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The Jays travel to Hotlanta to take on a pretty good Braves team. Making matters more difficult, Toronto arguably gets the Braves three best starters, while the bluebirds will run out arguably their three worst (by ERA at least). It's a rematch of the 1992 World Series - let's hope that the winners are once again from the true north strong and free. Advance Scout, activate!

Playing the role of the big three for Atlanta will be Brandon Beachy, Tommy Hanson and Tim Hudson. Beachy's and Hanson's seasons could actually be termed slightly disappointing, though neither is bad, and Beachy is actually a leading contender for the NL Cy Young award. Hudson turns 37 in a month, and continues to defy age. The Braves will need it, because like all ten East teams they've been dealt a pretty brutal interleague slate. After facing the Jays they get the Yankees at home followed by the Orioles, then they make a return trip to the Bronx and finish off in Fenway. So they'll be looking to do some damage against the Jays, and come in hot, winners of four straight.

Friday: Kyle Drabek vs. Brandon Beachy

Leading things off will be Brandon Beachy, who reminds me a bit of our own Brandon Morrow, at least superficially. Beachy doesn't throw especially hard - he barely touched 93 in his last start, and normally works around 91, but he strikes out a ton of batters, and has very good control, something that Morrow heretofore lacked. Last year Atlanta Brandon actually struck out a higher percentage of batters than Toronto Brandon, and this year both are striking out fewer batters but going deeper into games. Anyway, amongst pitchers that threw 100 innings last year, Beachy struck the highest percentage in the majors (28.6% - Morrow was 6th) and had the highest swinging strike percentage (11.8%; Morrow was 3rd). Coupled with a low walk rate, Beachy was one of the better pitchers in the majors in 2011, with a 3.68 ERA and 3.19 FIP in 141.2 innings. Despite this he received relatively little hype. This year Beachy's FIP has risen slightly to 3.34, but his ERA has dropped to majors-leading 1.87 in 72.1 innings - he's allowed more than 2 earned runs once so far. This has been in large part due to a 100 point drop in BABIP, and a low HR/FB%, because Beachy's K-rate has fallen from an otherworldly 28.6% to a still good 20.1%, while his BB% has basically stayed constant at close to 8%. Instead Beachy is getting by far the most ground balls of his career - 42% - and has dropped his line drive rate considerably. As a result, he's getting fewer swinging strikes - a more normal 7.9% of the time. On the whole, these changes aren't necessarily positive, but Beachy may be able to trade some dominance for more innings, and be a more valuable pitcher overall. We'll see.

Beachy throws a pretty straight but very good four-seam fastball, again from about 89-93, and relies heavily on his 81 MPH slider a lot when he gets to two strikes. He'll throw his curve and his change about 10% of the time each, The change is deployed more against lefties, and they are both pretty decent offerings, though the curve is one of the slowest in the majors, at 72 MPH. Really though the bread and butter is the fastball, which is one of the best in the majors. If you couldn't tell, I really like Beachy, and think he has a chance to be very good. The funny thing about him and his success is that he  wasn't actually drafted out of college, and instead signed as a minor league free agent. He didn't exactly light up the minors, and he started out as a reliever before being converted to a starter in his second year, in AA, where he struck out 100 batters in 73.2 innings, but still didn't really draw notice - sort of a Joel Carreno type of deal. He was a September call-up in 2010, after being drafted in 2008, and has constantly succeeded since then since being continually discounted. Well, Jays fans, you are officially on notice for tonight.

Saturday: Drew Hutchison v. Tommy Hanson

Hanson stands in contrast to Beachy amongst Braves pitchers. Hanson was a draft-and-follow out of high school who signed after being drafted in the 22nd round; by the time he reached AA he was considered a top prospect, both in the Braves system and baseball, and threw harder than Beachy. The same age as Beachy, Hanson came up a year and half earlier and succeeded immediately. However, he has declined slightly in three consecutive years, and is currently experiencing the worst season of his career. Much of this is probably chalked up to a previous injury. Hanson was around 92-93 when he broke into the big leagues, but sat around 91 last year and 89-90 this year. He missed the last two months of 2011 with a shoulder ligament problem (after a period of sustained awfulness), and doesn't seem to have fully recovered. He's striking out fewer batters this year (although he's still at a good rate, after being top-5 last year) and walking slightly more. Hanson throws a (now) 90 MPH fastball, coupled with a heavily used and extremely good slider around 82 and a really slow curveball, again around 72. He might throw 2 change ups a game.

