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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Mark Teixeira, John Smoltz says lefty batters can easily bunt for hits against the extreme shift.

Mark Teixeira Changes His Plate Philosophy, but Only When It Comes to Meals
By BILLY WITZ FEB. 25, 2015  The New York Times

... Teixeira’s eagerness to alter his habits does not extend to the batter’s box...

“Every time I try to slap the ball the other way, it doesn’t go well for everybody,” ... “That’s what the other team wants. They want to take the middle-of-the-order power hitter and turn him into a slap hitter.” ...

“I’m not going to ask you to do something that you’re not comfortable doing,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “But it’s something we need to have conversations about and see how we attack it.”

Shift fear up the chain of command: why are general managers afraid to order their managers to order their batters to bunt against the shift?  Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mark Teixeira OPS (On Base Plus SLG):
career .881 (.364 + .516)
2014 .711 (.313 + .398)

John Smoltz: lefty batters can easily bunt for hits against the extreme shift.  Saturday, February 28, 2015

OPS 1.000 bunting against the shift?  Saturday, May 24, 2014

On base average plus slugging average (OPS) is not perfect but it gives us a pretty good idea of the relative value of players in the batter's box...

Mickey Mantle is number 11 (.977) in OPS, number 6 in OPS+ (172: 72 percent above average).  Mantle is not one of the eight over 1.000 in OPS.  However, when Mantle bunted:

Batting Average (BA): .527 (87 for 165)
On Base average: .527
Slugging average: .527
OPS: 1.054  ...

I will immediately address the objections of non-radical baseball people:
1. Mantle was fast.
2. Mantle played a million years ago when everything was different.

1. Except for about a dozen plate appearances (PA), Mantle did not bat against the shift, which greatly reduces the need for speed and bunting skill...

2. A million years ago Mantle was the home run king of baseball, so his personal attributes were very similar to those of today's players who are most likely to refuse to bunt against the shift.  They think that they are doing the other team a favor by forgoing a chance to hit a home run.  I've written several recent posts with specifics on Mantle bunting in order to increase the chances of his team winning, including 7 for 8 bunting in the World Series: BA .875.  Mantle also set the WS record for most homers: 18.

Let me emphasize again that I am advocating bunting against the shift, not bunting against a traditional alignment of fielders.  I am suggesting that even slow runners can bat at least .500 bunting against the shift.  That's an OPS of 1.000.  Mantle did it against the regular alignment used for over 100 years.  Can't current players adapt and match that against the shift?

Does Mark Teixeira think he's better than Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams? Bunt the damn ball into the ocean!  Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mickey Mantle by
Tony the Misfit via Wikimedia Commons
Bunt.  There are no fielders there!  Just bunt and get on base! ...

Yankee announcers discussed at some length the stubbornness of Yankee first baseman Mark Teixeira who last night was batting cleanup.  Teixeira has given no indication this season that he would hit the ball away from fielders who overload on the right side when the switch hitter is batting lefty against a righty.  The word bunt is not in Teixeira's vocabulary.  Even Yankee catcher Brian McCann bunted against the shift for a single this season ... once...

I've written extensively about this throughout the season.  In a nutshell my view is that any major league non-pitcher and probably any top professional tennis player can hold the bat still and bunt a pitch into fair territory.  Bunting against the extreme shift should produce a batting average of at least .500. Mickey Mantle bunted .527 for his regular season career against regular fielding alignments; in the World Series Mantle was 7 for 8 (.875).  Ted Williams against unknown fielding alignments bunted 11 for 12 (.917); Williams was 1 for 1 bunting in his only World Series.

Mantle and Williams were much better hitters overall and better home run hitters than Mark Teixeira.  Mantle and Williams had better home run rates in eras when there were far fewer home runs per at bat...

So what's the deal with Teixeira and Girardi?  If Teixeira won't make the decision on his own, why won't Girardi make it for him? ...

So what the heck?  What are we all missing here?  Managers employ the shift against opposing batters but then sit there like dopes and let their own batters bang away hitting into the teeth of the shift deployed against them.  Is there something obvious that I'm missing, because it's driving me nuts.  Who can watch this?

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