Defensive Shifts

Discussion in 'Coaching Softball Discussions' started by Fairman, Sep 7, 2015.

  1. Fairman

    Fairman Member

    Has anyone applied the serious defensive shifts that we are beginning to see in professional baseball based on 'Big Data'.
    If so what alignment have you used?
  2. FastBat

    FastBat Well-Known Member

    I usually just look at the batter's feet and what their swing looks like. Sometimes, if I'm really motivated, I look back at previous game or innings. But, it's not hard to tell where they are going to hit based on if the batter is open or very closed to home plate or if they have a hitch in their swing, esp. in 10-12u. I will tell certain players if I feel they aren't paying attention, to be ready if I think the ball is going to be hit to them, but it's mainly just a safety issue. Here's an article about it in MLB:
  3. JoeA1010

    JoeA1010 Active Member

    Been thinking about it Fairman, but the problem is that we don't have any way to obtain the data that they do in MLB. I read Big Data Baseball and I think shifts in our game would make sense, but maybe not quite as much as baseball because we don't have as much ground to cover in the field. In other words, shifts in our game would result in much more overlap of areas that get covered than in baseball.

    The usage of data is largely missing in our game and I wish I had a way to obtain the data we need. The other problem, though, is that we barely play enough games to make the data sample meaningful. For now, the data I tend to use is focused on game-situation percentages rather than individual tendencies.
  4. Linedrive21

    Linedrive21 New Member

    Nicely said, definitely agree with looking back at previous games played against a team and setting the defense based on a hitter's past history of where they put the ball in play.

    Read an article recently that suggested that MLB should ban defensive shifts, also heard it on a broadcast, not sure what my opinion on that is.
  5. Fairman

    Fairman Member

    We inherited our basic defensive positions directly from baseball but what if those are not the most effective?

    PS: I am definitely against any ban of defensive shifts.
    The batters will learn to hit to the opposite field eventually and pull hitters will become devalued.
  6. snoman76

    snoman76 Member

    Certain Lefty slappers we do a major shift. We only do this with the ones we know that can't hit with power.
    We pull F5 way in to guard the bunt, F6 moves in to fill the gap between F1 and F5, F7 plays the edge of the infield or maybe a little more in behind F5, F8 shifts over behind F5 a little deeper than F7, F9 shifts to center just to the right of 2B, & F4 plays about 3 steps to the left of 2B. Again, this is only used on a few leftys that we know dont hit with power and 99% of the time dont pull the ball
  7. C'mon JoeA, go get a few of those high academic Econ majors up there and offer them a little class credit for an independent study. No need to be learning about supply side economics when they could be collecting and crunching spray chart data for you! :D
  8. spartansd

    spartansd Member

    This issue is data.

    Additionally, you kind of need pitch location.

    With that said, armed with a game changer spray chart you can find out a lot. I would say that you have 4 types of hitters (outside of slappers) based on the spray charts I have studied.

    Pull Hitters - all balls are to one side of second base, most shift SS over second and CF into a power alley

    Opposite fields - see above only invert

    Hits between power alleys - squeeze middle infielders a few steps towards center, maybe pull corner OF towards power alleys

    Spray all over - honestly I would say that 70-80% of most spray charts look like this,

    I agree with the above. The field is so small and it is such a speed game that you already have a ton of overlap. I do not see fastpitch going to the massive shifts you see in baseball. I think shading is a good idea but the field is already so small that you are not getting as much benefit as you do in baseball. Additionally, I would think you need to overlay the spray chart with pitch location and type of pitch and count. This is a different game and the hitters tend to act a bit differently. More focus on contact hitting and moving runners. In baseball many players just walk in box and swing away. They are not looking to hit behind a runner or move a runner to second or third. Swing for the fences seems to be the main focus.
  9. coachjwb

    coachjwb Well-Known Member

    Some of it is data, and some of it is the nature of the game I think. Most good softball hitters have the ability to take the ball the opposite way, but many good baseball hitters don't. I don't know the reason for that difference vs. softball, but I bet some people here do ...
  10. FastBat

    FastBat Well-Known Member

    Smart! That's called strategy and playing the game.
  11. Maxx

    Maxx Member

  12. wow

    wow Active Member

    Some major differences between shifts in baseball then in fastpitch. First pitch type and location, although important in both sports, fastpitch has more upwards moving pitches where baseball has very limited, if at all, even with a sidearm pitcher. Second the reaction time is less, as the mound is much closer, therefore spray patterns become less important. Third the the double plane movement pitches. Not saying it can't be done but at 43ft its like a cartoon and MOST batters have to "go with the pitch " just to make solid contact. Shifts move both horizontal (side to side) and vertical (back and forth). The horizontal shift is very effective in both the outfield and infield, but is a move of sheer genius, when it works. Watching DD play against the D3 semi finalist, in the regular season. Pitcher was one of the best in Ohio. The opposing team puts a shift on in the outfield. Everyone to left field. Played 7 innings. Not one ball was hit to right field. Outstanding coaching strategy. No spray pattern needed. The coach knew his pitcher and how to keep batters out of right field. The point is Softball shifts are about knowing what type of pitch is being thrown and where, batters hand path, and some luck to get everything to line up. You see this more and more with SS or 2nd looking at the signs each pitch.

    Already been said. More about shading in the infield. 60ft bases no where to really go...
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2015
  13. FastBat

    FastBat Well-Known Member

    This is a major difference between SB and BB, speed of the game.

    I think MLB would ruin the game, if they started new rules about shifting. Most fans lose their minds when they don't understand rules, I have heard questions about simply tagging up, I can't imagine how these new rules would be understood/misunderstood by the General public.
  14. Fairman

    Fairman Member

    Since the infield softball field is so much smaller (Infield SB:3,600SF vs BB:8,100SF; Total field SB:30,000SF vs BB:120,000SF) there is much overlapping areas of responsibility between the fielders when the 'standard baseball' alignment is used and a good bit of real-estate that has no coverage at all.

    So without the data to back it up but relying on general trends.... that a right hand batter will hit more and harder to the left side and up the middle. Why not shift our shortstops into the 5/6 hole and deeper and pull the second baseman closer to the bag (up the middle) Leave the third basemen in front of the bag a step or two off the line. The first baseman would have to play over toward second and the pitcher would have to field the first baseline line. The lefty shift would be similar.

    The current alignment assumes that all parts of the field is used equally and that is certainly not true.

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