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View Full Version : Can Griffey/Dunn beat the shift?



Kc61
06-12-2006, 10:15 AM
It does not seem that these hitters try to beat the shift by hitting to the opposite field. They seem to pull the ball right into the shift much of the time. Griffey, in particular, hits a lot of balls to the right side, directly into the shift.

I have heard that they should bunt to beat the shift. I don't agree with that. But shouldn't they hit the ball to the left side to try to take advantage?

zombie-a-go-go
06-12-2006, 10:18 AM
But shouldn't they hit the ball to the left side to try to take advantage?

If it were that easy, they probably would. Of course, maybe it is easy. What do I know, anyway?

And I do think they should bunt more often when the shift is on, if for no other reason than to keep the defense honest. I've seen Junior drop a bunt down the 3B line more than once for a hit when the shift is on.

OnBaseMachine
06-12-2006, 10:36 AM
Dunn has been working on going the opposite way more lately. I believe he had two or three opposite field doubles in Wrigley Field (plus another that was ruled foul when replay showed it looked fair) and an opposite field home run in that series. Now that I looked at his hit chart, six of his seven XBH that year at Wrigley have been to the opposite field. In the recent Cardinal series he doubled to deep left-center and also just missed a HR on a deep flyout to LF. The most recent Cubs series featured an opposite field home run off Greg Maddux on a fastball down and away.

This shows that he is at least trying - this is not something that can be done overnight. Dunn has a lot of work ahead of him in terms of getting away from being a dead pull hitter like the previous regime wanted, and so far I am pleased with how well he has adjusted. His double totals have gone up and home runs are still there. This year can be the learning curve, next year is when I expect Dunn to reap the benefits of working with Chambliss and really seeing his batting average go up as a result of using left field and left-center more often.

gonelong
06-12-2006, 10:50 AM
I haven't looked at Dunn's chart lately, but ....

it seems to me that when he goes the opposite way, he is hitting the ball in the air. Most, if not darn near all, of his ground balls are towards the right side. Thus the infield shift.

GL

flyer85
06-12-2006, 11:18 AM
But shouldn't they hit the ball to the left side to try to take advantage?Generally when HR hitters with uppercut swings hit the opposite way the ball is hit in the air because they don't roll their top hand. It is extremely difficult for them to hit ground balls the other way. The Cards always put the shift on Casey as well.

Highlifeman21
06-12-2006, 11:30 AM
If it were that easy, they probably would. Of course, maybe it is easy. What do I know, anyway?

And I do think they should bunt more often when the shift is on, if for no other reason than to keep the defense honest. I've seen Junior drop a bunt down the 3B line more than once for a hit when the shift is on.

Agreed.

Griffey has dropped one down here and there, and I think Dunn should do the same, since the last thing they'll expect is Adam Dunn to drop down a bunt when the 3B is playing SS almost. I'm not sure that it will really keep the defense all that honest in the short run, but in the proper situation, Dunn dropping one down may do wonders for future PAs.

Kc61
06-12-2006, 11:36 AM
Generally when HR hitters with uppercut swings hit the opposite way the ball is hit in the air because they don't roll their top hand. It is extremely difficult for them to hit ground balls the other way. The Cards always put the shift on Casey as well.

Makes sense. Would think that Griffey could exercise sufficient bat control to beat the shift if he wants to. He is such a good hitter one would expect him to be able to do that. I haven't looked at the numbers but the shift seems to be costing him a lot of hits.

traderumor
06-12-2006, 11:41 AM
The defense will be more than happy to see Griffey and Dunn bunting. The only time that seems to be a good idea is when multiple runs are needed late in the game. Otherwise, the pitcher and D are more than happy to see a slugger bunting.

zombie-a-go-go
06-12-2006, 12:47 PM
The defense will be more than happy to see Griffey and Dunn bunting. The only time that seems to be a good idea is when multiple runs are needed late in the game. Otherwise, the pitcher and D are more than happy to see a slugger bunting.

That's the argument, but I posit that if "the book" on Dunn were to read that he might drop down a bunt, teams will stop shifting on him, and more of his hits will fall in. I don't think you'd have to do it more than once in a series.

