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If they are such "gifted athletes", why can't they learn to hit the opposite way? I think of them more as stubborn athletes determined to beat the shift by muscling their way through it.

I'm sorry I didn't specify gifted defensive players on the field making spectacular plays.

I could agree with you on hitters

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I don't think trying to pull that one would be any more effective.  

You might get a few more singles to fall in, but that's not really "action". Batters will still be swinging for the fences, K'ing 25% of the time, baserunners will still be largely station to station,

What I would add to this discussion is that a lot of fans focus on the shift and other ways teams have tried to use data to better position fielders based on where hitters are more likely to hit the b

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I don't think trying to pull that one would be any more effective. :)

 

Completely agree. I wanted to push back on the thought of “easy, just hit the ball where they aren’t on the field” or batters completely changing their hitting profiles being simple to do.

 

Should be pretty obvious by now that hitting is more difficult than ever. For the betterment of the game, I hope they start testing some theories in the minors. Such as lowering the mound, or moving it back.

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Completely agree. I wanted to push back on the thought of “easy, just hit the ball where they aren’t on the field” or batters completely changing their hitting profiles being simple to do.

 

Should be pretty obvious by now that hitting is more difficult than ever. For the betterment of the game, I hope they start testing some theories in the minors. Such as lowering the mound, or moving it back.

That looked like a two-strike situation - the batter took a step toward first after whiffing then checking the catcher's glove. Batters have to widen their strike zone with two strikes. I wouldn't use that pitch as an example for anything except a public-service announcement to avoid getting into two-strike situations against someone with nasty deceitful stuff like that.

 

If the batter had made contact, the ball would have gone against any shift they happened to have put on, anyway. Usually a pitcher goes inside when the shift is on (except occasionally to cross up the hitter), no?

 

If your point is that hitting is hard, yes.

 

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That is an excellent cherry picking example! A perfect pitch! On the other hand, I have also seen many examples of the pitcher throwing to the outer half of the plate to left-handers, even with an extreme shift behind him. It's much easier to punch that pitch to left then try to muscle it through the right side.

But in order to punch that pitch to left, you have to identify the pitch, in less time than ever before due to record average velocity, and then change your swing to meet it. Oh, and record spin/break means you will be mis-identifying a lot of those too and probably missing them anyway. It might be a better bet just to take the pitch, if not taking your normal swing.

 

I think that's where the "easier said than done" comes into play. Some guys can still do it in some situations, of course, but it's become increasingly difficult overall, as one would expect given the ever increasing velocity and movement of pitches.

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Think it’s easy to hit pitches like this the other way?

https://twitter.com/pitchingninja/status/1382807410243481603?s=21

Pitchers are throwing harder than ever, and spinning the ball more than ever before. From the same dimensions established more than 100 years ago when they had pitchers throwing in the 80s.

Frankly, hitting that pitch the other way is exactly what you should do. You're just going to roll it over to the SS anyway if you try to pull it. 

 

That's not to say that it's easy, but it's much easier to flip that pitch to RF than it is pull it.

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These types of pitches happen every day. PitchingNinja on Twitter is quite the eye opener if you want to check it out. Pitchers throwing 100 MPH sinkers and 91 MPH wipeout sliders from the same arm angle. Taylor Rogers’ brother throwing sidearm rising fastballs. This pitch that moved from the east to pacific time zone after he released it.

https://twitter.com/pitchingninja/status/1382878448494993410?s=21

:mellow:

Sheesh, I don't think I've seen an MLBer swing and miss by that much before...

 

 

Completely agree. I wanted to push back on the thought of “easy, just hit the ball where they aren’t on the field” or batters completely changing their hitting profiles being simple to do.

Should be pretty obvious by now that hitting is more difficult than ever. For the betterment of the game, I hope they start testing some theories in the minors. Such as lowering the mound, or moving it back.

Ask and ye shall receive! Beginning in the second half of this season, MLB is using the Atlantic League to experiment with moving the rubber back one foot, to 61 feet, 6 inches. I'm very curious to see how this turns out, as I think this would be one of the best ways to cut down on Ks and increase balls in play.

https://www.mlb.com/news/rules-changes-to-be-tested-in-atlantic-league-in-2021

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:mellow:

Sheesh, I don't think I've seen an MLBer swing and miss by that much before...

