FanPost

Exploiting inefficiencies. The defensive shift.

How the defensive shift improved the pirates defensive from one of the worst to one of the best.

How did Fox implement the system that helped catapult the Pirates from the National League’s worst fielding team (67% of balls into outs, 76 runs below average) to one of the league’s best fielding teams (72% of balls into outs, 31 runs above average)? Very gradually. Fox’s team provides the information to Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, third base coach Nick Leyva and minor league managers. The coaches then communicate to the players, often with visuals like spray charts of batted balls, about the benefits of shifting positions based on the hitter. "We’ve definitely been more aggressive. The numbers don’t lie," Leyva says. "And to this point we’ve been pretty successful, so they’re buying into it more on a daily basis." The results have been strong in defensive efficiency, turning batted balls into outs, from the minors to the majors.

I know our front office is busy creating snazzy marketing slogans and making rap rock videos. While our management work at getting our players to eat bowls of gravel and participate in manly feats of strength to increase our TWTW. My question is, do the White Sox even have a department of "baseball op's" as they are sometimes called? If not all this new money were investing might end up feeling like we're spinning our wheels as the teams that are willing to embrace game theoretical analysis of baseball keep moving forward. Hopefully we will catch up.

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