And with the shift on, a properly-executed bunt will still put Dunn on base. If a walk is as good as a single, why isn't a bunt single as good as a walk?

gonelong
06-12-2006, 01:47 PM
That's the argument, but I posit that if "the book" on Dunn were to read that he might drop down a bunt, teams will stop shifting on him, and more of his hits will fall in. I don't think you'd have to do it more than once in a series.

I disagree. They are happy to give up the bunt instead of the 2Bs and HRs a guy like Dunn can give you. If Dunn starts to lay down bunts, I doubt the shift goes away. A bunt attempt by Dunn is a win considering the damage he can do if you throw him strikes.


And with the shift on, a properly-executed bunt will still put Dunn on base. If a walk is as good as a single, why isn't a bunt single as good as a walk?

The difference is that a walk means the pitcher won't throw strikes to you out of fear. Your only alternative is to expand your zone, not a good idea. You are talking a walk over swing at balls. Good trade-off.

However, if you are bunting, the pitcher is willing to throw you strikes. You are now opting for a bunt over attempting to drive the ball. IMO, bad trade-off for a guy like Dunn.

To me there is a Grand Canyon of difference between the two scenarios. One otpimizes the situation, the other .. likely not.

GL

CTA513
06-12-2006, 01:49 PM
The defense will be more than happy to see Griffey and Dunn bunting. The only time that seems to be a good idea is when multiple runs are needed late in the game. Otherwise, the pitcher and D are more than happy to see a slugger bunting.


Maybe if they bunt they could set the record for most infield singles in a year?

:thumbup:


;)

westofyou
06-12-2006, 01:53 PM
However, if you are bunting, the pitcher is willing to throw you strikes. You are now opting for a bunt over attempting to drive the ball. IMO, bad trade-off for a guy like Dunn.Prior to this season Dunn averaged an EBH every 7.8 ab's, Griffey (since 2001) 1 every 8.0

On the other side of the coin Hatteberg with 1 every 13 ab's.

I'll go with depending on Griffey or Dunn getting an EBH over Hatteberg getting one to drive them in from first after they bunt their way on.

Kc61
06-12-2006, 01:54 PM
Why is this about bunting? Can't a hitter go the opposite way to beat the shift with a grounder or line drive? What ever happened to "hit them where they aint?"

westofyou
06-12-2006, 02:02 PM
What ever happened to "hit them where they aint?"That approach is punch baseball best, played by players with less power and bat control, plus that term played better when players gloves were pieces of rawhide and some string. They also tend to be low strikeout players as well.

Taking it the other way also means that the pitcher is giving you a pitch to take the other way, with a shift on the LH a down and away pitch is a mistake pitch, that's the one that often gets taken the otherway. But assuming that every AB with the shift results in an opportunity to take it the other way also assumes that each pitcher is making the same mistakes that result in the same manner.

Personally I see that approach taking away the power threat and thus making the shift work, whether the player "bunts" or attempts a dink to LF.

traderumor
06-12-2006, 02:12 PM
Why is this about bunting? Can't a hitter go the opposite way to beat the shift with a grounder or line drive? What ever happened to "hit them where they aint?"It was rightly replaced by "pick a good pitch to hit the ball hard and the hits will take care of themselves"

zombie-a-go-go
06-12-2006, 02:17 PM
However, if you are bunting, the pitcher is willing to throw you strikes. You are now opting for a bunt over attempting to drive the ball. IMO, bad trade-off for a guy like Dunn.
GL

I'm probably not following your train of thought correctly, but if, as you say, a willingness to bunt means pitchers are more willing to throw you strikes, Dunn would benefit there as well. He attempts to bunt on strike 1, shows bunt and then drives the ball on the second pitch - and the shift ain't there anymore, because he's already shown bunt.

I'm missing something here, undoubtedly. Anyone care to clue me in?

zombie-a-go-go
06-12-2006, 02:19 PM
Personally I see that approach taking away the power threat and thus making the shift work, whether the player "bunts" or attempts a dink to LF.

Are you saying then that they shouldn't try to use the shift to their advantage, or that the shift can't be used to the advantage of the batter?

oneupper
06-12-2006, 02:19 PM
I'm probably not following your train of thought correctly, but if, as you say, a willingness to bunt means pitchers are more willing to throw you strikes, Dunn would benefit there as well. He attempts to bunt on strike 1, shows bunt and then drives the ball on the second pitch - and the shift ain't there anymore, because he's already shown bunt.

