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How Babe Ruth Beat the Shift


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This is from Norman L. Macht's second book of his three-volume set on Connie Mack. Maybe Calhoun, and some others, need to be aware of this.

"Connie Mack tried everything he could think of to stymie (Babe) Ruth. He would stand on the top step of the dugout, waving his outfield around for a minute or two until players stood where he wanted them, then watch Ruth hit it over the fence. He used an infield shift, with three men to the right of second base, and Ruth plopped a bunt down the third base line to beat him."

https://www.amazon.com/Connie-Mack-Turbulent-Triumphant-1915-1931/dp/0803220391

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1 hour ago, fan_since79 said:

This is from Norman L. Macht's second book of his three-volume set on Connie Mack. Maybe Calhoun, and some others, need to be aware of this.

"Connie Mack tried everything he could think of to stymie (Babe) Ruth. He would stand on the top step of the dugout, waving his outfield around for a minute or two until players stood where he wanted them, then watch Ruth hit it over the fence. He used an infield shift, with three men to the right of second base, and Ruth plopped a bunt down the third base line to beat him."

https://www.amazon.com/Connie-Mack-Turbulent-Triumphant-1915-1931/dp/0803220391

Check out the ESPN link... things have changed since Ruth's day.

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3 minutes ago, True Grich said:

Check out the ESPN link... things have changed since Ruth's day.

The only thing that keeps hitters from having control of where the ball goes is they have a different approach. They are all too busy trying to hit the ball as far as they can every single pitch. If you really want to hit the ball to left field as a LH batter you can even move your feet and position them as such to where it would be almost impossible to pull the ball to right. If you have played to a high level of baseball you probably already know this. If you have not than you may not.

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2 minutes ago, Griffey's Corner said:

The only thing that keeps hitters from having control of where the ball goes is they have a different approach. They are all too busy trying to hit the ball as far as they can every single pitch. If you really want to hit the ball to left field as a LH batter you can even move your feet and position them as such to where it would be almost impossible to pull the ball to right. If you have played to a high level of baseball you probably already know this. If you have not than you may not.

They are opening up their hips way too much and too early. When I watch guys being shifted on it still seems like they are fed balls on the outside of the plate which they routinely roll over to the 2nd baseman. Like you said, they are trying to crush balls to right when all they need to do is keep their hands back and hips closed. I'm sure its more difficult than that at the major league level, but its pretty lame to watch duck fart pop ups and slow ground balls instead.

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I read the article and I disagree with Daniel Murphy’s analysis.  He is saying that it takes 3 singles to score a run and so his bunt single would have little value compared to a double.  But if he can hit .300+ on bunted balls away from the shift (And that is probably low, as long as they shift and you can bunt you have to assume you’d get on base more often than not.)  And how often is he getting that extra base hit into the shift?  Or any base hit?  You have to assume that a runner on first at 30-40% is more valuatble than the possibility of a double.

Plus, IF YOU START DOING IT THEY WILL STOP SHIFTING!!!  It’s not f*cking rocket science.  Stop letting these guys think for themselves.

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1 hour ago, True Grich said:

http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/24049347/mlb-hitters-explain-why-just-beat-shift

Beating the shift isn't easy... great insight from 3 current major leaguers.

I get that it isn't easy, but the most successful hitters are those who are able to adjust their approach and hit the ball all over the field. Mike Trout is effective because he hits the ball everywhere.

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Stop pulling off the ball and hit it where it's pitched!!!  Take what the pitcher gives you,  Just watching Cole the first 2 months, his hips were open, {your hands follow your hips}and he is trying to pull most everything.  At best in that alignment, you hit weak popups to left. Trying to hit to the opposite field with an open stance is like hitting a 3 iron with the clubface wide open. You need to have a squared up stance to drive the ball to the opposite field. All these guys in the article, go up there with a pull first approach.

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1 hour ago, calscuf said:

I read the article and I disagree with Daniel Murphy’s analysis.  He is saying that it takes 3 singles to score a run and so his bunt single would have little value compared to a double.  But if he can hit .300+ on bunted balls away from the shift (And that is probably low, as long as they shift and you can bunt you have to assume you’d get on base more often than not.)  And how often is he getting that extra base hit into the shift?  Or any base hit?  You have to assume that a runner on first at 30-40% is more valuatble than the possibility of a double.

