MLB Shift Bans Dodgers, Will Be Forced By Other Top Teams – Sportico.com

change in major League Baseball Next season is going to disappear like Shoeless who is walking in an Iowa cornfield. And no team could be more affected by that change in defensive dynamics. Los Angeles Dodgerstheir manager Dave Roberts Told.

“I hope it does [affect them]Said Padres manager Bob Melvin, whose club have lost 21 of their last 25 games to the Dodgers, 21 games behind them in the National League West, and are looking for some way to close that gap. Huh.

The Dodgers use the shift almost as often as their fans move the Dodger Dogs at Dodger Stadium – 10,593 of their 19,980 pitches move fielders,

Fans watch the Dodgers hop and skip around the infield — like flipping shortstops and third basemen from left to right on consecutive pitches — 53% of the time. This is just behind the Toronto Blue Jays, who used it for 11,062 . have done, Or on 53.4% ​​of their 20,717 mounds.

Roberts is concerned because his use of the shift has worked. His club has used the innings to lead the league and amassed 44 defensive runs.

“I think it will affect us the most because we are one of the better clubs right now using the rules governing change,” Roberts said.

This will change next season when two players—and only two players—will be positioned on the infield dirt on either side of second base. One foot cannot be placed on the outfield grass, ending the current softball-style of playing second baseman at short right field.

“There’s a new scenario, a new structure that we all have to follow,” Roberts said. “I believe we will reevaluate our roster, and position within that new structure to stop the run at a specific clip.”

Don’t cry too much for the Dodgers, who have won their ninth division title in the last 10 years and 100 or more games for the third time in the past four seasons. During the 60-game COVID season in 2020, he had a winning percentage of .717 and won the World Series.

The new infield alignment is one of a bevy of rule changes MLB is planning to set in place next season, including pitch clocks, limits on pickoff throws with a runner at bat, and bases that are three inches larger. There are.

Hopefully the overall effect will accelerate the pace of each game and allow for an increase in offense.

The league batting average this season is .243, the lowest since 1968 when the then 20 MLB teams batted. In 1973, the American League adopted the designated hitter to increase the offense, a rule that was eventually codified in the NL for good this season.

League-wide batting was .264 in 2008, the year the Tampa Bay Rays went to the World Series with a dirt-cheap payroll, and then manager Joe Maddon used a regular shift.

Analytics gurus in nearly every baseball operations department began to imitate the Rays, and the overall MLB-wide batting average fell as the shift progressed.

It makes sense. Teams use computers to identify trends that indicate the batsman is likely to hit the ball. An infielder is moved to a position and a pitcher is instructed to throw at a point in the strike zone that will accommodate that shift.

Thus, a line drive in the middle that could be a base hit is easily produced for an out. Infielders have position cards in their back pockets for reference on where to play on each pitch.

“I’m going to like it as a hitter,” Padres infielder Brandon Drury said this weekend. “I’ve hit a lot of balls in the middle this year that have been caught. I’ve got a few hits through the open hole on the other side of the infield, but not nearly as many as those that have been snatched.”

The Houston Astros, the best team in the AL this season, are second behind the Dodgers, with 39 infield runs saved. They use Shift on 50.4% of their pitches – the third most in MLB.

Eight of the top 10 teams in that category are vying for a spot in the expanded 12-team playoff format, and the Dodgers and Astros both run away with their division titles. Low payroll is no longer the norm in trying to catch up with the rest of the league by making more use of Shift.

The Dodgers and Astros have represented their league in the World Series six times since the Astros defeated the Dodgers in a 2017 seven-game set that was sparked by a Houston sign-theft scandal. Both teams have won once. According to Spottrack, the Dodgers have the top payroll in MLB this season at $265.2 million, while the Astros are eighth at $183.1 million.

It’s a lot of wins and a lot of infield shifts. 30 MLB teams have moved on 34.3% of all 636,006 pitches thrown on Sunday nights so far this year.

That figure would disappear along with the shift, which before the spread of the last decade was only used on rare occasions by moving three infielders to the right against a particularly powerful left-handed power hitter such as Ted Williams or Barry Bond. .

“Next year at infield it will be harder and more challenging for players who will show true defense and range and hand strength, especially on the left side of the infield,” said Roberts. “We’re very conscious of that, and I think it’s still good for the sport.”

It will be different for all current players, none of whom have played an innings without an innings.

Max Munsey, who plays in various on-field positions for the Dodgers, said he doesn’t know if he’s up for it.

“For me, it would be nice to play in a more restricted space, but I enjoy walking around,” he said. “We all have a position card. The guys above run their data and tell us the best position to play.”

That won’t change, he said. “They will micro-manage us next year, even if it’s one side. No doubt.”

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