One of the most frustrating parts of baseball is infield shifts. When watching the whole infield shift to the first base side when a lefty comes up, you can't help but wonder why the batter doesn't just bunt his way on. Well, players seem to be frustrated too, but for a different reason.
This story generated some spirited conversation yesterday. Feel free to weigh in with your, "Just lay down a bunt and it will end the shift,'' or "More people need to hit like Rod Carew and Tony Gwynn'' comments. https://t.co/QdkW4VUdrz— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 11, 2018
In interviews with three lefties - Daniel Murphy, Kyle Seager, and Matt Carpenter - players revealed that beating the shift is not as simple as just tapping the ball down the third base side.
In their interviews, there seems to be two major themes: that bunting your way on is not as easy as it seems and that batters are not paid to bat for easy singles.
As Matt Carpenter put it, even if he tried to beat the shift by hitting the ball towards the left side four times a game, he would probably only succeed twice. He says that "at best I'm going to go 2-for-4 with two singles, where if I just play the game, I might go 2-for-4 with a homer and a double. It makes no sense to me."
According to Daniel Murphy, singles are not the way to win ball games in the MLB anymore. Murphy explained that because pitchers are so dominant in today's game "it's really difficult to get three hits in one inning." Thus, every time Murphy steps up to the plate, his "goal is to touch second base" to try and give his team the best shot at scoring a run.
Just watching MLB network and saw Twins use 4 outfielders and a shift - dude pops up on infield pic.twitter.com/A37nASVTZo— TN Baseball Report (@TNBballRprt) July 10, 2018
The players agree that opposing teams would be happy if players bunted down the line because it would mean that the lefties would no longer be a threat to drive the ball deep into the gap or over the fence. The shift is meant to weaken lefty's strengths, and if that means giving up singles down the line, opposing teams seem to be alright with it.
Bottom line, it does not seem like players will be adapting to the shift anytime soon.