Plus, IF YOU START DOING IT THEY WILL STOP SHIFTING!!!  It’s not f*cking rocket science.  Stop letting these guys think for themselves.

if he hits .300 on bunts to beat the shift, then his ops is .600.  He's got a career ops of .800.  The other team will take that all day long.  He'd have to hit .400 for them to even consider not shifting.  plus, his ops the last two seasons before his injury plagued one this year was about .950.  ie he'd have to hit .475 to have the same ops.  

you have to decide if you're going to do it.  you can't just change your approach mid pitch.  

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14 minutes ago, Dochalo said:

if he hits .300 on bunts to beat the shift, then his ops is .600.  He's got a career ops of .800.  The other team will take that all day long.  He'd have to hit .400 for them to even consider not shifting.  plus, his ops the last two seasons before his injury plagued one this year was about .950.  ie he'd have to hit .475 to have the same ops.  

you have to decide if you're going to do it.  you can't just change your approach mid pitch.  

It’s not that simple.  And I don’t think hitting .400 bunting into the shift is unreasonable.  It’s probably likely, as long as you can (will) learn to do it properly.

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1 minute ago, calscuf said:

This shit is mostly about ego.

no it's not.  it's simple math.  

3 minutes ago, calscuf said:

It’s not that simple.  And I don’t think hitting .400 bunting into the shift is unreasonable.  It’s probably likely, as long as you can (will) learn to do it properly.

how is it not.  you either try to beat the shift with a bunt or you don't. 

he get's an increase in obp but takes a disproportionate hit in SLG.  

they don't shift guys who don't get any of their value from slugging 

could it help some players to slap the ball the other way more often?  sure.  but most are better off trying to leave the yard or at least hit a double.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Dochalo said:

no it's not.  it's simple math.  

how is it not.  you either try to beat the shift with a bunt or you don't. 

he get's an increase in obp but takes a disproportionate hit in SLG.  

they don't shift guys who don't get any of their value from slugging 

could it help some players to slap the ball the other way more often?  sure.  but most are better off trying to leave the yard or at least hit a double.  

Defend them if you want, but they’re wrong.  

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1 hour ago, Dochalo said:

no it's not.  it's simple math.  

how is it not.  you either try to beat the shift with a bunt or you don't. 

he get's an increase in obp but takes a disproportionate hit in SLG.  

they don't shift guys who don't get any of their value from slugging 

could it help some players to slap the ball the other way more often?  sure.  but most are better off trying to leave the yard or at least hit a double.  

 

It's simpleton math. Regardless of the possibility of him hitting an extra base hit the situation may only require a base hit of any kind. Also by beating the shift it now becomes less relevant to generate an out, the entire purpose of shifting the infield, not to take away an extra base hit. Those will take place regardless if the side is stacked and they know that. The intention is to generate more ground ball outs or pop ups by pitching low and away and letting the batter try and pull that pitch. Take away that pitch to generate outs and the infield has to reset to neutral and the pitcher has to find another sequence to use to generate outs. 

So it is actually a huge disadvantage to the the hitter to not sacrifice a few games of the rare home run or double and get the infield moved back into a zone where miss hits might find a hole. That would raise the batting average and the slugging percentage would stay at the career norm. You generate no positive WAR hitting weak ground balls and pop ups to infielders. 

 

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You do have to imagine, at least for an individual player, if you drop a few bunts down, they will stop shifting on you and then you get back to your pre-shift numbers, which obviously are going to be an improvement.  It’s really rather remarkable that really no one is doing it and seeing if they stop the shift.

Hell, Calhoun was batting like .125 and he wouldn’t bunt to beat the shift.  That’s loco!

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agree that it's situational and player dependent.  Especially for Kole.  dude couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.  slap a few to the left.  

Albert, on the other hand is hitting .188 when he hits a ball oppo and the shift is on.   Maybe he'd be better if he tried it more.  

I don't think this is the players doing what they want though.  I think they are being fed data.  

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