Wednesday, April 16, 2014
With just two weeks down in this baseball season — if we were at a football game, there would be roughly 11:11 left in the first quarter — the Yankees are on pace to win two more games than last year. Hit 18 more home runs.
And save 22 more runs via the defensive shift.
Yes, the Yankees have become hard-core believers in the shift. If the quality of their infield has dropped precipitously, with a new guy expected in time for Tuesday night’s game against the Cubs at Yankee Stadium, then they are getting far more bang for their buck.
“You’re going to be burned on it,” Billy Eppler, the Yankees’ assistant general manager/pro personnel, said Monday in a telephone interview. “You just want to have more instances of run-saving circumstances than run-yielding circumstances.”
Smart shifting can help cover for up some of the limitations of the Yankees’ infield defense, so I applaud this shift (get it?) in thinking. The Yankees did shift quite a bit last year, they just did it poorly as their BABIP against with the shift was around .030 higher than it was without. So far this year they appear to be doing it better.