What I Need More Of/Less Of In baseball – The Shift, Openers and Higher Batting Averages

SPANISH HARLEM – How about that? The New York Yankees and Mets win their Opening Day games and all is great with the world. Everyone is happy and everyone is still in contention, things may change in a couple of weeks but right now it’s all about the possibilities.

I figured in the spirit of the game, I will discuss some things I wish we could see more of/less of in baseball and lets start with “the shift”, while I understand its strategy, I hate seeing a middle infielder play in front of the right fielder when left-handed hitters come up to the plate. It’s hard enough as it to get hits and it reminds me of Softball, where you can play a short center fielder or even employ a 5thinfielder. I’m not here saying we should abolish “the shift” entirely but there should definitely add some rules for it before it gets out of hand.

On another note, I like home runs just as much as the next person but it’s coming with more strikeouts and an ugly batting average. I know we now live in a world where everything is about on-base percentage but have we undervalued the batting average? Making contact in some cases is just as important as a walk (Yea I know, weird right?). Take, for instance, being down one in the 9thinning, with a man on third and 1 out, do you want your best player taking a walk and putting the next batter in a situation where he can hit in a double play or do you want that guy swinging the bat. If you ask me, I want my guy swinging the bat and making contact. It becomes even more important in the playoffs, where every pitch matters. I’m happy to hear that the Yankees are taking the approach of trying to strike out less, especially with two strikes and runners in scoring position. A little bingo into the outfield can go a long way to winning you some very important games. Smart teams, regardless of metrics will learn eventually you will need more players to think this way, which will cut down the league-wide strikeouts totals.

Check out the Shift on this GUY

And last but not least… “Openers”! What is happening to the starting pitcher in modern baseball? First it was ok to pitch fewer innings and now it’s ok not go at least 5 innings?  The Tampa Bay Rays have employed this strategy and others have followed suit, specifically the Oakland A’s, who started an “Opener” in their one-game playoff against the New York Yankees. Will this sport ever get to the point that we have no starting pitcher, just guys that throw two innings a day, followed another three or 4 pitchers a game. It seems unlikely now but who knows what the numbers prove in the years to come. I’m in need of less ‘Openers”!

That’s it. Leave a comment and come back tomorrow. Also, you can find us on Twitter @BuddyDiaz19, @MeetTheMatts & @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook pages, Meet The Matts & Buddy Diaz.

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