Valuing the Rays’ Infield Defense | The Process Report

Valuing the Rays’ Infield Defense

Infield defensive shifts are nothing new for the Rays as what once revolutionary for the league is now more commonplace.  The Rays once lapped the competition in defensive shifts, but other teams have since followed suit. Last season, Milwaukee drastically employed more shifts to help compensate for sub-par defensive players. Part of Pittsburgh’s success this season comes from successful shifts, as they currently lead all of baseball in converting groundballs into outs as ESPN’s Mark Simon shows with data from ESPN Stats & Info:

defense

Of course the shifts aren’t the only factor. The Rays happen to have one of the highest infield defensive talent levels in the majors. Evan Longoria, Yunel Escobar, and James Loney are among the best at their positions, and the collection of second basemen aren’t too shabby, either. Combine that talent with smart positioning and it’s no wonder the Rays have been the American League’s best team at converting groundballs into outs.



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