Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 25

Thread: Defensive shifts

  1. #11
    I'm a fan robertc3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kenmore, WA
    Posts
    98
    Thanks
    38
    Thanked 36 Times in 25 Posts

    Default

    I think the biggest reason you don't see more shifts is the lack of quality data on where the hitters will hit the ball against a specific type of pitcher. In the MLB every hit is tracked and they get 600 PA per season. Huge amounts of data are readily available. Even in college softball where the most data is available a player only gets 225 PA max in a season. With a four year career limit there just isn't enough data to be sure the shift will work. Additionally, I think egos are smaller in softball and if you put on a shift that left the whole left side of the infield open the hitters happily drop a bunt for a base hit. It pisses me off that MLB hitters won't bunt against the shift.

    I have data going back years on my players, so if I were playing against them I could shift on some of them and do so quite effectively. No one else has that data, so they can't shift with any confidence.


  2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to robertc3 For This Useful Post:

    CoachJD (11-27-2018), Westwind (11-27-2018)

  3. #12
    Softball Junkie CoachJD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    801
    Thanks
    624
    Thanked 577 Times in 290 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by robertc3 View Post
    I think the biggest reason you don't see more shifts is the lack of quality data on where the hitters will hit the ball against a specific type of pitcher. In the MLB every hit is tracked and they get 600 PA per season. Huge amounts of data are readily available. Even in college softball where the most data is available a player only gets 225 PA max in a season. With a four year career limit there just isn't enough data to be sure the shift will work. Additionally, I think egos are smaller in softball and if you put on a shift that left the whole left side of the infield open the hitters happily drop a bunt for a base hit. It pisses me off that MLB hitters won't bunt against the shift.

    I have data going back years on my players, so if I were playing against them I could shift on some of them and do so quite effectively. No one else has that data, so they can't shift with any confidence.
    This is what I suspected: Lack of data makes it difficult. I'm sure we haven't seen drastic shifting trickle down to high school baseball, for example.

    But I figured it was worth asking, since every now and then there's a baseball thing that I learn just doesn't work as well or is different in softball because of the differences in the games.

  4. The Following User Says Thank You to CoachJD For This Useful Post:

    Westwind (11-27-2018)

  5. #13
    Checking out the clubhouse CoachDanBlewett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    17
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CoachJD View Post
    This is what I suspected: Lack of data makes it difficult. I'm sure we haven't seen drastic shifting trickle down to high school baseball, for example.

    But I figured it was worth asking, since every now and then there's a baseball thing that I learn just doesn't work as well or is different in softball because of the differences in the games.
    I agree on both the softball and baseball side - too many coaches will shade or shift players in the field based on "came to you last time!" or "went down the line last time" as if one or two at-bats tells us anything about a hitters' longterm habits.

    From my perspective as a pitcher for a many years, I was more concerned about the hitter's build, bat speed, swing path, hands, power, etc. You can piece together what a hitter is and is not capable of after just a few at-bats and make more sensible decisions based on that. Coupled with pitching sensibly to a pitcher's strengths first, then a hitters' weaknesses, you can start to control weaker hitters' potential outcomes and then shift players slightly if it makes sense.
    Dan Blewett
    @coachdanblewett on Social Media
    My SB YouTube Channel
    www.snapsoftball.com

  6. #14
    Certified softball maniac YOCOACH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Right Here For Now
    Posts
    2,815
    Thanks
    1,842
    Thanked 2,145 Times in 1,098 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CoachDanBlewett View Post
    I agree on both the softball and baseball side - too many coaches will shade or shift players in the field based on "came to you last time!" or "went down the line last time" as if one or two at-bats tells us anything about a hitters' longterm habits.

