Baseball Therapy: Can I Tell You a Secret?

Image credit: Sam Greene via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The infield shift doesn’t really work against right-handed batters. Well, it sorta does. Putting three infielders on the left side of the infield hoping for a pulled ground ball makes sense in theory, and in fact, if all you do is look at BABIP against the shift, the strategy really does work. It reduces BABIP by about 6 points, even after you control for the specific population of right-handers who actually get shifted against. The problem is that advantage in BABIP gets swallowed up by an increase in walks in front of the shift, and gets absolutely obliterated by the fact that in front of the shift, right-handed batters strike out much less often.

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