Sunday: Ricky Romero v. Tim Hudson

Tim Hudson never threw especially hard, instead relying on a heavy sinking fastball, so "Huddy's" continued success shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Except for a random season in 2004, Hudson is striking out the fewest batters of his career, coupled with a walk rate a couple of ticks below his career average. He's only getting 57.4% of his outs on the ground, compared to several banner years between 59-64%, but it seems to still be doing the trick (it is in fact a very good number, on its own). Hudson walks 2.5/9 IP and has allowed 1 home run in 54 innings, so you basically have to beat him by stringing a bunch of hits together, which can be easier said than done. Pay attention, Henderson Alvarez. Hudson missed the first couple games of the season, but as described, seems to have recovered just fine. To augment his sinker, Hudson relies heavily on a cutter that he often throws with two strikes. The curve (high-70s) and splitter (around 80) are both used more frequently against lefties. Career Jose Bautista is 3/11, EE 3/12, Colby Rasmus 5/11 and Omar Vizquel 11/35.


Michael Bourn CF
Martin Prado 3B
Brian McCann C
Dan Uggla 2B
Freddie Freeman 1B
Jason Heyward RF
Andrelton Simmons SS
Jose Constanza LF

The pitcher hits either 8th or 9th, depending on who's pitching I believe; The Dude (Eric Hinske) might start at first on Friday as Freddie Freeman took a ball off the finger on Wednesday, though x-rays were negative, while Matt Diaz will likely spell Constanza against Romero.

Former Jay minor-leaguer Tyler Pastornicky has been sent down after starting the season as the Braves shortstop. He's been replaced by top prospect Andrelton Simmons, whose defense is rated more highly than our own Adeiny Hechavarria. Simmons has a decent bat but lacks power, but with his defense at short figures to stick for a while... Brian McCann is back in the lineup after missing a game with a leg contusion. McCann is consistently one of the best catchers in baseball, because he is a good hitter and because he basically plays more than every other catcher, sitting a couple of times a month. He's one of four catchers to play 400 games between 2009-2011, and is a close second to Joe Mauer in WAR during that time period (and they're breaking away from the pack). He is having a bit of a down season, so far.  The indefatigable Chipper Jones has been on the 15-day DL, also with a leg contusion, and begins a rehab assignment tonight. In theory he could be up as soon as Sunday's game... Martin Prado has an OBP just shy of .400 and is having quite a lovely season. He was the starting left fielder, but with Chipper Jones out and alternate third baseman Juan Francisco nursing a hamstring injury, he's been manning the hot corner. How Bautistian...Jason Heyward had a wOBA of .360 in April, .302 in May, and now .480 in June (albeit in 19 AB)... I rarely mention bullpens, but it's worth pointing out that Craig Kimbrel has 34 strikeouts in 21 innings, and a FIP of almost 1, which I basically thought was impossible... Some enterprising soul started selling "Atlanta Barves" shirts and donating the profits to charity, but quickly got shut down by MLB. I would have bought one.

Infirmary: Chipper (3B) has a leg contusion and could be back as soon as Sunday. Peter Moylan (P) and Robert Fish (P) are both TBD in terms of returning, while Arodys Vizcaino (P) is out for the year with TJ.

Song to Advance Scout By: It seems fitting, so here's self-proclaimed King of the South T.I. with his 2009 hit, Whatever You Like. I would like for the Jays to beat the Braves!

Chart: Chart! Shout out to Fangraphs.

Advance Scout: Braves, June 8-10 | 46 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
85bluejay - Friday, June 08 2012 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#258202) #
The Jays mentioned that they hired an advance scout in part to help their miserable interleague performance - let's see if there's a payoff  
92-93 - Friday, June 08 2012 @ 06:15 PM EDT (#258220) #
I always enjoy reading these, Anders.

