys in the pros now had to be the top 1% in HS, then the top 1% in college, then the top 1% in A, then the top 1% in AA. The guys in the pros got where they are b/c they were always the best players and hitters on their team. How many coaches have their best hitter bunt?

Now they get to the majors and can only hit .200 bc of the level of pitching, and everyone wonders why they can't lay a bunt down. B/c they never bunted when pitchers sucked, now they are supposed to do it against the guys with the most velocity and movement on the planet?

When scouts start drafting and promoting players that make contact over the guys who hit it 450 feet every 25th at bat, we might get back to seeing fundamentals at the MLB level
You are certainly right. I just think that if I was one of those guys, I'd spend the off-season adding that skill to my toolkit, so I could improve my numbers next year. That should have happened a couple years ago. The best hitters in the world can learn to bunt, if they want to.
 

Gh0st

Well-known member
Heard John Smoltz saying the other night saying this season would have been a good experiment to ban the shift with all the other rule changes. I don't really disagree, could have been interesting to see what happened.
 
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