Is "the shift" coming to softball?

Discussion in 'General Softball Discussions' started by DynastyFastpitch, Aug 30, 2020.

  1. Left hand batters in MLB have the lowest batting averages in the history of baseball so far this year due to the shift. Many say just hit to the left side where there are basically no fielders but if the pros that make millions can't even seem to do it, can we expect young players to do it? Will this start being part of softball?
  2. jayflyer98

    jayflyer98 Member

    I don’t really think softball will go that direction for a few reasons:
    - larger field and longer base path. There is time to throw a runner out from shallow right field or grounder up the middle.
    - likely a higher percentage of lefty batters in MLB
    - many of those lefty batters that have a shift played against them could lay down a bunt, but they are not paid to do that. Clubhouses would rather have them take a shot at a homer or extra base hit. Pitching is too good to go base to base..
    - MLB has the time and resources to determine best defense against a particular batter. Not all shifts are the same. Specific for each batter.

    Just my opinion, likely not worth much..
    coachjwb likes this.
  3. HITTER23

    HITTER23 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Baseball has very detailed stats on where each player hits, it would be impossible to do this in softball , at least on the travel level, there isnt enough data. You could maybe in your conference college wise if you played the other team enough.
    coachjwb and daboss like this.
  4. PaulP

    PaulP Member

    When you have players making a fortune, it makes sense for MLB teams to spend a small fortune on mathematicians to figure out how to get them out.
  5. LineDrive1434

    LineDrive1434 New Member

    So I have used the shift many times in softball. Picking the right spots can get you some easy outs especially with slower runners. Power hitters who do nothing but pull the ball can be held in check by moving the shortstop 10 ft to the right and putting the second baseman either just on the left field side of the bag or straight up the middle. First baseman comes off the bag 10 ft right as well. Just make sure you have worked on PFP's with your pitchers.
  6. I think there would be lack of data in travel ball. I could see some of the top programs in college looking at the data and giving it a try. I know LSU, Kentucky study a ton of data in all aspects of the game. It is interesting to see the game evolve. Sort of like Moneyball, trying to find an edge.
  7. CARDS

    CARDS Active Member

    The shift works in baseball because the hitters honestly are not as disciplined as may softball players where they take what the D gives them. I remember MANY A/B one of the best Griffey Jr had where there was no one from the 6 hole over the the five hole 3rd base and he hit it to the SS playing short RC/middle for a ground out.
    With that said I have seen many teams including mine that has utilized a modified shift or D depending on the situation, hitter etc. Slapping team, Power hitter L/R that tend to pull to their strength as they are pitched.
  8. HITTER23

    HITTER23 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Like what has been stated, unless you know what the player does , youre guessing.
  9. LineDrive1434

    LineDrive1434 New Member

    That's correct. If you don't have a good read on the hitter it could be a waste of time or a guess. That said, if you have seen the hitter in other games or in her last at bat, OR she just pulled your pitchers best FB three times 15 feet left of the third base line foul. Kind of a give away. Move your players. Play the odds. What are the chances she will all of a sudden punch one through the second base hole left by the shift? I will take those odds all day, every day.
  10. Stedman00

    Stedman00 Active Member

    good hitters will drive the ball where pitched. If you want to try and move your fielders drastically on every pitch and tell the hitter, " hey, we're playing to pull, the pitch is coming inside", go ahead. Same with outside pitches. Disciplined hitters will defeat the shifts.
    HITTER23 likes this.
  11. LineDrive1434

    LineDrive1434 New Member

    No one said on every pitch or every hitter. For the right hitter a shift will provide better odds to get them out...period. It's not an opinion it's proven at the collegiate level as well as professionally. If major league baseball players (who are probably better hitters than the best 14U or 16U or 18U in the country) can get caught up in the net the shift provides it will work on the lesser hitter as well. But to repeat it has to be the right hitter (right or left handed) and the correct situation on the field in terms of base runners. And of course it's up to the pitcher to make their pitches but when isn't it?
    IRdad09 likes this.
  12. rog2ski

    rog2ski New Member

    OU softball did this a couple years ago when Paige Lowery was pitching.
    Just have to know pitchers and batters well enough to make it work.
  13. DanMaz

    DanMaz Super Moderator Staff Member

    I mean, there is a reason middle infielders show their outfielders the pitching signals... that's still a shift , no ?
  14. daboss

    daboss Well-Known Member

    You mean the shift left???????
  15. DanMaz

    DanMaz Super Moderator Staff Member

    oh dont start Boss..... lol you know where this will take us!!
    daboss likes this.
  16. coachjwb

    coachjwb Well-Known Member

    Good points above especially about the amount of data available, but I also believe the larger ball makes it less difficult to control the direction of the hit
  17. DanMaz

    DanMaz Super Moderator Staff Member

    i can see a shift maybe IF your pitcher is dead on her spots and you know a batter has consistent tendencies on certain pitches.
    other than that. i say NO. It's a small field and short bases... not like baseball
    coachjwb likes this.
  18. coachjwb

    coachjwb Well-Known Member

    The one "shift" that's been a staple of a lot of coaches for many years is the "slapper shift". If there's a speedy slapper up, it can be almost impossible to get an out if you don't have a shift that may very well also include the outfielders. We always taught our left side fielders that if a properly executed slap is allowed to bounce a second time, you're probably going to be better off "eating" the ball.
  19. Rog, is Oklahoma still using the shift? Did it work when they used it?

    ALISA WEAVER New Member

    I think that if you purposefully train strikes in different directions, you can get an interesting result. Basically, everyone learns the classic style of the game, and rightly so, but at some point you can add special "chips" that will help you win.

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