Giants

Why Kruk doesn't like MLB possibly banning defensive shifts

Giants

Major League Baseball announced Thursday that experimental rules will be used in the minor leagues for the 2021 season in hopes of eventually introducing some or all of them at the big league level.

One rule in particular, and one that appears to be the most talked-about, is the defensive shift. MLB announced that at the Double-A level, when defenses shift, all infielders must remain on the infield dirt. MLB also left open the possibility of requiring two infielders on each side of second base during the second half of the season.

Giants broadcast Mike Krukow believes the shift shouldn't be messed with because it’s a part of the game.

“I don’t like that rule because I think you let the shift dictate how the game is played,” Krukow said Thursday on KNBR. “What has happened now in baseball is you get hitters up there and it’s all about launch angle and shifts, and to me, that’s baseball -- adjustment. You adjust to who’s pitching, the type of stuff that he has -- if he’s a lowball guy with sink, if it’s a highball guy with a fastball … you adjust.”

The defensive shift rule, which will be used across all Double-A divisions, from MLB states as follows: "The defensive team must have a minimum of four players on the infield, each of whom must have both feet completely in front of the outer boundary of the infield dirt. Depending on the preliminary results of this experimental rule change, MLB may require two infielders to be positioned entirely on each side of second base in the second half of the Double-A season. These restrictions on defensive positioning are intended to increase the batting average on balls in play." 

 

“Now the stick a shift like that, well learn to hit the ball the other way away from the shift,” Krukow added. “That’s traditionally how baseball players change, so now all of a sudden you’re going to say, ‘OK now you can’t have the shift, you can’t have the guy go out in the grass.’

“I don’t like that. I think the essence of baseball is the ability to adjust -- adjustment is everything.”

Giants catcher Buster Posey disagrees, strongly.

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“It’s easier said than done to just punch something to the left side,” Posey said last month. “These guys are throwing 100 and they’re throwing it in spots that make it hard to do that. I always think about Brandon Crawford. If you’ve got Brandon Crawford playing a traditional position at shortstop, and a hard ground ball is hit up the middle, he’s got an opportunity now to make a diving play and show off his arm, but instead, he’s already standing there, so it’s a routine ground ball and it’s not exciting.”

It appears Posey agrees with what MLB is trying to implement, but you have to respect the old-school thoughts from Krukow.