Hopefully KJ & Yunel will be motivated to stick it to the club that gave up on them.
Anders - Friday, June 08 2012 @ 07:04 PM EDT (#258227) #
Important Addendum: Pitcher hitting stats

Drabek: 0/0
Hutchison: 0/0
Romero: 1/16, 9 K's, 2 RBI

sam - Friday, June 08 2012 @ 08:44 PM EDT (#258230) #
The more and more I watch of Drabek, the more I think he should not be pitching in the Major Leagues at the moment. You cannot have guys who simply cannot throw strikes pitching in the big leagues.
scottt - Friday, June 08 2012 @ 09:42 PM EDT (#258234) #
Beachy couldn't throw strikes either.

I am more concerned about the pen then about Drabek.
ayjackson - Friday, June 08 2012 @ 11:31 PM EDT (#258235) #
Second straight walkoff loss in which JPA played a leading role.
BlueJayWay - Friday, June 08 2012 @ 11:37 PM EDT (#258236) #
Well, it's a series in a NL park, so you have to assume the Jays will lose the series.  That's pretty much a given.  Will it be a sweep?  Probably.
Anders - Friday, June 08 2012 @ 11:41 PM EDT (#258237) #
I don't know if Drabek should be in the bigs at this point - is his last 7 starts he has a 20/30 K/BB and has allowed 25 runs in 37 innings.
92-93 - Friday, June 08 2012 @ 11:44 PM EDT (#258239) #
Yet another loss while Casey Janssen sits on the bench, but don't you dare suggest Farrell is a slave to the save.
Beyonder - Friday, June 08 2012 @ 11:52 PM EDT (#258240) #
Re: Drabek, unless you think Laffey or Chavez or any other of the cannon fodder at AAA can outperform him, we just don't have a replacement. Even if you think they would be a marginal improvement, I don't think it would be worth the damage it would do to Drabek to send him down again. I think we need to be prepared to let him scuffle along in hopes that he recovers his early(er) season form.
Beyonder - Friday, June 08 2012 @ 11:55 PM EDT (#258241) #
Can't blame this one on bullpen management. Cordero was victimized by a squhits single and JP Arencibia.
hypobole - Friday, June 08 2012 @ 11:58 PM EDT (#258242) #
"Yet another loss while Casey Janssen sits on the bench, but don't you dare suggest Farrell is a slave to the save."

In a day or two Farrell will use Janssen in a blowout win or loss because "he needs work".
Thomas - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 12:17 AM EDT (#258243) #
Can't blame this one on bullpen management. Cordero was victimized by a squhits single and JP Arencibia.

That was a legitimate double (at least with Davis playing left). Whether Heyward would have scored if Arencibia hadn't thrown the ball away is anyone's guess, but they would have still had two shots to score him with a single to the outfield.

Magpie - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 12:34 AM EDT (#258245) #
That was a legitimate double (at least with Davis playing left).

Not sure what you're referring to there.

I don't think - at least I sure hope not! - that anyone is suggesting that Farrell isn't a Slave to the Save. Of course he is. He's a major league manager, they're all slaves to the save. It's going to be very, very difficult for anyone to turn that boat around. Very specific circumstances will be required for someone to even make the attempt. And of course when someone eventually tries to do things differently - well, it has to work. Right away. Or everyone will be scared off for another ten years otr so...
scottt - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 06:05 AM EDT (#258246) #
Janssen is not really the closer. He's just holding the fort. He could throw 2 innings and hope for the win.

Beachy could not get an out in the 6th. It would have been better not to send Drabek back after 95 pitches.

One of those close games.
Beyonder - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 07:21 AM EDT (#258247) #
"That was a legitimate double". Think you're thinking of the earlier hit by Heyward (not the infield single) in the 10th off Cordero). Tough to fault Cordero for a single thing that happened that inning.
ayjackson - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 08:05 AM EDT (#258248) #

Whether Heyward would have scored if Arencibia hadn't thrown the ball away is anyone's guess, but they would have still had two shots to score him with a single to the outfield

Actually, I think they get Heyward stealing if Arencibia doesn't bobble.  It's not just a case of whether he would have scored from third without the throwing error.