I'm missing something here, undoubtedly. Anyone care to clue me in?


The shift isn't going away when he shows bunt. He tried this against the Cubs. Ramirez took a couple of steps towards third and they waved him back into the shift.

westofyou
06-12-2006, 02:40 PM
Are you saying then that they shouldn't try to use the shift to their advantage, or that the shift can't be used to the advantage of the batter?
I'm saying that any attempt to defeat the shift by playing small swing baseball makes the shift successful.

RFS62
06-12-2006, 03:04 PM
If they're shifting, they're also pitching you inside, to try to force you to hit into the teeth of the shift. Hitting it where it's pitched will be pulling the ball in that case.

Unless you are adept at "inside-outing" the pitch, as guys like Larkin and other bat-control hitters have done over the years. It's not something that comes natural. It's a technique that takes a lot of practice. Very unlikely that Griffey or Dunn has ever even tried to do it.

traderumor
06-12-2006, 03:06 PM
The only real hits I see the shift taking away are a few that would probably find their way into center field. Griffey's been robbed of a few of those. The one's being fielded by the second baseman in short right field would be fielded by the second baseman at the edge of the cut instead.

KronoRed
06-12-2006, 03:22 PM
The defense will be more than happy to see Griffey and Dunn bunting. The only time that seems to be a good idea is when multiple runs are needed late in the game. Otherwise, the pitcher and D are more than happy to see a slugger bunting.
This is my thinking on it as well, HR or bunt? and with those guys speed they have a decent chance to throw them out on a bunt.

gonelong
06-12-2006, 03:31 PM
I'm probably not following your train of thought correctly, but if, as you say, a willingness to bunt means pitchers are more willing to throw you strikes, Dunn would benefit there as well. He attempts to bunt on strike 1, shows bunt and then drives the ball on the second pitch - and the shift ain't there anymore, because he's already shown bunt.

I'm missing something here, undoubtedly. Anyone care to clue me in?

What I was saying, is that in order to bunt, they have to throw you a strike in the first place. No reason to bunt a pitch a foot outside, take the walk and ensure 1B in that case.

If they are willing to throw you a pitch in the zone that you can effectively bunt, I'd rather see a guy like Dunn taking a full cut on it.

GL

Spitball
06-12-2006, 05:54 PM
I'm saying that any attempt to defeat the shift by playing small swing baseball makes the shift successful.

I agree, but...

If Griffey bunts in certain situations often enough, will teams stop shifting? Remember, Dunn, Kearns, and Encarnacion are coming up. Do teams want to put runners on in front of those hitters? The three together will likely hit over 100 home runs. So, wouldn't Griffey bunting be like losing a battle to win a war if teams stop shifting?

Also, I've been wondering about the shift and zone ratings. What is the effect?

Caveat Emperor
06-13-2006, 01:26 PM
Personally I see that approach taking away the power threat and thus making the shift work, whether the player "bunts" or attempts a dink to LF.

So...bottom line is that there's nothing you can do beat the shift and you're just stuck with an increased out rate on well-hit balls that get fielded by an extra defender on the right side of the infield.

That kind of sucks.

zombie-a-go-go
06-13-2006, 01:53 PM
So...bottom line is that there's nothing you can do beat the shift and you're just stuck with an increased out rate on well-hit balls that get fielded by an extra defender on the right side of the infield.

That kind of sucks.

I still don't agree with that line of thought. Let Dunn or Griffey start reaching base on a more regular basis via the bunt and then let a Kearns or Hatteberg drive them in... when the Reds start ringing up runs against opposing ballclubs because they're being shifting on (and getting to first almost every time they're at the plate because of the shift), the shift will stop.

If Dunn has a runner or two already on base then yeah, don't bunt. that'd be silly. But if the bases are empty, get on base. Hopefully the inclusion of BA here won't make me a laughingstock, but it doesn't look like he's getting many hits with the shift, so when the bases are empty it doesn't matter whether he gets on via a walk or a bunt.

