2014 Rewind – Who Gives a Shift?

A lot has been made in recent seasons about the amount of defensive shifts that have taken place in MLB. An interesting story was published today via John Dewan’s Stat of the Week and Seattle Times writers Adam Jude also wrote an article on shifts earlier during the season.

The Fielding Bible data, which will appear in the 2015 Bill James Handbook, shows that over the past four seasons the number of shifts in Major League Baseball, as measured by a ball hit into play when a shift is in effect, has nearly doubled every year. Here are the totals by year:

MLB Shifts by Season
Year Number of Shifts
2010 2,464
2011 2,357
2012 4,577
2013 8,180
2014 13,296

The report goes on to show that the shift has also been pretty effective in terms of the defensive metric of runs saved:

MLB Shifts by Season
Year Number of Shifts Shift Runs Saved
2010 2,464 36
2011 2,357 42
2012 4,577 76
2013 8,180 135
2014 13,296 195

How do the Mariners stack up in all of this? According to Baseball Info Solutions the Mariners had 9 defensive runs saved this season due to the shift (Mariners were at -2 runs saved overall for the season, a drastic improvement from -97 in 2013). The 9 runs saved due to shifts was 7th-best in the American League.

 

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