Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Defensive shifts are old news


Patrick Gee/Los Angeles Dodgers (April 2014)

By Jon Weisman

One of the strangest things to me about any controversy regarding defensive shifts in baseball is that every team I’ve ever played on since I was 8 (mostly softball, admittedly) has shifted based on familiarity with the hitters on the other team.

Of course, that doesn’t mean mistakes don’t happen, but if you knew a batter tended to hit a ball in a certain spot, you always shaded that way and dared him to beat you in another spot. If he did, tip the cap. But at least they had the burden.

If you knew where a batter tended to hit and you didn’t move to cover that spot, that would be bizarre. It would be like knowing that a batter liked fastballs in … and continuing to throw fastballs in.

Shifts in baseball in 2015, such as the Dodgers have been using, might be more common, more extreme, more committed, more intense on the risk-reward proposition, but they’re an outgrowth of the way baseball has been played as long as I’ve known it — and longer than that I’m sure.

Previously on Dodger Insider: Defensive shifts and the Dodgers (May 2014)


Dodgers look to keep 239-game streak alive


Turner, Uribe injuries not serious


  1. oldbrooklynfan

    That’s true. Although shifts are more common today, they’ve alway been used.

  2. My argument against them (or at least the more extreme ones) is that you put players out of position. Just because Puig is at 3b doesn’t mean he would know what to do if the ball was hit to him. Has he ever practiced fielding at 3B? Remember the 2b in Texas who was put in shallow RF. He was in the way of the regular RF, the ball fell and there went the no hitter. Why because you have a player out of his normal position.

    And I also agree with David Kennedy. If you play a batter to hit a certain way, but you don’t pitch him that way, then why bother with the shift.

    Just my thoughts.

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