If fans thought they saw a bunch of shifts in last season, the numbers are really up even higher this year. Some players’ productions are really suffering because of the ideal defensive alignment. Today I am going to give a quick look at how often a batter hit into a shift compared to the same time frame in 2013.
Just a couple of reminders on the data. The data is for major infield shifts (3 or more players on one side of the infield). The data is only available on batted balls, so if a player was shifted and struck out, the data wasn’t available. Also, I did not include home runs. Finally, the data is a few days behind, so all data was taken from May 4th and earlier for both 2013 and 2014.
• It was like the Tigers knew Prince Fielder would struggle if he was shifted as much as he is being shifted now.
• Teams are putting more extreme shifts on the right-handed hitting Jose Bautista. He has always been known to pull the ball — it turned his career around.
• Colby Rasmus has seen the effects of the shift with his AVG dropping from .276 in 2013 to .234 this season.
Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.