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Thread: Article: The Twins Considering a Shift in Strategy

  1. #21
    Pixel Monkey MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
    getting better as one gets well into his 30s meant something in the late 1990s too, right? Not sure it means he did well at adapting as much as kept himself in good shape and was a great singles hitter for a long time.
    It's possible it was just health and fitness related but it seems to me like there'd be a fair amount of adjustment in there as well once bat speed and strength starts to fade.

  2. #22

    Hitters

    Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
    My thoughts on shifting are kind of boring. I don't believe in shifting (or shading) for every single batter, all game long. I'd look at the stats and the charts and have a sense. But, I don't think I'd open up crazy holes except for the extremes.
    One other factor not mentioned is the effect on the batter. When he sees a dramatic shift, does he try to hit the other way? Does this reduce his effectiveness? I would think it would reduce the power numbers if he does. I doubt there is enough data available, but you could compare OPS against the shift and against a standard defensive alignment.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Triple-A
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    It's possible it was just health and fitness related but it seems to me like there'd be a fair amount of adjustment in there as well once bat speed and strength starts to fade.
    It seems to me that when players keep their effectiveness late into their 30's, there are several factors involved. Leaving out PED's, these factors include health and fitness, modern medicine-including surgery, and the player's ability to adapt to his declining skills. Usually a well rounded hitter like Molitor has to decide whether he is going to concentrate on power or average. You saw it a bit with Puckett whose home run totals dropped after his prime years but his average was good. You see the same with Hunter. Some guys like Thome virtually gave up any effort to hit for average and concentrated on power.

  4. #24
    Owner Big-Leaguer Parker Hageman's Avatar
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    I doubt there is enough data available, but you could compare OPS against the shift and against a standard defensive alignment.
    BIS has this data (not publicly available) but in James' article, he mentioned that David Ortiz, who is one of the most shifted players, had an average of .245 on grounders/liners when shifted vs .232 when not shifted.

  5. #25
    Pixel Monkey MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parker Hageman View Post
    BIS has this data (not publicly available) but in James' article, he mentioned that David Ortiz, who is one of the most shifted players, had an average of .245 on grounders/liners when shifted vs .232 when not shifted.
    What I would give to see Ortiz start laying bunts down the third base line every time a team shifts against him.

    Really, I don't understand why players don't do it... Free base! Even Ortiz can outrun that throw, provided he can get it past the pitcher (which shouldn't be hard against the average RHP).

  6. #26
    Owner Big-Leaguer Parker Hageman's Avatar
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    This is an interesting little bit from a White Sox blogger in 2012 on how the Twins were one of a few teams that were not shifting on Adam Dunn.

    http://www.chicagonow.com/white-sox-...am-dunn-wrong/

    Now a couple of those situations had a runner on first so there may have been the need to keep the shortstop to cover second. It should also be noted that Dunn hit .274 and 17 singles (the highest of any team with 40+ plate appearance) against the Twins that year.

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Parker Hageman View Post
    This is an interesting little bit from a White Sox blogger in 2012 on how the Twins were one of a few teams that were not shifting on Adam Dunn.

    http://www.chicagonow.com/white-sox-...am-dunn-wrong/

    Now a couple of those situations had a runner on first so there may have been the need to keep the shortstop to cover second. It should also be noted that Dunn hit .274 and 17 singles (the highest of any team with 40+ plate appearance) against the Twins that year.
    ouch.

  8. #28
    Senior Member Triple-A Paul Pleiss's Avatar
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    I am not a fan of extreme shifts. Much like Jim Johnson was quoted in the article, some guys you just don't need to shift for, because you're not worried about a guy like, for example Florimon, to be an offensive threat, even if he hits 80% of ground balls to 2B. For some guys, Ortiz, for example, the shift might be the right idea, but not every at bat, not every situation.

    I also think it's important how the shift is employed. Do you leave the third basemen alone, or shift him over to play short LF allowing the SS to cover the big expanse on the right side of the diamond? I'll be interested to see what happens, but I don't think the Twins will suddenly be up at the top of the league with the Rays in use of the shift.

  9. #29
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    Extreme shifts have been around for a long time. Using modern data gathering techniques as when to employ them makes a certain amount of sense. Still, it can be relatively easy to defeat these shifts as well. I remember years ago, Kent Hrbek winning a game when shifted like that by flaring a little popup the opposite way.

    Using an extreme shift like that against say Mauer, no matter his groundball tendencies would seem silly. You would think he would just bunt for doubles all day. I know lots of you would like to see the Twins get all modern and stuff, but I have certain reservations about how effective these shifts really are. Some of the data available kind of confirms those doubts.

  10. #30
    Senior Member All-Star Willihammer's Avatar
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    I think some people (including, I suspect, Gardy) are overly fearful of the bunt. When is the last time you even saw someone attempt it? I remember Doumit slapping a bunt foul last year in Cleveland - once. But he was shifted on everyday as was Morneau and to a lesser extent, Mauer. I for one can't remember any of them bunting against a shift.

    There's not a lot of success/attempt bunt data out there that I'm aware of. But here are the Flat Bat awards on Bill James site. Most all of these guys are 1. fast, and 2. not shifted on.

    Truth seems to be that the slow lumbering hitters who see most shifts either aren't bunting at all, or aren't bunting successfully. IN other words, getting beat via the bunt shouldn't be a concern against those guys.

    http://www.billjamesonline.com/_the_flat_bat_award_2013_/

    2013 Bunt Hit Leaders
    Name Bunt Hit Results Batting Average
    Jose Iglesias, Bos-Det 10 out of 12 .833
    Jordan Schafer, Atl 8 out of 12 .667
    Leonys Martin, Tex 11 out of 17 .647
    Everth Cabrera, SD 7 out of 11 .636
    Juan Lagares, NYM 7 out of 11 .636
    Brett Gardner, NYY 9 out of 15 .600
    Starling Marte, Pit 10 out of 17 .588
    Alejandro De Aza, CWS 7 out of 12 .583
    Jarrod Dyson, KC 10 out of 18 .556
    Will Venable, SD 6 out of 11 .545


  11. #31
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    Article from about 2 years back on trying to bunt vs the shift: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/beati...fensive-shift/

    Depends on the hitter's expected output, but a required success rate of roughly 45% sounds about right. You'd think most guys could successfully do that with a little effort behind it.

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