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How Will The Shift Ban Impact LAD

2023 will see an end to the infield shift, and as STB so astutely commented, LAD player personnel chiefs will be scouring their scouting regiment to determine if the players they now have are the best players in their organization to face this change in strategy.

No team shifted more than the Dodgers.  Three teams shifted at least 50%, while another 3 shifted 40% to 50%.  That is 26% of the teams that shifted less than 40%.  The top 7 teams that utilized the shift most during 2022.

  • LAD – 52.1
  • Houston – 50.4
  • Toronto – 50.3
  • Seattle – 45.3
  • Minnesota – 43.9
  • Miami – 43.9
  • White Sox – 38.4

Pardon the technical, but if could not be helped since this is just a sliver of what the Dodgers player personnel people will be reviewing.

A further drill down on those 7 teams:

 

Here is the league average:

 

If you want to see all of the teams:

https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/visuals/team-positioning

 

Theo Epstein commented:

“And I think fans will cherish the moments, absent the extreme defensive shifts, when games are decided not by whether their team’s infield is positioned by the perfect algorithm, but by whether their team second baseman can range to make an athletic dive and play with everything on the line.”

 I cannot argue with that sentimentality.

A consensus of baseball executives that were interviewed by The Athletic are going through their own machinations about how to evaluate middle infielders.  Per The Athletic article:

Infielders with more range who can make up some of the ground that used to be covered by the shift could be newly coveted. But it could be more difficult to evaluate the future contributions of a middle infielder if that infielder is coming from a team that heavily shifted in recent years.

“Can’t really do that,” Seattle PBO, Jerry Dipoto said.  “But we can, through Statcast data, get a pretty good idea of what that player’s natural range is.” 

“You see how guys move, you see their reaction time, you see their sprint speed. I think we can make the adjustments.”

Dodgers Outs Above Average (OAA) with range information per Statcast (Baseball Savant).

Gavin Lux – 2B – Overall OAA 3

  • Coming In: 3
  • To Player’s Right: 2
  • To Player’s Left: 0
  • Going Back: -2
  • Success Rate: 78%
  • Expected Success Rate: 77%
  • Difference: 1%

 

Trea Turner – SS – Overall OAA 0

  • Coming In: 0
  • To Player’s Right: -1
  • To Player’s Left: 0
  • Going Back: 1
  • Success Rate: 76%
  • Expected Success Rate: 76%

 

Max Muncy – 3B – Overall OAA -2

  • Coming In: -7
  • To Player’s Right: 0
  • To Player’s Left: 4
  • Going Back: 0
  • Success Rate: 73%
  • Expected Success Rate: 74%
  • Difference: -1%

 

Justin Turner – 3B – Overall OAA -2

  • Coming In: -2
  • To Player’s Right: -1
  • To Player’s Left: 3
  • Going Back: -2
  • Success Rate: 74%
  • Expected Success Rate: 75%
  • Difference: -1%

 

FanGraphs also measures defense.  They utilize a rating of UZR.

  • Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR)is one of the most widely used, publicly available defensive statistics. UZR puts a run value to defense, attempting to quantify how many runs a player saved or gave up through their fielding prowess (or lack thereof). They use a composite of the following metrics.

 

I will identify where the Dodgers land for these metrics compared to the other teams, for but I have also provided a link to where you can find more complete information.

 

  • Range Runs  (RngR)– Is the player an Ozzie Smith or an Adam Dunn? Do they get to more balls than average or not?

 

  • Error Runs (ErrR)– Does the player commit more or fewer errors compared with a league-average player at their position?

 

  • Double-Play Runs (DPR)– The amount of runs above average an infielder is by turning double-plays.

 

  • Outfield Arm Runs (ARM)– The amount of runs above average an outfielder saves with their arm by preventing runners from advancing.

I used a filter of 300 innings :

Gavin Lux – 2B UZR

While Gavin was #40 with an -2.7 UZR, it was his -4.1 ErrR that brought him way down.  Compared to the league average 2B, Gavin commits more errors.  What will this look like a SS.

Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) – #13 with +3

 

https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=2b&stats=fld&lg=all&qual=300&type=1&season=2022&month=0&season1=2022&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&startdate=2022-01-01&enddate=2022-12-31&sort=18,d&page=2_30

 

Trea Turner – SS UZR

Trea was #26 overall in UZR with a -0.7.  He was overall #2 in range (2.8), but fell apart with another -4.3 in ErrR (#33).

Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) – #21 with -1

 

https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=ss&stats=fld&lg=all&qual=300&type=1&season=2022&month=0&season1=2022&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&startdate=2022-01-01&enddate=2022-12-31&sort=18,d

 

Justin Turner – 3B UZR

JT was #33 overall in UZR with a -2.1.  He was a plus for DPR and RngR, but again it was the ErrR of -2.7 that brought his overall UZR down.

Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) – #21 with +1

 

Max Muncy – 3B UZR

Max was #41 overall in UZR with a -4.3.  He held his own in DPR and RngR, but a -4.3 ErrR brought down his overall UZR score.

Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) – #9 with +7

 

https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=3b&stats=fld&lg=all&qual=300&type=1&season=2022&month=0&season1=2022&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&startdate=2022-01-01&enddate=2022-12-31&sort=18,d&page=2_30

 

There is not a star defender in any of the 2022 non 1B infielders.  All of them were extremely error prone.  As a team, the Dodgers were #30 in team ErrR.  The team ErrR is bad, but it would have been worse had the OF metrics not been included.  The LAD OF metrics are fairly good.

Neither Michael Busch nor Miguel Vargas are going to improve the infield defensive metrics.  Jacob Amaya should improve the metrics, but I am not sure that he will get the chance because his offense may not give him that chance.

The Dodgers saved a lot of runs because of their utilization of the shift.  Now that the shift is going away, will AF/BG look for adjustments?

This is going to be an interesting Winter.

For a more detailed discussion on the shift:

 

https://theathletic.com/3417955/2022/07/12/baseball-infield-shift-rule-change/

 

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Singing the Blue

I saw an interview that Andrew did with Brian Kenny on mlb tv and, reading between the lines, I got the feeling that he plans to bring back Belli but isn’t counting on Trea to be around next year.

I could be wrong on both counts, but that’s just the feeling I got from the interview.
He could very well non-tender Cody and hope to negotiate a lesser salary, possibly with some built in incentives.

We’ll know part of that answer tomorrow (Thurs.).

Badger

Bellinger is at the point in his career where he should be cashing in on one of those $300 million contracts. It’s my opinion the reason he’s not is his own doing. Yes he had an injury, but it certainly wasn’t career ending. I’m hoping he’s doing a deep dive into analysis and can turn it around before it is indeed too late. Do I believe he will? I have my doubts.

Bumsrap

Free-agent left-hander Clayton Kershaw is nearing a one-year deal to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers, a source told The Athletic.

Badger

Is that the shift prevention pie that will be used by MLB? If so, I have a couple of questions.

For a few years now it’s been my opinion the Dodgers don’t put a lot of emphasis on fielding defense. I’ve watched nearly every game and I’ve seen some lazy habits. They often look like they’re standing around thinking about their last, or their next, at bat. I think it’s obvious Dodgers built their team on offense and pitching.

In college I did a bio-mechanical analysis of a baseball swing. It was a requirement for an upper division kinesiology class. It was an eye opener for me. I read several classmates reports too, tennis, the forward pass, swimming, jump shot in basketball. They were fun reads for me. We then discussed training methods to develop the muscle group movements of each sport. The only sports I played competitively, and intended to coach, was football and baseball. I devoured those. That was nearly 50 years ago. Things no doubt have changed. The reason I bring this up is I have been looking for articles on modern training methods, and also what scouts look for in young players. There appears to be consensus on the Top 10 or so prospects, but where we pick there has to be a good eye and lot of science involved. I would want to know why we missed on Peña and Álvarez. The closest I’ve come to finding what I’m looking for is at Driveline and fangraphs. Maybe you guys can help me with this.

Last edited 26 days ago by Badger
Bluto

There’s a decided reason not to share what teams and their scouts are looking for.

additionally, the tools they use to evaluate may be proprietary.

don’t mean to be a downer!

Bluto

Another uninformed opinion on Kasten’s “youth” comment. This one from Dodgers Digest:

Parsing Stan Kasten’s comments on trusting the youth and future spending by the Dodgers

Bluto

?

What does one have to do with the other?

I’m not sure if there’s even an opinion in it. It’s like you could look at it this way or that way. That said, I thought it was pretty good. I do think cost-certainty is in play here.

Uniformed because it’s some random fan. Nothing more or less.