    From my perspective as a pitcher for a many years, I was more concerned about the hitter's build, bat speed, swing path, hands, power, etc. You can piece together what a hitter is and is not capable of after just a few at-bats and make more sensible decisions based on that. Coupled with pitching sensibly to a pitcher's strengths first, then a hitters' weaknesses, you can start to control weaker hitters' potential outcomes and then shift players slightly if it makes sense.
    CDB, while I would agree with your overall assessment, what it comes down to what Quincy and you have have said; it all comes down to scouting in order to know the hitters tendencies and weaknesses in their swings. Often times, especially in SB TB tourneys, it's unavailable for several reasons. At times, teams will be playing simultaneously with future teams playing. Also, there are many new teams that they haven't played before in tournaments and have no knowledge of. Granted, there's a coaching network or grapevine where we will pass along these types of things but nowhere near what I'm sure you are used to. The "intelligence," that you are used to seeing is just unavailable to us. Many times, we only see one or two at bats in a single tournament against a particular team and players/or and might never see them again the rest of the year. So it's up to us as coaches to play the percentages against such teams and batters.
    Last edited by YOCOACH; 01-01-2019 at 02:56 PM.
    "Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't."~ Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)

  7. #15
    Administrator Ken Krause's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Mundelein, IL
    Posts
    3,399
    Thanks
    184
    Thanked 2,406 Times in 936 Posts

    Default

    I did it once or twice when there was something obvious in a hitter's swing, but as others have said you really don't get the type of quality data in volume you need to create accurate predictions.

    One time I do remember doing it was against a left-handed hitter who was clearly going to pull the ball or not do much with it at all. i had my SS shift to directly behind 2B, and had the 3B move halfway between 2 and 3. My SS looked at me like I was nuts, but she obediently did as she was told. The girl popped up right to her right at the edge of the grass. Probably would've dropped in for a hit, or at least have been a spectacular play to get it if she was playing normally. But in this case it was a can of corn. She just smiled as she came in, one of those "Guess you knew what you were doing after all" smiles. But the reason I remember it was it was the exception.

    To accumulate the kind of data you'd need for reliable predictive analytics, you'd need lots of at-bats, and you'd have to have them broken down by pitchers with similar characteristics, i.e., throws 62, drop ball is strong, change is X mph off the FB, etc. Unlikely you're going to get enough data for each of those types of pitchers to match up with your pitching staff. You'd have to know what pitch the pitcher threw for each hit, again with enough data to differentiate between luck and skill. Unless you have a pitcher like Lowary who everyone hits the same against you're probably going to do yourself more harm than good trying to figure it out. And the second that kid gets a lucky hit in an area you had your fielders vacate out will come the torches and pitchforks.

    I think the smaller field in softball has something to do with it as well. There isn't as much need to shift when you don't have as much ground to cover.

    And I agree that ego (or contract incentives) is part of it in baseball too. I remember being at a game where the third base line was left wide open on a lefty with a big shift. As soon as I saw that I said he should drop a bunt down the third base line and that will be the end of the shift. Instead he swung away and grounded out. Every. Single. Time. I think more MLB hitters are starting to make those adjustments now as they realize one more single a week, no matter how you get it, can be the difference between .250 and .300.

    Ken Krause
    IOMT Castaways 18U
    Contributing editor, Softball Magazine
    Life in the Fastpitch Lane
    NFCA Three Star Master Coach

    For help with technical problems with the Forum, email me at support@discussfastpitch.com

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." - Albert Einstein

  8. #16
    Checking out the clubhouse CoachDanBlewett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    17
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by YOCOACH View Post
    CDB, while I would agree with your overall assessment, what it comes down to what Quincy and you have have said; it all comes down to scouting in order to know the hitters tendencies and weaknesses in their swings. Often times, especially in SB TB tourneys, it's unavailable for several reasons. At times, teams will be playing simultaneously with future teams playing. Also, there are many new teams that they haven't played before in tournaments and have no knowledge of. Granted, there's a coaching network or grapevine where we will pass along these types of things but nowhere near what I'm sure you are used to. The "intelligence," that you are used to seeing is just unavailable to us. Many times, we only see one or two at bats in a single tournament against a particular team and players/or and might never see them again the rest of the year. So it's up to us as coaches to play the percentages against such teams and batters.
    The key phrase in the paragraph you quoted me one was "after just a few at-bats." All of that "intelligence" as you called it is stuff any player or coach can assess on the fly, during a game. Everything I mentioned is available to any person who is involved in the game, though each person's specific viewpoint will vary. Watch the hitters their first time through the lineup, and you'll be able to discern much of what I mentioned - body type, stance, stride, hands, swing path, their look of aggressiveness or timidness, etc. etc. There's more free information than people realize, it's just whether folks are assessing it. You don't need as much batted ball data as you might think to start forming a gameplan right away. No intelligence or prior scouting is required.
    Dan Blewett
    @coachdanblewett on Social Media
    My SB YouTube Channel
    www.snapsoftball.com

  9. #17
    Certified softball maniac GunnerShotgun's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    1,868
    Thanks
    830
    Thanked 1,207 Times in 623 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CoachDanBlewett View Post
    Watch the hitters their first time through the lineup, and you'll be able to discern much of what I mentioned - body type, stance, stride, hands, swing path, their look of aggressiveness or timidness, etc. etc. There's more free information than people realize, it's just whether folks are assessing it. You don't need as much batted ball data as you might think to start forming a gameplan right away. No intelligence or prior scouting is required.
    So your analysis comes down to the "eye ball" test? You can just see it can you?

