Garrett Jones is one of the biggest pull hitters in baseball. (Photo credit: David Hague)
The Pirates did not need much help to hit into outs over the first week of the season, they were doing a good job all by themselves. Cubs manager Dale Sveum decided to make life a little more difficult for one of the Bucs' best hitters, Garrett Jones.
On Opening Day, Sveum shifted his infield to have three of his infielders on the right side. Jones hit into the shift in his first three at-bats, only reaching on a first-inning error by infielder Brent Lillibridge.
"I guess it's just that time of year right now, I'm just a little out in front," Jones said. "Teams pick up on that."
That was a day the shift worked. It's a bold strategy, Cotton, but does it really pay off for teams that use it? I set off to find some evidence either way by watching and charting all of Jones' ground balls and line drives dating back to the start of last season. If you have an MLB.tv subscription and no life,...
James covers the Pirates beat for Pirates Prospects. He is a Broadcast Journalism student at USC and has written for such outlets as NBCOlympics.com, Pittsburgh Magazine and the official websites of the Los Angeles Clippers and Pittsburgh Penguins. James previously covered the Pirates for Pittsburgh Sports Report. He also broadcasts play-by-play for the USC Trojans baseball team and was awarded the 2013 Chick Hearn Memorial Scholarship and Allan Malamud Scholarship. James dispenses puns at his Twitter account (@JamesSantelli) where he promises to write in first-person.