In 2016, teams employed a defensive shift more than ever before. Across the majors, teams shifted 28,072 times. The Cubs, whose defense maintained a historically good BABIP, shifted the least with just 603 batters faced with some sort of defensive shift in place. The Cubs appear to be one step ahead against the rest of the league since Russell A. Carleton has found that teams are shifting too much. Carleton found that while BABIP on groundballs against the shift has decreased, line drive rates have improved for batters facing a shift and pitchers are throwing more balls, thus increasing the likelihood for more walks and higher pitch counts. Hitters may actually be getting more hits when the shift is in place which, of course, defeats the purpose of shifting.
The Cubs, however, may have a prime candidate for employing a shift in spite of all of this.
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