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John Dewan's Stat of the Week


Shifts Still on the Rise

April 18, 2014

Last year at this time, we showed how the early defensive shift leaders were well ahead of the pace they set the year before (Shifting Into High Gear, April 18, 2013). The same thing is happening again this year.

Baseball Info Solutions began tracking shifts comprehensively in 2010, and the last two seasons, shifts on balls in play have nearly doubled each season from 2,357 in 2011 to 4,577 in 2012, then nearly doubling again to 8,134 in 2013. Two and a half weeks into this season, teams have already shifted on 1,188 balls in play, putting them on pace for an incredible 12,443 shifts on balls in play.

Here are the teams that have deployed the most defensive shifts thus far this year:

Teams Shifts by Season
Team 2013 2014 2014 Pace
Astros 496 176 1782
Yankees 475 98 992
Brewers 538 75 759
White Sox 73 61 618
Orioles 595 51 590

The five teams listed above are all on pace to match or exceed the record-setting shift usage of 595 shifts on balls in play set by the Orioles in 2013. Four of these teams are among the usual suspects. The Astros, Yankees, Brewers, and Orioles were all among the top eight in shifts on balls in play last season. In particular, this year's prorated totals for the Astros, Yankees, and Brewers look to blow away the 2013 Orioles, with the Astros on pace to just about triple that total!

The other team that is ahead of the 2013 Orioles’ shift pace may be the most interesting. Last season, only the Nationals, Phillies, and Dodgers shifted fewer times than the White Sox. That trend has clearly reversed, as they have already shifted on 61 balls in play, 84 percent of their yearly total from 2013.

It is still too early in the season to draw any conclusions about the effect that this further increase in shifting will have on saving runs defensively. In 2012 the 4,577 shifts deployed by MLB teams resulted in 75 runs saved. Last year, the Shift Runs Saved total was 137 runs resulting from 8,134 shifts. 

Search Archived Stats of the Week

Published Date:

 TitlePublished Date
Edit Shifts Still on the Rise Apr 18 2014
Edit Can the First 10 Games Predict Playoff Chances? Apr 11 2014
Edit Who Will Be The 2014 Statistical Leaders? Mar 31 2014
Edit Can Spring Training Statistics Predict Breakout Power Seasons? Mar 25 2014
Edit Who Will Be The Best Defenders In 2014? Mar 11 2014
Edit Sochi Olympics - Dominant Countries Feb 25 2014
Edit United States on Track for Most Olympic Medals Feb 17 2014
Edit Sochi Predictions Feb 10 2014
Edit Super Bowl Predictor System Jan 30 2014
Edit Throwing Strikes Jan 20 2014
Edit Cannon Arms in 2013 Jan 10 2014
Edit Teams that Best Controlled the Running Game Dec 30 2013
Edit Opponent OPS and the Cy Young Award Dec 20 2013
Edit The Flat Bat Award 2013 Dec 09 2013
Edit Tim Lincecum Breaks Our Defensive Rankings Nov 19 2013
Edit Who Was the Real AL MVP? Nov 15 2013
Edit Making a Great Defensive Play Then Leading Off the Next Inning Nov 05 2013
Edit The 2013 Fielding Bible Awards Oct 28 2013
Edit Boston-St. Louis World Series Oct 21 2013
Edit Who are the Fielding Bible Award / Gold Glove Contenders? (Part II) Oct 07 2013
Edit Who are the Fielding Bible Award / Gold Glove Contenders? (Part I) Oct 04 2013
Edit Simmons Has Company Sep 23 2013
Edit Who are the Slowest Players in Baseball? Sep 12 2013
Edit Does Playing Shallow Work? Sep 06 2013
Edit Easy and Tough Saves Aug 30 2013
Edit Best Single-Season Runs Saved Totals Aug 19 2013
Edit Opponent OPS Aug 15 2013
Edit Who's Shifting and Who's Not Jul 25 2013
Edit Who Should Be Starting the 2013 All-Star Game? Jul 16 2013
Edit Edwin Encarnacion and Shifts Jul 11 2013
Edit The Pirates and Hot Streaks Jun 26 2013
Edit Scoring Runners from Third Base with Less Than Two Outs Jun 24 2013
Edit Rookie Total Runs and DRS Leaders Jun 19 2013
Edit Who Has The Most Total Runs in 2013? May 29 2013
Edit Who Are the Top Baserunners in Baseball? May 23 2013
Edit Who Are the Best and Worst Defensive Teams So Far? May 14 2013
Edit Timing Pitchers and Catchers To Prevent Stolen Bases Apr 24 2013
Edit Shifting Into High Gear Apr 18 2013
Edit Who Will Be The Best Defenders in 2013? Apr 02 2013
Edit Who Are This Year's Potential Breakout Players? Mar 27 2013
Edit Best Defensive Players of the Decade (Part IV) Mar 22 2013
Edit Best Defensive Players of the Decade (Part III) Mar 13 2013
Edit Best Defensive Players of the Decade (Part II) Feb 27 2013
Edit Best Defensive Players of the Decade (Part I) Feb 19 2013
Edit Best Defensive Teams of the Decade Feb 07 2013
Edit The Super Bowl Prediction System – 49ers by a landslide Jan 25 2013
Edit Cannon Arms in 2012 Jan 17 2013
Edit Should Mike Piazza be in the Hall of Fame? Jan 10 2013
Edit The Best and Worst Defensive Teams in 2012 Dec 21 2012
Edit Bill James Handbook 2013 Leaderboards (Part II) Dec 14 2012
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