Eliminating Shift Might Benefit Cubs More than Other Teams

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Among the many hills Rob Manfred has offered to die on since taking over as commissioner, eliminating the shift may be the tallest. Or maybe it’s the shortest, just depends on how you want to work the metaphor. While it’s been at the top of his list for a while, there seems to be enough momentum from both sides to enact a change with relative ease.

Jayson Stark examined all the rationale behind the elimination of the shift, including its potential impact on offense, in a comprehensive piece for The Athletic (subscription). And while the noted reduction in MLB offense across the board isn’t just a product of Big Shift, it does offer an even more convenient scapegoat than Cubs hitting and pitching coaches.

Consider that there were 3,000 fewer singles in 2018 than 10 years ago, or that 517 balls hit into the shift would have been hits against a standard defensive alignment. Lefty power hitters…

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