The shift is becoming a thing that is starting to take over all of baseball. Among the teams that ended up shifting a lot in 2015 were the Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Chicago Cubs. Now, it seems like the Los Angeles Dodgers will be doing their own share of shifting this upcoming season.
While it didn’t work out for the team in the playoffs when the New York Mets famously took advantage of the Dodgers’ careless nature and stole third base after a walk, it does seem like Los Angeles will be implementing the shift more this year. So, be ready to see more of it than you have in the past.
This year, Roberts and his staff have increased the amount of time the Dodgers spend on practicing defensive shifts during drills, particularly in reminding players where to be for cutoffs and rundown situations. Roberts even said you might see the team use defensive shifts during preseason games as a way to get game-speed familiarity with them.
Manager Dave Roberts does seem to be taking this to a whole new level fairly quickly, and that means that the team must get down all the components fairly quickly in order for them to know where to be and what to do. Why? Well, it sounds like this will be an organizational philosophy going forward.
All you have to do is listen to the manager:
“We’ve practiced shifts here (in spring training) and we will continue to do so on the major-league side and the minor-league side,” Roberts said. “It’s a big part of our game.”
The shifts will be here to stay, especially with a lot of pull-happy left-handed hitters out there in baseball. This is only going to benefit the club from here on out, so it should also help their defensive numbers throughout the season. It also helps to replace Jimmy Rollins with Corey Seager.
We’ll see just how much the team does shift during the season and how helpful it is, but it should help them a lot and is probably going to be something that they do quite a bit. We’ll just have to watch it all unfold and go from there. Just be prepared for the radical shift in nature.