    Do you think that MLB teams throw out their scouting reports and data because why would you need it when you can just watch the hitters tendencies?

    Nonsense.

  10. #18
    Checking out the clubhouse CoachDanBlewett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    17
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GunnerShotgun View Post
    So your analysis comes down to the "eye ball" test? You can just see it can you?

    Do you think that MLB teams throw out their scouting reports and data because why would you need it when you can just watch the hitters tendencies?

    Nonsense.
    Why did you respond in such a rude and defensive way? Nowhere did I say scouting reports and data were useless.

    And yes - pitchers and catchers make ALL of the final pitch calls based on ALL tools available to them, especially the hitter's previous swing. When I threw a pitch, the hitter gave me information on how he could handle it. You take that live, in-game info and add it to everything else you know about him (from scouting reports) and make the best decision possible on the next pitch. Scouting reports are guidelines, and many of the games's best pitchers in both sports don't even use them (Chris Sale, Mark Buerhle are/were great examples). It's the human.

    I pitched professionally for a long time, and I never discount my eyes especially when I DIDNT have any scouting reports to go by. When you know nothing about a hitter...it's the eye test, which tells me lots and lots and lots of data...my own scouting report.

    In fact, I spoke on this in front of hundreds of scouts and data analysts and received lots of positive feedback. This speech was about how pitchers actually select pitches. Watch it here if you want to understand the process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0V4NlCkZJ0

    I wasn't being rude to you, that's for sure. You should consider not lashing out at strangers who are merely contributing to a discussion.
    Dan Blewett
    @coachdanblewett on Social Media
    My SB YouTube Channel
    www.snapsoftball.com

  11. The Following User Says Thank You to CoachDanBlewett For This Useful Post:

    Greatdaytobeawildcat (01-15-2019)

  12. #19
    I can talk softball all day uncdrew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Posts
    280
    Thanks
    212
    Thanked 129 Times in 77 Posts

    Default

    My HC and I found this to be very informative and helpful when we first started coaching rec ball many years ago.

    Winning 10U Defensive Strategy

    We kept up that with our now 10U travel team. We've made a lot of outs at first base from RF because of it. I wouldn't call it a shift of course, but just playing the odds. If nothing else, it's a nice read for new coaches of very young girls. Probably second nature to most people here.

    We're still new to travel and still needing girls to step up in some key positions. We make more errors than I care to admit and it's infuriating. I keep that bottled up.
    Last edited by uncdrew; 01-15-2019 at 03:33 PM.

  13. #20
    Softball Junkie CoachJD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    801
    Thanks
    624
    Thanked 577 Times in 290 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by uncdrew View Post
    My HC and I found this to be very informative and helpful when we first started coaching rec ball many years ago.

    Winning 10U Defensive Strategy

    We kept up that with our now 10U travel team. We've made a lot of outs at first base from RF because of it. I wouldn't call it a shift of course, but just playing the odds. If nothing else, it's a nice read for new coaches of very young girls. Probably second nature to most people here.

    We're still new to travel and still needing girls to step up in some key positions. We make more errors than I care to admit and it's infuriating. I keep that bottled up.
    The sad part is I saw "10U defensive strategy" and immediately thought, without even looking, "This could probably work for our HS games."

    Edit: OK, I read it, and some of it doesn't apply (obviously I have to put a good infielder at shortstop, for example), but some of it 100% will work. I'm trying to think of the number of times our RF has had a ball hit over her head in the past couple years, and I can think of one giant RH hitter who loves hitting to right center. And maybe a lefty hitter or two. But I am definitely playing my RF too deep most of the time.

    Last edited by CoachJD; 01-15-2019 at 04:03 PM.

Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 1 2 3 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •