With the defensive shifts getting a slight tweak at the Double-A level in the minor leagues this season, and perhaps eventually in MLB, that could create more excitement for fans who might see more incredible defensive plays.
At least that’s the hope. It also could bring a little more relief toward left-handed hitters, who see some of the most extreme defensive alignments.
A’s infield prospect Logan Davidson, a switch-hitter, said there could be a disadvantage toward lefties when it comes to the shift.
“Maybe a little bit,” Davidson said Saturday. “We work on trying to stay out of the shift and hit balls the other way on the ground. I read some stuff like they’re going to work on in the minors this year, there’s certain restrictions on where people can go and stuff like that so that’ll be interesting to see.
“If they shift you right-handed, they could only go so far. I guess in a sense it’s a little more difficult to hit from the left side."
The A’s 2019 first-round draft pick would just be able to switch to the other side of the plate prior to some of the scenarios, right? Well -- yes, but most players have a different approach at the plate if they’re switch-hitters. But not Jed Lowrie, who is back for a third tour of duty with the A's.
And as far as barrel control goes, Davidson says the veteran infielder might be one of the best he has ever seen. Lowrie has the ability to mirror his swing from both sides of the plate.
“As a switch-hitter myself, that’s pretty hard to do,” Davidson said.
In 2019 in Low-A, Davidson slashed .239/.345/.332 with four home runs and 12 RBI in 54 games.
As far as who he emulates in his approach to the plate, Davidson splits them up. He’s a Corey Seager for his lefty approach and Nolan Arenado or Mike Trout from the right-handed side.
He’s been compared to Seager before by A’s scouting director Eric Kubota. Kubota said Davidson and Seager share the same “offensive profile, shortstop who can impact the game with his bat and glove.”
Double-A affiliates look to implement a defensive positioning rule in 2021 which says the infield must have at least four players on the infield with both feet completely in front of the outer boundary of the outfield dirt. If it goes well, it’s possible MLB might require two infielders to be positioned entirely on each side of the base in the second half of the Double-A season.
Should be an interesting experiment.