In-depth: Which Mets will see Rays shift?

June, 12, 2012
6/12/12
10:30
AM ET
You're going to hear a lot about defensive positioning these next few days, largely because the Rays are viewed as the team for whom this takes a high priority.

The Rays lead the majors in defensive shifts used, as manager Joe Maddon and his staff try to put his team in the highest-percentage position to get an out.

The Mets will probably face more than their usual share in these next three games.

Here are the four Mets most likely to be challenged by an unusual defensive alignment this series, alongside images providing the justification for such a move.

IKE DAVIS

Davis has seen his share of defensive shifts this season.

The shift that would seem to make the most sense against Davis is the one that would put the shortstop behind second base and the third baseman in the shortstop position, thus giving the defense two infielders to guard the area between the normal second-base position and the base itself.

Smart positioning has almost certainly impacted Davis' numbers this season.

He has reached base 11 of 20 times when hitting a line drive in 2012 (with five lineouts to infielders), and 10 of 60 times when he has hit a ground ball. His success rates in both areas are below major-league norms.

LUCAS DUDA

Duda will likely warrant a shift, though he has shown the ability to hit the ball the other way on occasion. Of the 54 ground balls he has hit this season, 42 have been to the right of second base. That's about a 78 percent rate.

Those who have studied such matters generally endorse playing a shift on a hitter if he's pulling the ball at an 80 percent rate.

If you expand the look to line drives, as we did in the image on the right, there are a couple more that were infield-playable hit to the right side.

All the line drives Duda hit to the left side were hit into the outfield

Duda amounts to a legitimate shift candidate, once we add line drives to the mix, though his shift may not be as extreme as Davis'.

JASON BAY/SCOTT HAIRSTON

Most teams don't shift against right-handed hitters, but the Rays are not shy about doing so. Bay's profile is basically begging for a shift.

The image on the right shows Bay's ground balls and line drives this season. Amazingly, he has hit 23 of them without hitting a ball to the right of second base.

Dating back to last season, Bay's last 40 ground-ball outs have been fielded by either the pitcher, shortstop or third baseman.

Hairston's batted-ball profile is almost identical to Bay's when it comes to direction of line drives and ground balls. He has hit 43 ground balls and line drives this season and only one was to the right of second base.

Whatever treatment Bay gets, Hairston will likely see the same.

"In-depth" appears Tuesday's during the regular season

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
12 4.01 132 172
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .301
HRL. Duda 26
RBIL. Duda 76
RD. Murphy 73
OPSL. Duda .824
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.45
SOZ. Wheeler 163