As discussions mount over a possible change in the rules regarding defensive shifts, two Texas Rangers would benefit greatly if it was banned altogether.
Texas Rangers slugger, Joey Gallo made headlines this week when he said that banning defensive shifts would get him “back on track” at the plate. He was quoted by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News ($) as saying, “When that happens, I’m going to be nasty again.” Gallo has been the victim of some of the most extreme over shifts in baseball this year which has seen his productions take a drastic hit.
However, he’s not the only Ranger to be suffering from unorthodox defensive alignment. Nomar Mazara also has seen his fair share of hits taken away this season. CJ Nitkowski of the Rangers Fox Sports Southwest broadcasts tweeted out some shocking stats earlier this morning.
Nitkowski followed that up by showing that Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara are the top two in the MLB when it comes to hits taken away by defensive shifts.
I bet you’re wondering what adding those hits back into their averages would mean for their season production thus far. Don’t worry, CJ has that for us too.
Those averages factor in both hits taken away and hits gained by defensive shifts and the difference is startling. Mazara, who is undoubtedly having a good season this year, would be among the league leaders in numerous categories and probably be an All-Star. Gallo, who has been pretty abysmal this season, would see his average jump 54 points. At .241, we’d be talking about Gallo being a generational talent as a power hitter and not wondering if he may in fact be a bust.
Personally, I have been against the idea of banning defensive shifts in Major League Baseball. I held the opinion that pro ball players should be able to make the adjustments. But after seeing the stats put plainly across the MLB, the effect it’s having on the game is undeniable. Players who grow up being taught to utilize their power by turning on pitches are now seeing their game ruined by outrageous shifts that neutralize their abilities. And the argument that this is just part of preparation and strategy doesn’t hold true. Defensive alignments are regulated in other major sports. Football. Basketball. Both regulate formations and/or restricted areas. The over shift has fundamentally changed what baseball is and I’m not too sure it’s for the better.
Let us know what you think of defensive shifts in the comments below.