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A Subtle Thing the Diamondbacks Pitching Staff Has Been the Best At

Robbie Hammock might be on to something

Diamondbacks Photo Day Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

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

ARI 0.267
CHC 0.269
CLE 0.271
ATL 0.273
PHI 0.276
TBR 0.276
SEA 0.281
MIN 0.284
TEX 0.284
LAD 0.286
WSN 0.286
CHW 0.286
LAA 0.289
KCR 0.293
NYY 0.293
BAL 0.293
STL 0.293
TOR 0.295
OAK 0.296
MIL 0.298
MIA 0.299
HOU 0.300
COL 0.300
CIN 0.300
NYM 0.305
SFG 0.307
SDP 0.309
PIT 0.318
BOS 0.321
DET 0.353

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?)