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Major League Baseball Needs to Stop Trying to Kill the Shift

Ryan Phillips
Division Series - San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two
Division Series - San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two / Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

On Thursday, Major League Baseball announced rules changes it will experiment with in the minor leagues this season. Some make a ton of sense and are easier to support, but one is ridiculous. There will be limits placed on shifting in Double-A, which is MLB's latest broadside fired at the practice. It's a absurd movement that should be stopped in its tracks.

Here is the proposed rule:

"A requirement that all four infielders have their cleats within the outer boundary of the infield dirt when the pitch is delivered"

MLB is trying this because it wants to create more offense, and the shift with an infielder in short right field against left-handed batters does take away a ton of hits. But here's an easy solution for those hitters: learn to hit the ball the other way and negate the shift. Good defensive strategy shouldn't be punished because certain hitters are incapable of adjusting.

As our own Kyle Koster noted, the other consequence of this rule will be incentivizing the strikeout for pitchers. If MLB is attempting to ban the shift to lead to more action, it might actually have the opposite effect if pitchers are nibbling for Ks. That leads to walks or strikeouts, neither of which cause much action on the bases.

MLB wants to create faster, more exciting games. Removing smart defensive strategy is not a way to do that. Hitter should continue to be punished for refusing to develop and refine their approaches.