Comments on: Analysis: Teams Should Shift Their Infield More Against Garrett Jones http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/analysis-teams-should-shift-their-infield-more-against-garrett-jones.html Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Fri, 18 Apr 2014 00:19:00 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 By: James Santelli http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/analysis-teams-should-shift-their-infield-more-against-garrett-jones.html#comment-26547 Fri, 19 Apr 2013 18:17:23 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=50124#comment-26547 You’re right about that. And if teams were to shift more often on Garrett Jones, he would try to hit more to all fields or even lay down some bunts. Clint Hurdle even pointed out that they do directional hitting drills to get hitters to spray the ball. My main point is that more shifting would limit Jones’ offensive production over the long haul, and I still believe that is true.

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By: lawdog http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/analysis-teams-should-shift-their-infield-more-against-garrett-jones.html#comment-26515 Thu, 18 Apr 2013 23:43:36 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=50124#comment-26515 I see your points, but that would lead to the conclusion, not just with Jones but other players with a shift to either just accept that their average with balls in play will now be reduced 50% or a team needs to find a player that can put up the same production where he hits to all fields. Since they have no one to replace Jones, I would think at least attempting to bunt would be better than just accepting teams have your number and if you do not hit it over the fence your average is going to go down.

Its like why they tell a player to hit the ball the other way, even if their power is all when they pull the ball. Get enough hits to the opposite field, then a pitcher would rather risk pitching inside and you hitting a homerun if your average is less pulling, because the occasional HR is better game-wise then having the same player get on base more with singles. Its counter-intuitive, but taking singles with outside pitches actually leads to more home runs over the season since they are getting some more pitches in their power zone.

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By: James Santelli http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/analysis-teams-should-shift-their-infield-more-against-garrett-jones.html#comment-26512 Thu, 18 Apr 2013 22:26:30 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=50124#comment-26512 Lawdog, you have some perfectly reasonable critiques, though I disagree with them (shock of shocks!).
*** I don’t know why you have to put “stats” in quotation marks. It’s perfectly reasonable that an above average power hitter like Jones would need to get on base with bunt singles at about a .400 or .450 clip to match the offensive value he brings to the table with his power.
*** I kind of left the door open about Jones’ bunting abilities by writing, “We would have to see Jones lay down more than one in-game bunt to have any idea.” Hell, that’s why I wrote a whole section on it. Problem is, Jones has only laid down two sacrifice hits in the Majors or Minors since 2004. 2004! So for almost a decade, the guy has not been asked to bunt in a competitive game for nine years. Could he be good? Maybe, but letting that skill atrophy for almost a decade makes me think “average bunter” is a bit too optimistic for him.
*** As for the Barry Bonds comparison, I wouldn’t liken an infield shift to walking a player at every plate appearance. We have never seen such a strategy, but we have seen plenty of infield shifts on players like Howard, Pena, Dunn, Gonzalez and Ortiz. I don’t want to simply appeal to authority, but I don’t think so many teams would do it if it offered negative value.
*** “Teams are not strat-o-matic automatons.” Of course not. Which is why I talked to the managers and the players about this subject. I’m not telling teams to blindly keep a shift on, unless my writing the words “we can say pretty comfortably that more teams should be shifting on Garrett Jones” means something completely different to you than it does to me. The sample remains small, and it would be good to see more results either way.

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By: lawdog http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/analysis-teams-should-shift-their-infield-more-against-garrett-jones.html#comment-26511 Thu, 18 Apr 2013 21:15:04 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=50124#comment-26511 I cant argue with the stats, but I argue against the conclusions.. Jones should bunt on the shift. Although the “stats” say he would have to be successful 40-45% of the time, this ignores in my mind two crucial facts:

1. In the shift, unless a hitter is an almost laughable bunter, any slug bunt down the third base line past the pitcher is a hit 100% of the time as there is no third baseman. Jones does not but because he is a power hitter, but I assume until proven otherwise he is an average bunter.

2. Back in the steroid age, many fans asked why wouldn’t everyone just walk Barry Bonds? The answer was even with 80 home runs, he still makes an out between 6 and 7 times out of ten, and still only hit a home rune about 15% of the time. Teams fear base runners more than home runs. The shift is meant to take away base hits, not home runs. A hit is a hit, yes you lose the chance of a home run or double, but you are putting guys on base, which is much more likely to lead to runs than the occasional homer.

Teams are not strat-o-matic automatons. One or two bunts against each team that employs a shift that results in a hit, especially if that hit becomes a run, would greatly diminish the shift (by shading the ss or 3b to guard against it) or end it altogether. I find it hard to believe in the real game, and not in sabremetric numbers, that if a team lost a few games by one or two runs because Jones or Alvarez put it down the line and walked to first and they came around to score managers would just blindly keep putting a shift on and risk losing the game.

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By: James Santelli http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/analysis-teams-should-shift-their-infield-more-against-garrett-jones.html#comment-26401 Tue, 16 Apr 2013 04:40:08 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=50124#comment-26401 — Eh, not that much. On the 37 full shifts (with only one infielder to the left of second base), Jones still hit the ball to the right or middle-right 65 percent of the time.
— That’s less than the 78 percent of the time he hits grounders/liners to the right in all situations. It’s an intriguing number, but small sample size limits the statistical significance, especially since the difference is not as large (percentage-wise) as the difference between a .300 average and .417 average on balls in play. In fact, I would be more comfortable with more data all around.

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By: GawlowskiB http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/analysis-teams-should-shift-their-infield-more-against-garrett-jones.html#comment-26400 Tue, 16 Apr 2013 04:15:57 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=50124#comment-26400 Not to mention that it sounds like’s hitting it to the left disproportionately when the shift was on. All sorts of game theory stuff

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By: James Santelli http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/analysis-teams-should-shift-their-infield-more-against-garrett-jones.html#comment-26389 Mon, 15 Apr 2013 20:18:12 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=50124#comment-26389 Interesting indeed. And just as something anecdotal, it seems like Jones hits the ball harder to the right side than to the left side.

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By: James Santelli http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/analysis-teams-should-shift-their-infield-more-against-garrett-jones.html#comment-26388 Mon, 15 Apr 2013 20:15:54 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=50124#comment-26388 Okay, but I get a finder’s fee!

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By: GawlowskiB http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/analysis-teams-should-shift-their-infield-more-against-garrett-jones.html#comment-26384 Mon, 15 Apr 2013 18:29:01 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=50124#comment-26384 Ok.

Interestingly, if you combine his hits when hitting to the left when with a shift on with his hits to the right, it gives him a .413 average (31-75), which is pretty similar to the .417 mark when the shift is off.

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By: silversalmon586 http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/analysis-teams-should-shift-their-infield-more-against-garrett-jones.html#comment-26381 Mon, 15 Apr 2013 17:18:52 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=50124#comment-26381 Thanks James – this is VERY helpful

Signed,

The St. Louis Cardinals and the rest of the National League

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