Some people think that MLB is completely banning the defensive shifts and that we will see infielders and outfielders positioned in their regular spots at all times.
That is not going to be the case.
As Codify Baseball kindly reminds us, the defensive shift will be restricted, but not completely eliminated or banned.
Defensive shifts have not been banned.
Defensive shifts have been restricted.
Check it out. 👇 pic.twitter.com/w99NA7q0po
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) March 3, 2023
In case you were wondering, this is new Minnesota Twins outfielder and notorious pull hitter Joey Gallo.
Gallo has been, in recent seasons, one of the most frequently shifted against batters in the majors.
Now, the new rule states that there must be two infielders at each side of second base at the moment a pitch is thrown.
All four infielders will also be required to be on the infield dirt (or infield grass).
However, the new regulation does not say anything about outfielders, so MLB teams can, indeed, shift by using one of their outfielders as a deep-lying, “fifth” infielder.
That’s what Gallo is seeing in the at-bat shown in the tweet: five infielders, and three on his pull side.
Infielders can also position themselves much closer to second base and once the pitch comes out of the hurler’s hand, move past second base.
All things considered, the shift has been limited, but it’s far from being a thing of the past.
Pull-heavy batters will be seeing a lot of alignments like this one in the 2023 season and beyond, unless the league decides to do something with outfielders.
That’s why we can’t expect hitters like Gallo to suddenly explode offensively and return to their best days.NEXT: The Mariners Have Fun With Some Bad Handwriting