 

 

Ask and ye shall receive! Beginning in the second half of this season, MLB is using the Atlantic League to experiment with moving the rubber back one foot, to 61 feet, 6 inches. I'm very curious to see how this turns out, as I think this would be one of the best ways to cut down on Ks and increase balls in play.

https://www.mlb.com/news/rules-changes-to-be-tested-in-atlantic-league-in-2021

Excellent news! I’m glad they’re experimenting with this and look forward to seeing the results!

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These types of pitches happen every day. PitchingNinja on Twitter is quite the eye opener if you want to check it out. Pitchers throwing 100 MPH sinkers and 91 MPH wipeout sliders from the same arm angle. Taylor Rogers’ brother throwing sidearm rising fastballs. This pitch that moved from the east to pacific time zone after he released it. https://twitter.com/pitchingninja/status/1382878448494993410?s=21

I thought that the Age of Trump had ended? Using Twitter for your factual source is humorous.

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Missing from the conversation of "they should just hit the opposite way" is that teams are well aware they are shifting.  It's not like the pitcher approaches the batter the same way either.  Most of these lefties with the shift on get worked hard inside.  Going opposite field on a 95 mph fastball on your hands is not "easy" for anyone.

 

I'm partial to moving the mound back myself, but as Brock pointed out....no league but baseball is so afraid to adjust it's rule set to the ebbs and flows of how the game plays out.  In hockey goalies started piling on gigantic - the league acted.  Not to mention changes with two line passes, interference, etc.  Basketball smartly implemented shot clocks when teams exploited possession.  They've gone back and forth on zone defense and 3 second rules.  Football continues to tinker with OT rules, extra points, allowing defenses to change personnel once a huddle happens, etc.

 

Only baseball just puts it's head down and pretends problems will magically go away if guys "just blah blah blah".  That's not reality.  If we want to talk about symptoms of a bigger problem, some of you are demonstrating a long-standing issue with the league - stick your head in the sand over tradition or other stodgy notions and meanwhile keep throwing dirt on the league's future.

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As spycake said way back in the OP, what some refer to as excessive shifting is a symptom, not the disease.

First, I think it's widely accepted that shifting is effective at reducing runs scored by the batting team. Because of this I am at a loss to explain why it wasn't widely implemented years ago.

I certainly understand the motivation behind wanting to make the game more fun to watch by tinkering with the rules, and I share that desire. However, I am against any rule that would prevent defensive players from playing wherever it is felt they are most effective. Rather, as I have said more than once in previous threads, rule changes should have the goal of making it easier for batters to put balls in play but making it more difficult to hit home runs.

I would support lowering the mound and/or moving the pitching rubber farther from home plate. I would support a larger strike zone (to reduce bases on balls). I would also support changing the baseball. The ball in use this year is supposed to have more air resistance than the balls from recent previous years, thereby reducing the number of home runs. However, changes that are significant enough to accomplish that objective will also increase the amount of break on pitches, thereby increasing the number of strikeouts. I don't think this is the best approach. Rather, I think the ball needs to be softer, thereby lowering exit velocity of batted balls.

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As spycake said way back in the OP, what some refer to as excessive shifting is a symptom, not the disease.

First, I think it's widely accepted that shifting is effective at reducing runs scored by the batting team. Because of this I am at a loss to explain why it wasn't widely implemented years ago.

I certainly understand the motivation behind wanting to make the game more fun to watch by tinkering with the rules, and I share that desire. However, I am against any rule that would prevent defensive players from playing wherever it is felt they are most effective. Rather, as I have said more than once in previous threads, rule changes should have the goal of making it easier for batters to put balls in play but making it more difficult to hit home runs.