FWIW, I think there’s great discourse in the comments to that article. They to, for the record are also uninformed, so it could drive anyone batty.

Last edited 26 days ago by Bluto
Bluto

Ah.

I go off the 2nd definition of uninformed:

not having or based upon information or awareness

FTR, I really like and and consider Keith Law and Kiley to be quite highly informed. As they have information and awareness that we (and that the person who wrote that article (which again I LIKE)) do not.

I felt it necessary because it is uninformed and it doesn’t add any information. It’s just opinion or fan-splaining.

Last edited 26 days ago by Bluto
Fred Vogel

There is a difference between ‘uninformed’ and ‘uniformed’. I believe that is what Jeff was questioning.

Bluto

Oh!

Yes, meant uninformed in my response.

Bumsrap

I first was attracted to Haniger because he offered the Dodgers a righty bat. His injury set him back for several years. He would make a good platoon with Joc in LF. The only way Haniger or Joc get a ticket to the Dodgers is if Bellinger is not retained and probably Outman and Thompson are traded.

I also wanted Chapman and Torres.

Badger, you asked why would the Dodgers move a Gold Glove right fielder to second base. My answer would be only because they could build a better lineup if they added outfielders instead of infielders such as Trea or Correa. Betts would have been Boston’s second baseman if it weren’t for Pedroia. RF was plan B.

Bluto

Interesting in the context of the Bellinger question:

Rays decline $13M option to Kevin Kiermaier. Longtime Ray is one of best defensive CF in game. Now a free agent.

And the QO list:
– Aaron Judge
– Trea Turner
– Xander Bogaerts
– Jacob DeGrom
– Dansby Swanson
– Carlos Rodón
– Brandon Nimmo
– Willson Contreras
– Chris Bassitt
– Anthony Rizzo
– Tyler Anderson
– Martín Perez
– Joc Pederson
– Nathan Eovaldi

Last edited 26 days ago by Bluto
Singing the Blue

I’m not surprised that the Giants want to keep Joc but I’m astonished that they’re willing to pay him almost 20 mil to do so.

Supposedly the Dodgers and Anderson are talking a multi year deal but the QO buys both sides some time to do that.

Bumsrap

There are players that we worry about on every defensive chance they get and there are players that look smooth and confident, make the plays they can get to, and throw accurately and strongly to the right base. That last skill would leave out Juan Pierre.

There are players with lots of speed but don’t take great routes, or don’t come in or go back well. There are players that make too many errors on routine plays.

There are players that are all defense and little offense like Kiermere.

The shift allowed slower players who could hit get into lineups. I don’t know where the line will be drawn when choosing between range and offense but I do know that speed and range alone does not make a good defensive player and lack of speed alone does not make a bad defensive player.

I like pitching and defense but the Dodger team that had Izturis and Alex Cora as middle infielders was so boring that the only entertainment that was provided was by a defensive play by one of those two players.

I ask the Dodgers to entertain me and I want that entertainment to be throughout the lineup while making 99% of the defensive plays that have a high probability of being made. Wins are entertaining so I’ll throw that in as well.

I want to be entertained for months as priority one and then for weeks for priority two.

Last edited 26 days ago by Bumsrap
Singing the Blue

Dodgers decline JT option.
That doesn’t mean he can’t sign at a lower figure but it does mean he can now negotiate with all 30 teams.

Last edited 26 days ago by Singing the Blue
Bluto

Good point. It’s gonna mostly be filled with the Rule Vers. Right?

Singing the Blue

Two of those spots need to be reserved for Anderson and Kershaw (or another front line starter).

Then they need to save space for a shortstop (I’m assuming it won’t be Lux or Amaya).

That brings it to 36 or 37.

If they are still Dodger property next week Cartaya, Busch, Pages and Ramos will be added to the 40-man. That’s 40 or 41 without even considering the signing of a free agent (other than a shortstop).

I think we’ll see some trades in the next few days that clear more space off the 40-man roster.

I’m guessing these are the most likely to be moved in a trade to create space (bringing back a younger, non 40-man player) as opposed to being included in a trade meant to bring back a player who would be included on the 40-man roster.

Bickford
Luke Williams
Bruihl
Vivas/Leonard (one, but not both)
Jackson
Grove
Thompson
Amaya (if we sign or trade for a long term shortstop in the next few days)

Bellinger would create another space if non-tendered.

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