Defensive Shift in Baseball

Argue all you want, nobody was better on the Baseball diamond than Ted Williams. The last player to hit at a .400 clip, Teddy Ballgame was also one of the first recipients of the defensive architype that is taking the game by storm today: The Shift.

The data we will be talking about is from FanGraphs, so before moving on, we need to understand how FanGraphs defines a defensive shift.

  • Shift - All: This breaks out all shifts, traditional or not-traditional.
  • No Shift: This breaks out all non-shifted plays.
  • Shift - Traditional: This breaks out all plays where a traditional shift is employed. Generally, this implies there are three infielders to the right of second base.
  • Shift - Non Traditional: This breaks out all plays which would not be considered a traditional shift, so basically everything else.

Video courtesy of the Seattle Mariners

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at