The 2010s saw an immense rise in MLB teams using the defensive shift. Rangers fans are all too familiar with this, as their 2017 team had Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor, and Nomar Mazara, three of the most shifted against hitters at the time. Now in 2022, Ranger fans wince whenever they see Corey Seager hit a hard grounder or line drive to the right side of the diamond.
According to Baseball Savant, defenses have implemented a shift against Seager in a whopping 93.3% of his at-bats. To combat Seager being one of the league’s biggest pull hitters, opposing teams have consistently put three infielders on the right side of the diamond when facing him. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been pretty if you’re a Ranger fan or Corey Seager.
So far, Seager has hit 175 grounders and low line drives against the shift in 2022. He has a measly .160 batting average on these, and SIS Baseball estimates 26 base hits have been lost. The most across the league. Savant also shows that on plate appearances without facing the shift, Seager has a wOBA of .412. When facing the shift, his wOBA has dropped to .327, a stark difference.
Lost base hits aren’t the only unfortunate stat in which Texas Rangers shortstop Corey Seager leads the league
To add insult to injury, Marcus Semien is also featured on this list.
It can be highly frustrating when the ball is hit hard right toward a defender for an out, but Ranger fans won’t have to deal with this problem at such high frequency anymore. Among other changes, MLB recently announced they are banning all defensive shifts in 2023.
MLB competition committee wants to boost offense and slowly move away from the three true outcome approach that has garnered negative attention around the league. The announcement of this ban has led to mixed reactions from MLB fans, but I believe Ranger fans should rejoice. We have Corey Seager for nine more seasons without the shift. This means our perennial MVP candidate just got even better.
I know this season has been tough, but keep your heads held high Texas Ranger fans. Your fitted Ranger cap is falling off. And Corey Seager will be just fine.