I won't have much time to write this week (or the next couple weeks) due to work obligations so I'm going to keep this brief for this week. But after seeing the super-uber-mega-ultra shift that we used a few times against DJ LeMahieu last week, I decided to look into how effective our shifting had actually been. It seemed to me that, anecdotally, our shifts actually seemed to work really well this year.
And the data backs up my anecdotal feeling.
Now there are a few ways to measure effectiveness of a shift. To me, a shift is less about giving up extra base hits (normally) and more about getting more outs. From that definition, we have the perfect stat: BABIP. And of course, I wouldn't be writing this post if we weren't, in fact, the best:
Team BABIP while shifted
That's right. When it comes to getting hitters to hit into outs with a shift, the Dbacks do it at a better rate than any other team in baseball.
Going deeper, our wOBA with the shift on is 3rd-best in the MLB and our slugging allowed is 7th-best, so we're doing a good job of preventing extra-base hits, too.
Maybe we should look into doing more shifts. To-date, we've shifted against 872 batters which is only the 19th highest rate in the MLB. The Brewers, in first place, have shifted 1725 times. Now obviously shifting too much will reduce its efficiency, but it seems like we have some room to grow.
Looks like Robbie Hammock has been doing some good work in his current role (he's the one responsible for our shifting, right?)