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View from the catwalk: Holding runners is hard

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Glasnow and Snyder have some work to do. Good thing they’re neighbors.

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Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

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  • Russell Carleton has written a lot about the shift. Probably most interestingly, about how pitchers have tended to walk more batters when the defense is shifted behind them. I’ve always been a little bit skeptical over Carleton’s framing of this in his articles, because walk rates are not baked into the fabric of the shift the same way BABIP on groundballs is. It seems like there’s a really simple fix if your pitchers are walking too many people when you move the shortstop to the other side of second base—tell them to stop. So now that Carleton’s gone back and checked his numbers, and found that those walk rates are coming down, I’m tempted to say, “duh.” But I’m not going to do that, because there’s another story here. Just like Carleton’s basic point is that the act of shifting changes the situation and potentially makes the data that the decision to shift is based on no longer a good fit, the act of writing about the shift changes the situation and potentially makes the data that Carleton based his writing on no longer a good fit. By noticing and pointing out this issue for all teams to see, Carleton gave everyone the chance to go talk to their pitchers and say “cut it out.” So, nice job, and congrats on maybe influencing all of baseball, not that we’ll ever really know.
  • Sheryl Ring writes that the recent controversies stemming from offensive old tweets on MLB players’ twitters are a reason for the MLBPA to widen its umbrella to include minor league players.
  • Matt Provenzano wonders if the ball is becoming unjuiced.