Shift!

One of the really cool things that Baseball Info Solutions keeps track of is when there is a shift and it effects the outcome of the play. If it doesn’t effect the outcome of the play, it’s not recorded as a shift, even if one was employed.

In 2008, the top 5 players that were most effected by shifts (positively or negatively) were:

Carlos Delgado
Ryan Howard
Jim Thome
David Ortiz
Adam Dunn

Delgado’s BABIP on shift effected plays was at the .191 mark, compared to his .284 BABIP on every play. This is entirely different from say, Ortiz’s BABIP on shift effected plays which was .299, compared to his overall .273 BABIP. Makes you wonder if shifting on Ortiz is a good idea, though it would definitely take a deeper dive into the numbers to know for sure.

Anyway, this was really just a quick preliminary look at the data, but with everyone talking about shifts and BABIP lately, I thought this might be of some interest.



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David Appelman is the creator of FanGraphs.


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MattS
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I wrote an article about the implications of this a couple weeks ago. What it means is that hitters who are shifted against are primarily vulnerable to lower BABIPs with bases empty than with men on, and hence have higher BABIPs in higher leverage situations– thus making them naturally more clutch in performance without being clutch in contact. Here’s the article:

http://www.thegoodphight.com/2009/1/29/741980/there-is-clutch-or-the-cas

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