I would support lowering the mound and/or moving the pitching rubber farther from home plate. I would support a larger strike zone (to reduce bases on balls). I would also support changing the baseball. The ball in use this year is supposed to have more air resistance than the balls from recent previous years, thereby reducing the number of home runs. However, changes that are significant enough to accomplish that objective will also increase the amount of break on pitches, thereby increasing the number of strikeouts. I don't think this is the best approach. Rather, I think the ball needs to be softer, thereby lowering exit velocity of batted balls.

Concur in all respects. Simply lowering the mound or increasing the distance won't do enough toward achieving balance. There has to be something done to reduce the incentive for the uppercut swing in every situation. Winding the ball just a little less tightly has to be part of the overall strategy.

 

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To be fair to the league, it would be hard to push some of these changes directly into MLB without testing and studying them first. They might not help at all, they might be over-corrective, they might have unintended side effects, etc.

 

And sure enough, the past several years have seen growing MLB partnerships (or takeovers) of previously mostly autonomous minor leagues, with new rules and conditions being introduced in those leagues for the explicit purpose of testing their effects and viability for MLB.

 

If no effective changes make their way to MLB in 2-3 years, I will be disappointed, but right now the league seems to be on the right track in this regard.

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To be fair to the league, it would be hard to push some of these changes directly into MLB without testing and studying them first.

If they tested the rabbit ball in the minor leagues for a few seasons before foisting them on major league pitchers, they sure didn't announce it while in progress.

 

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As spycake said way back in the OP, what some refer to as excessive shifting is a symptom, not the disease.

First, I think it's widely accepted that shifting is effective at reducing runs scored by the batting team. Because of this I am at a loss to explain why it wasn't widely implemented years ago.

I certainly understand the motivation behind wanting to make the game more fun to watch by tinkering with the rules, and I share that desire. However, I am against any rule that would prevent defensive players from playing wherever it is felt they are most effective. Rather, as I have said more than once in previous threads, rule changes should have the goal of making it easier for batters to put balls in play but making it more difficult to hit home runs.

I would support lowering the mound and/or moving the pitching rubber farther from home plate. I would support a larger strike zone (to reduce bases on balls). I would also support changing the baseball. The ball in use this year is supposed to have more air resistance than the balls from recent previous years, thereby reducing the number of home runs. However, changes that are significant enough to accomplish that objective will also increase the amount of break on pitches, thereby increasing the number of strikeouts. I don't think this is the best approach. Rather, I think the ball needs to be softer, thereby lowering exit velocity of batted balls.

Interesting ideas, worth a try in the minors, except making the strike zone larger. All that will do is increase K's.

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Ask and ye shall receive! Beginning in the second half of this season, MLB is using the Atlantic League to experiment with moving the rubber back one foot, to 61 feet, 6 inches. I'm very curious to see how this turns out, as I think this would be one of the best ways to cut down on Ks and increase balls in play.

https://www.mlb.com/news/rules-changes-to-be-tested-in-atlantic-league-in-2021

I haven't really been in favor of MLB's tinkering with the game since the creation of the DH, but I have to admit moving the mound back a foot is a very interesting experiment to see how it affects the pitcher-batter interaction. I'm all in favor of bringing back the action on the field (reduce K's, W's and HR's) with more balls-in-play. It just might be that the current game played by great athletes with incredible training and tools require modifying the dimensions some. It's been done before.

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Interesting ideas, worth a try in the minors, except making the strike zone larger. All that will do is increase K's.

Not necessarily. If the mound is lowered and/or the pitching rubber is moved farther from home plate that would counter (and hopefully more than counter) any advantage to the pitcher that a larger zone would confer, because pitches would be easier to hit. The main benefit, though, would be fewer bases on balls.

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If you want to see an example of how hard it is to hit in the majors these days, check out Mets-Rockies (4-17) 1st game of a double header. DeGrom was throwing consistent 100 mph high heat and struck out 9 straight, 14 total in the 7 inning game. Pretty sick when a guy throws a 90 mph change-up. Diaz pitched the 7th and struck out the side. Thats 17 of 21 outs via the K.

