The Shift – 2

An undiscussed consequence of the tendency to overshift pull hitters is what it means for the scoring. In a game last night the Angels played their shortstop in short right field, in between the first and second basemen. I presume a ground ball hit to the shifted shortstop will be scored 6-3. But now, what does that mean? It’s no longer an indication of where the batter hit the ball. It also messes up any fielding analysis. The main use I make of my scoresheet when I’m at a game is to look back and remind myself of what a batter has done in his previous at-bats. When I see a hitter went 6-3 in the 2d inning, how will I remember that he hit the ball to the right side of the infield?

Another way of looking at it: the scorer’s number designates the position on the field, not the player. Thus, when Jake Cave moves from center to left field as Byron Buxton enters for defensive purposes, his number changes from 8 to 7. In my example above, why shouldn’t David Fletcher, the Halos’ shortstop, change from 6 to 4 when he is shifted between the first and second baseman? Does it have to be for more than one batter? If Buxton got hurt after one batter and Cave went back to center, he would still have been a 7 then back to 8.

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