Shift is a tactic in which defenders, especially infielders, are concentrated on one side to block batters who are thoroughly pulled. It was pointed out that the process takes time for the fielder to move and delays the game time. There were also voices calling for extreme defensive tactics to reduce the excitement of baseball.
As a result, the U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB) has restricted the scope of shift since last year. It changed the rule to require at least four fielders excluding pitchers and catchers in the infield, and to have two on both sides based on the second base. In response, KBO will also introduce shift restrictions for the new season. Although no specific rules have been established, chances are high that MLB’s detailed rules will be followed as they are.
Left-handed hitters, who struggled with defensive shifts, are expected to breathe. Due to the nature of the KBO, which has many left-handed hitters pulling, there have been many extreme shifts toward left-handed hitters, such as the “2nd baseman (2nd baseman + right fielder)” strategy of placing the second baseman backward to the outfield in front of the right fielder, and the strategy of placing three infielders between the first and second bases.헤라카지노
Hanwha’s defensive shift, which was operated to prevent Samsung’s Oh Jae-il from hitting the pull ball. There are three infielders between Hanwha’s first and second bases. The point is that one infielder is leaning heavily to the right in the right field. Capture relay screen
LG’s defensive shift, which was launched to block Doosan’s Kim Jae-hwan’s pull ball. Three infielders are placed between LG’s first and second bases. Capture relay screen
Left-handed powerhouses such as Oh Jae-il (Samsung Lions), Kim Jae-hwan (Doosan Bears), Kim Hyun-soo (LG Twins), and Kang Baek-ho (KT Wiz) have been the targets of intensive check. In fact, Oh’s right-handed batting ratio stood at 43.2 percent last year, while Kim’s was 41.8 percent, Kim’s 40.4 percent, and Kang’s 40.9 percent, respectively. Choo Shin-soo (SSG Landers) and Choi Joo-hwan (Kium Heroes) also swung more than 50 percent to the right. The defense teams deployed many fielders to the right, and caught balls that they pulled.
Coincidentally, all of them were players who suffered poor batting performance last year. Oh Jae-il had a batting average of 0.203, 11 homers and 54 RBIs, while Kim Jae-hwan had a batting average of 0.220, 10 homers and 46 RBIs. Kim Hyun-soo, who boasts a batting average of .300 (0.314), has also failed to surpass the batting average of .300 for three seasons since 2021, when his shift became more active. Kang Baek-ho was also sluggish with a batting average of 0.265 with eight homers and 39 RBIs last year after suffering injury and slump. Choo had a batting average of 0.254 too low compared to his on-base percentage of 0.379, while Choi hit 20 homers, but Choi left a disappointing performance with a batting average of 0.235.
It may be due to the deterioration of individual performance, but there were many cases where the well-hit ball was caught in a tight defensive shift. The slump was prolonged as the hit that would become a hit led to poor batting. Players also expressed their concerns several times. Kim Hye-sung (Kium Heroes, right-handed batting average of 0.434) and Koo Ja-wook (Samsung, 0.432), who overcame the extreme shift and performed well, were also burdened with the shift.
In fact, MLB’s left-handed hitters had a big impact. The batting average of left-handed hitters in the 2023 season was 0.297, up from 0.287 in the 2022 season. According to Baseball Reference, a website specializing in MLB records, the BABIP (in-play batting average) of left-handed hitters also rose significantly from 0.258 in 2022 to 0.288 in 2023. This proved that ground balls often led to hits. Similar results are expected in the KBO as well.
“The batting performance of left-handed hitters who struggled with shift will slightly increase (this season),” A team coach said. “The psychological aspect of batters will also improve significantly (with the absence of shift).” “The burden on defenders, especially second basemen, could be greater than before. The overall offense of left-handed hitters in the league will stand out,” said B, a former defense coach.