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If you want to see an example of how hard it is to hit in the majors these days, check out Mets-Rockies (4-17) 1st game of a double header. DeGrom was throwing consistent 100 mph high heat and struck out 9 straight, 14 total in the 7 inning game. Pretty sick when a guy throws a 90 mph change-up. Diaz pitched the 7th and struck out the side. Thats 17 of 21 outs via the K.

And the first two Rockies outs that game were not strikeouts! So 17 of the next 19 were K’s...

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Shifting has hurt offenses no matter what any stats say. But more hitters are trying to hit the ball over the fence than going with the pitch. Teams are not playing the game the way it was supposed to be played. I saw several batters pulling the ball rather than hitting the other way or even bunting (God forbid) with men on base and only 1 defensive player on the opposite side of the field. It's just like batters not moving a runner on second over to third with no outs. They just can't, won't or don't do it. 

So what to do? Ban shifts? Take away strategy of the game? I hope not. I'd rather see other changes made to the game. Nobody bunts, nobody hardly ever hits and runs. Get rid of these darn statistics that mean nothing. Stop talking about launch angles and mph off the bat. Who cares?

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I haven't really been in favor of MLB's tinkering with the game since the creation of the DH, but I have to admit moving the mound back a foot is a very interesting experiment to see how it affects the pitcher-batter interaction. I'm all in favor of bringing back the action on the field (reduce K's, W's and HR's) with more balls-in-play. It just might be that the current game played by great athletes with incredible training and tools require modifying the dimensions some. It's been done before.

Great to hear! Moving the mound back msy help with balls in play FWIW. As long as dudes who are 6'5 are humming it up there at such high velocities there will be contact issues at the current distance. Perhaps the all or nothing plans hitters use as their approach could change if allowed more time to recognize a pitch.

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Great to hear! Moving the mound back msy help with balls in play FWIW. As long as dudes who are 6'5 are humming it up there at such high velocities there will be contact issues at the current distance. Perhaps the all or nothing plans hitters use as their approach could change if allowed more time to recognize a pitch.

In the 2008 season, there were 41 pitches clocked at 101 MPH. 3 weeks into the 2021 season, there are 42 pitches clocked at 101.

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Also, worth pointing out in this conversation that the only thing really trending out of control is strikeouts.  While putting balls in play is important, most every other per year metric is within "normal" range for the last twenty years except strikeouts.  Even if you think HRs are worrisome, doubles have trended down over their slight rise.  Indicating players are just getting that extra lift to clear fences more than an all or nothing approach.  Now I'm aware all of that means more outs are being made at the plate, but that also indicates about the same number of hits (which create more action) are landing as they always have.  I think that's an important distinction for diagnosing the problem.  Shifts are kinda lame, but it isn't the problem.

 

What has escalated out of control is the degree to which pitchers are controlling games.  This seems like a plausible reason why.  It's why I'm a fan of experimenting with the idea of giving hitters more time to recognize pitches so they make more contact.

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Also, worth pointing out in this conversation that the only thing really trending out of control is strikeouts.  While putting balls in play is important, most every other per year metric is within "normal" range for the last twenty years except strikeouts.  Even if you think HRs are worrisome, doubles have trended down over their slight rise.  Indicating players are just getting that extra lift to clear fences more than an all or nothing approach.  Now I'm aware all of that means more outs are being made at the plate, but that also indicates about the same number of hits (which create more action) are landing as they always have.  I think that's an important distinction for diagnosing the problem.  Shifts are kinda lame, but it isn't the problem.

 

What has escalated out of control is the degree to which pitchers are controlling games.  This seems like a plausible reason why.  It's why I'm a fan of experimenting with the idea of giving hitters more time to recognize pitches so they make more contact.

The only thing missing from this analysis is that batters, given more time to recognize pitches, will still aim their swing for optimal loft, in the expectation that a large percent of fly balls will go out of the yard, only now with even greater success. To compensate for the disadvantage being added to the pitchers, I feel that batters must be hobbled a bit by a less lively ball. True sluggers should still be able to hit the ball out of the park, but average players should find a slightly softer ball works better for them with a line drive swing, which (when contact is perfect) will still occasionally result in a home run but more often with a base hit.
 

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