If you've watched the Boston Red Sox play this season, chances are you've seen their pitchers take their caps off frequently and look into them.
For a while, fans were left wondering as to what was the Sox were hiding in their hats. But now, thanks to pitching coach Dana LeVangie, curious fans have their answers.
"It's a sign system," LeVangie said per WEEI's Rob Bradford. "Multiple, multiple, multiple options to go to. Changing constantly. Just trying to stay one step ahead."
In an era where teams are as paranoid as ever about sign-stealing, having this system in place makes sense. And as LeVengie would go on to say, it allows the pitchers to focus elsewhere and worry less about memorizing several sign combinations.
"Too many times catchers and pitchers were crossing each other up," LeVangie said per Bradford. "We want to focus more on pitch execution rather than putting time, energy and effort into the system. We value it big-time, but we want to make it so it’s not so complicated that it is taking away from the pitches."
The strategy also could have been put into effect to help the team avoid wild pitches, which have been an issue for the Sox. Their 57 wild pitches rank second in the MLB to only the Los Angeles Dodgers (72). Given the number of relief pitchers and spot starters the Red Sox have shuffled into the lineup this year, these numbers aren't surprising.
It makes sense that the Red Sox would want to try to avoid these simple cross-ups that often occur when signs are changing so frequently. We'll see if this technique has a positive impact on them over the course of the next couple of months.
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