Beating the Shift

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by: Eric Boston @EricBoston3

Baseball has shifted a lot in recent years, both in preparation and execution.

Strikeouts are up, hits are down, and teams are stacking their defense against pull hitters – daring them to go the other way. The problem is that they are not. It also appears that MLB is thinking about getting in its own way.

Instead of forcing hitters to adjust, which seems like the obvious conclusion, to beat the shift – it appears the league is prepared to give batters some help.

There has been a lot of talk recently about banning defensive shifting…that is just ridiculous!

Force batters to learn to hit the ball to all fields. Start laying down bunts. Basically, do what you need to in order to get on base. If batters start making defenses pay for shifting then this will work itself out. If you are the MLB you cannot simply say, “oh the poor hitters, let’s help them out.”

Today’s game is all about power and launch angle. It is truly home run or bust right now. Defenses have found a way to get outs and batting coaches across the league are doing nothing about it. Except letting their players continue to hit into the shift.

There are times where rule changes actually improve the game. This, however, would not be one of them.

When you think of batting greats you think of guys who would use the whole field, guys who were just as likely to hit a double as they were to hit one over the fence. It is much different now and it happened rather quickly.

Just three short seasons ago the Kansas City Royals won a World Series hitting for average, getting clutch hits, and stealing bases (of course the dominant bullpen was a plus as well). Opponents were not able to utilize shifts because the Royals would hit to the opposite field as much as they pulled the ball.

Please, for the love of all that is holy, make these players remember there is a whole field that you can take advantage of to get hits. Don’t stop teams from making it “too difficult” for batters to get on base. THAT IS KIND OF THE POINT!

Maybe if that is remembered offenses can take back some advantage from the pitchers.

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