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Friday, May 16, 2014

Brian McCann fails to bunt into the ocean created by the shift, no Mickey Mantle he.

Brian McCann attempted a bunt against the shift in the 9th inning of yesterday's 1-0 Yankee win over the Mets in Citi Field.  It was the first pitch and it went foul.  McCann missed the ocean of open space created by the extreme shift.  On the second pitch McCann showed bunt but did not offer.  Eventually, McCann struck out swinging.  Still, it was shocking that one of the most stubborn non-bunters even made an attempt.  Recently, McCann has tried to swing away and hit to the sparsely populated left side, even succeeding occasionally, as he had done earlier in last night's game with a soft hit between SS and LF leading off the second inning.

Mark Teixeira had beaten the shift leading off the 9th with a line drive single to center immediately prior to McCann's bunt failure.  Since Teixeira does not even seem familiar with the concept of bunting, I guess that McCann has evolved beyond Teixeira.  On the other hand ...


201420142014
ABHRAB/HRABHRAB/HR
Mark Teixeira5,80934916.6492811.50
Brian McCann3,99718122.08134526.80

The home rate (AB/HR) this season of Mark Teixeira is considerably better than the rate for his career while that of Brian McCann is somewhat worse.

Baseball Digest, back cover, May 1951
Original caption: "In charade fashion,
New York Yankees act out hopes of
 18th pennant in 1951.
Manager Casey Stengel points to goal
 on Bob Muncrief's back,
 while combined uniforms of (l. to r.)
Frank Shea, Joe DiMaggio and
 Jim Brideweser (actually Billy Martin)
form calendar year."
Recent posts about the bunting prowess of home run hitter Mickey Mantle were meant, in part, to draw a distinction between Mantle's common sense and the lack of same by today's hitters.  The same could also be said of the respective Yankee managers: Casey Stengel and Joe Girardi.

Mantle bunted 61% more frequently in the World Series (WS) than in the regular season.  The WS numbers are small but telling: 7 for 8, .875 batting average.  Four bunts were in 1952 but Mantle bunted as late as 1963, leading off the top of the second as the cleanup hitter with a bunt single against Don Drysdale, against whom Mantle had a bunt single in one of the 1959 All Star games.

Mickey Mantle bunted in the World Series, too.  Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mickey Mantle: bunt single off Don Drysdale in 1959 All Star game.  Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mickey Mantle: 565 foot home run, then bunt single in the same game!  Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Real men bunt ... and hit homers.  Monday, May 12, 2014

Shift on Mickey Mantle.  Saturday, May 10, 2014

Would The Three Stooges bunt against the shift?  Monday, May 5, 2014

Brian McCann, bunt it into that ocean at third base! Geez, how stupid are you? And how cowardly is your manager, Joe Girardi?  Friday, April 11, 2014

Shift fear: why are managers afraid to order their batters to bunt against the shift?  Thursday, April 10, 2014

Batters are dumber than usual this season, hitting into the shift most of the time.  Monday, April 7, 2014

1 comment:

WMiller81 said...

The professional bunter (a la Bert Campaneris) might be making a comeback. Bunters might be baseballs (and somehow simultaneously oldest) "market inefficiency." But the truth is, most of these players probably haven't practiced bunting since the 10th grade, so it may be a while until we see competent bunters come back.