I see the infield switch a lot of times in Major League Baseball based on the hitting tendencies of various hitters. Do these work? Could this work at the lower levels of baseball or softball, or is it something that only makes sense in the big leagues?
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Posted 01 October 2016 - 08:28 AM
Posted 03 October 2016 - 09:11 PM
I think infield shifts would not work at the travel and high school team levels because:
1. Sample size. There is not a big enough sample size of amateur players to start detecting tendencies. The major leaguers have hundreds of at-bats to analyze. Lower level players only have a small fraction of that. And you need tons of data to start reasonably detecting patterns.
2. Inconsistent swings. Lower level players are still learning and developing their swing, so their tendencies may change from one game to the next as their swing changes. Growing taller may also affect players' tendencies, so collected data is much less reliable.
3. Time. The amount of time and resources it takes to catalog and analyze swing tendencies of various players is something that is not going to be available at the amateur levels of fastpitch and baseball.
4. Training. It is hard enough training the players to excel at one position at one location on the field. Teaching them different locations would pose an obstacle.
5. Sportsmanship. Even if it is painfully obvious that a player only hits a certain way, acting on this information might be interpreted as poor sportsmanship.
So for these reasons I don't think infield shifts will ever work at any level except the major leagues.
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