In summation, to my mind the reward of dropping the bunt now and again isn't the base you take in doing so, it's getitng the opposition to stop shifting so much/so often/whatever. You don't shift on Juan Pierre because you know there's a good chance he'll bunt.

This is all opinion and conjecture, btw. I don't know if it would all shake out like this - none of us do. :dunno:

westofyou
06-13-2006, 02:28 PM
Let Dunn or Griffey start reaching base on a more regular basis via the bunt and then let a Kearns or Hatteberg drive them in

Dunn already leads the team in runs scored, what else can you expect out of him. ;)

As for letting Hatteberg or Kearns drive them in, I'm all for that... where do I sign?

pedro
06-13-2006, 02:32 PM
Dunn already leads the team in runs scored, what else can you expect out of him. ;)

As for letting Hatteberg or Kearns drive them in, I'm all for that... where do I sign?

It's not his job to score runs.

traderumor
06-13-2006, 02:34 PM
Do we have a virus on RZ? It seems every time I go to post in one with the name "Dunn" in it, a message comes back that they're closed :evil:

Nope, must be another reason, this one let me post in it:D

zombie-a-go-go
06-13-2006, 02:34 PM
Dunn already leads the team in runs scored, what else can you expect out of him. ;)

As for letting Hatteberg or Kearns drive them in, I'm all for that... where do I sign?

It's not what I expect out of Dunn - I'm quite happy with what Dunn gives the Reds now. The question is, if there's a chance that he can produce more, doesn't it behoove the team to find out?

westofyou
06-13-2006, 02:36 PM
It's not his job to score runs.
If it was he'd do it in a sloth like lazy manner that threatened the longtime hard working fans of the Reds franchise who have put all their marbles in the "contact despite results is the best sound of the summer" basket.

zombie-a-go-go
06-13-2006, 02:36 PM
Do we have a virus on RZ? It seems every time I go to post in one with the name "Dunn" in it, a message comes back that they're closed :evil:

Nope, must be another reason, this one let me post in it:D

We only close threads that contain opinions we don't agree with. :D

westofyou
06-13-2006, 02:38 PM
It's not what I expect out of Dunn - I'm quite happy with what Dunn gives the Reds now. The question is, if there's a chance that he can produce more, doesn't it behoove the team to find out?
But is attempting to change an approach in hope of creating more in incriments at the expense of larger portions really producing more?

zombie-a-go-go
06-13-2006, 02:38 PM
If it was he'd do it in a sloth like lazy manner that threatened the longtime hard working fans of the Reds franchise who have put all their marbles in the "contact despite results is the best sound of the summer" basket.

That horse's dead already. Do we have to drag its corpse over here?

traderumor
06-13-2006, 02:41 PM
If it was he'd do it in a sloth like lazy manner that threatened the longtime hard working fans of the Reds franchise who have put all their marbles in the "contact despite results is the best sound of the summer" basket.Just hit-em where they ain't. Is that so hard? ;)

pedro
06-13-2006, 02:42 PM
If it was he'd do it in a sloth like lazy manner that threatened the longtime hard working fans of the Reds franchise who have put all their marbles in the "contact despite results is the best sound of the summer" basket.

I want an Oompa Loompa now!

I want the world. I want the whole world. I want to lock it all up in my pocket. It's my bar of chocolate. Give it to me now.

I want a party with roomfuls of laughter, / Ten thousand tons of ice cream, / And if I don't get the things I am after, / I'm going to screeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEAM.

I want it now. What's the matter with those twerps down there?

http://1902victorian.com/veruca_salt.jpg

traderumor
06-13-2006, 02:46 PM
That horse's dead already. Do we have to drag its corpse over here?Glue?

zombie-a-go-go
06-13-2006, 02:49 PM
But is attempting to change an approach in hope of creating more in incriments at the expense of larger portions really producing more?

I don't think we agree on the expense, though. You say double+ > bunt; of course, I agree. But I also say bunt > making an out in the field due to the shift. And not only because he still gets on base this way, but because teams might stop shifting so much on him.

But lets forget for a moment about trying to convince the opposition that shifting on Dunn is a bad idea. When they pitch to Dunn and he hits it into the shift, it's still an out. Is he more likely to make outs on balls hit when the shift is on? I think the answer is yes.

