MLB Banning The Shift?


Parker Patterson

As MLB and the MLBPA continues with negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement, it appears that MLB has proposed to ban defensive shifts. The players union agreed to give MLB the power to institute changes like larger bases, a pitch clock and banning the defensive shift starting in 2023 — as long as the union is given 45 days notice. Though the first two changes are aimed at speeding up the game and player safety, the decision to ban defensive shifts aims directly at the strategic approach to baseball.

The shift is when a team strategically places position players in spots on the field where a batter is most likely to hit the ball. Teams have entire scouting and analytics departments to come up with these alignments, and though the shift has always been around, it has gone to dramatic extremes in recent years.