New York Player Slams the Shift, and Here’s Why He’s Wrong
In the middle of all of the chaos and strife facing Major League Baseball, one player from a New York baseball team has publicly voiced his displeasure.
Now, he didn't take aim at the lockout looming over the sport, the financial issues facing players, or the issues with service time and when plays can become free agents.
Rather, he took umbrage with a different issue: the shift.
And, he's wrong.
Yankees' Joey Gallo Questions the Shift in Baseball
The player in question is Joey Gallo, outfielder for the New York Yankees, who the team acquired at last year's MLB Trade Deadline. Gallo is very simple to summarize as a hitter: he pulls the ball, all the time.
So, naturally, a player who often hits the ball in one direction, is going to be a prime candidate for a team to implement a shift of their defensive players. Gallo hits one to the right side of the infield, and as long as it doesn't go out of the ballpark, the odds are in a defense's favor that they'll be able to record an out.
Gallo doesn't like this concept, and said as much in an interview:
“I get the defensive strategies. I do. I am 100 percent not against that… But I think at some point, you have to fix the game a little bit…” Gallo said. “I don’t understand how I’m supposed to hit a double or triple when I have six guys standing in the outfield.” - Jayson Stark, The Athletic
Gallo isn't the first player to be annoyed by the shift, and he won't be the last. The issue with his statement here, however, is that he seems to be missing the point of the shift in its entirety.
Gallo is "Off-Base" for His Shift Statement
Joey Gallo claims that he can't hit doubles or triples because there are six players standing in the outfield. Due to their positioning on the field, he is having less success getting base hits and getting on base consistently.
Believe it or not, Joey Gallo, that's the point of the shift.
Look, some of the shifts that teams have executed in recent years have been very extravagant, and possibly, even a bit over-the-top. That being said, it's a strategy they choose to implement, and it's up to the hitter to make the necessary adjustments.
Not that Gallo should do this during every at-bat, but even Robinson Cano found a way to beat it.
I get that it can be frustrating, but that's the nature of the game. Now, it's up to Gallo to find a way to beat it.