I don't have numbers to back myself up here, though; and if the numbers say I'm wrong, I'm willing to be wrong.

The question: could Dunn collect more total bases by bunting with the bases empty rather than by hitting into the shift?

We don't know. I think he could.


Edit: removed bold.

pedro
06-13-2006, 02:51 PM
I don't think it would hurt for them to drop a bunt every once in a while to keep the defense honest.

Redsland
06-13-2006, 02:51 PM
The question: could Dunn collect more total bases by bunting with the bases empty rather than by hitting into the shift?
Not unless he's a good bunter.

I'm doubting that he is.

pedro
06-13-2006, 02:52 PM
Not unless he's a good bunter.

I'm doubting that he is.

I'm guessing Griffey would be better than Dunn.

Redsland
06-13-2006, 02:53 PM
I would agree with that.

zombie-a-go-go
06-13-2006, 02:56 PM
I would agree with that.

Stop that.

That.

That agreeing thing. You know it's not allowed here.

zombie-a-go-go
06-13-2006, 02:57 PM
I would agree with that.

Me too. :dunno:

traderumor
06-13-2006, 02:59 PM
Here was the crapper from last night. Milwaukee wasn't shifting on Griffey, so he hits a weak grounder to Koskie, who was playing a normal third that would have been a hit against the shift. I still think a hitter with Griffey and Dunn's skill set is going to come out ahead to "beat the shift" with SLG % rather than worry about a few more singles from bunting or inside-outing in an attempt to get the D to play more honest. It just isn't that easy to change a hitter's game plan without doing more harm than good.

Redsland
06-13-2006, 03:01 PM
I still think a hitter with Griffey and Dunn's skill set is going to come out ahead to "beat the shift" with SLG % rather than worry about a few more singles from bunting or inside-outing in an attempt to get the D to play more honest.
I agree.

:p:

KronoRed
06-13-2006, 03:16 PM
I agree.

:p:
I agreed first.

Copyier!!! :devil:

traderumor
06-13-2006, 04:15 PM
Keep it up and I'll disagree with my own post just to keep diversity alive. Because, you know me, I'm all about diversity :party:

RFS62
06-13-2006, 05:06 PM
Here was the crapper from last night. Milwaukee wasn't shifting on Griffey, so he hits a weak grounder to Koskie, who was playing a normal third that would have been a hit against the shift.


I can't remember what pitch he hit, but I'd be willing to bet FCB's first born that they weren't trying to jam him as they often do. He probably hit it where it was pitched.

GAC
06-13-2006, 05:40 PM
How many other ML players do we know of that are being subjected to the shift? Who came up with the shift?

Or have Jr and Dunn basically been the main lab monkeys in this experiment?

It seems to me that the reason teams have devised this shift is due to not only robbing certain players of their "strength"; but it also seems that it shows/exposes their limited range in hitting ability (a weakness?) if they are unable to adjust and are basically being shut down.

OnBaseMachine
06-13-2006, 06:15 PM
How many other ML players do we know of that are being subjected to the shift? Who came up with the shift?


The shift is more than 60 years old, IIRC I read that is started in the Negro League's.

Dunn, Griffey, Delgado, Bonds, Giambi, Thome, Ortiz are the guys I can think of off the top of my head that have to deal with the shift. There are probably more that I just can't think of...

OldRightHander
06-13-2006, 06:25 PM
I'm saying that any attempt to defeat the shift by playing small swing baseball makes the shift successful.

The more I think about it, the more I think that's the point of the shift to start with, that and just to mess with the hitter's head. How many hits does the shift really take away? Sure, there might be the occasional grounder that the 2B gets to in short right field, but for the most part, the "hits" they are taking away are grounders that might or might not have gotten through a conventional infield. If Dunn gets good wood on the ball, it's not going to be a grounder to the right side of the infield anyway. If he consistently hits the ball hard, the hits are going to come, no matter where the defense is playing. I'm not saying there aren't game situations where going the other way against the shift would not be advantageous, like if they're down by more than one and need baserunners, but he probably has as good a chance of drawing a walk as grounding a hit down the third base line. I'd rather Dunn and Griff just try to hit the ball hard where it's pitched, instead of worrying about where the defense is playing and trying to hit to certain parts of the field.