greenfrog - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 10:49 AM EDT (#258252) #
The Jays seem to lose a lot of winnable games through blunders and poor execution (by hitters, fielders and pitchers).
Thomas - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 11:05 AM EDT (#258253) #
You're right, I was thinking of the earlier hit.
CeeBee - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 11:39 AM EDT (#258256) #
Right now it seems that if it wasn't for bad luck the Jays would have no luck at all. Cordero really didn't pitch that bad but I still would rather have seen Jansen in the 9th. The balk call on Chad Beck was a real head scratcher. Seems like a silly rule that the manager can't even go on the field to ask the ump why he made the call. On Cordero the only reason I can come up with as to why Farrell is running him out there so much is that AA is planning to put together a possible trade and hopes Cordero will start pitching good enough to have some value. Otherwise it makes no sense unless there are a couple of nagging injuries in the pen that are not being disclosed.
92-93 - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#258263) #
Maybe we'd know a little more about the balk call if there was any media covering the Jays in Atlanta. Pathetic.
Gerry - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#258264) #
The Jays have once again lost Danny Farquhar to the A's on a waiver claim.
Magpie - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 04:30 PM EDT (#258265) #
Maybe we'd know a little more about the balk call if there was any media covering the Jays in Atlanta. Pathetic.

Brendan Kennedy in today's Star discusses it a bit. Farrell just says tersely that it wasn't a balk, it's not clear which umpire made the call, and:

The league has discussed a rule change to make what Beck did a balk, with MLB executives and umpires in favour and the players still in consideration. But nothing would take effect until next season.
Magpie - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#258266) #
And Bob Elliott of the Sun (also from Atlanta) makes the same points about a discussed upcoming rule change. It was vetoed by the union, who want to discuss it further. Elliott adds that it was the first base umpire who yelled "Balk," and the third base umpire who told a bewildered Beck ("I've probably done that 3,000 times in my career") that his foot broke the pane.
Anders - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 05:18 PM EDT (#258269) #
Hudson scratched, Julio Teheran to start Sunday.

Thanks for ruining the Advance Scout, Atlanta.

sam - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 05:56 PM EDT (#258272) #
Anders thank for these. I might be a Farrell apologist as I think he's the right guy for this group of players, but I do agree that his bullpen handling has been questionable at times and would like to see him a bit more on the field questioning some calls. I also think that at some point the hammer has got to come down on this team. I believe the team is 3-11 in one-run ballgames and the overall execution of plays has been sub-par for a major league baseball club. Coupled with some individuals who are prone to blunders (Lawrie, Arencibia), have shown unbecoming tendencies (Bautista and Romero), as well as those who have failed to make the necessary adjustments and improvements in their game (Drabek), something does have to give.
Magpie - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 06:41 PM EDT (#258273) #
would like to see him a bit more on the field questioning some calls.

It's simply not permitted to question a balk call, of course. It's like balls and strikes, just opening your mouth is an automatic ejection. Farrell seems to have been careful when raising the topic of last night's balk with the umpires today, not wanting to get evicted from today's game before it began. Otherwise - I dunno. Have there been any occasions when he should have been asking the umpires for an explanation and didn't do it?
sam - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 06:43 PM EDT (#258274) #
I know this may sound blasphemous to most here, but Brett Lawrie has not been very good this year and from watching him hit this year there are major issues with the swing and approach that do not spell well for long term success. I'm glad Gregg Zaun has started to bring some of these issues up in his in-game commentary.

Defensively he is excellent on the plays he shouldn't be making, but has really struggled with the routine play. I think with increased repetition he'll start to improve on those plays, but he makes his fair share of errors. He is second in all of baseball with eight errors and has one of the lower fielding percentages in all baseball. I believe the advanced defensive metrics suggest he's an excellent third basemen. I have faith that in time he will be an excellent third baseman, but future gold gloves I'm not too sure.

Offensively he is a slap hitter. If you watch him swing, he hitches his hands before he lets go on the baseball. As a result, it slows his bat down, saps his power, and prevents him making adjustments on breaking balls. At the moment all he can handle are outside fastballs which he throws his hands at to right field. So there is a major mechanical flaw in the swing, but more worrying, he doesn't seem to have much feel for the game and what pitchers are doing to him. On the base-paths running into outs is an example, but at the plate he doesn't seem to know when to go all out on a pitch or when they might be pitching around him with breaking stuff. His instincts for the game overall are suspect. I know people speak of him as a prospect on par with Mike Trout or Bryce Harper, but I don't see it.
sam - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 06:49 PM EDT (#258275) #
Magpie, in that situation in particular, a manager can come out of the dugout and ask for clarification of the play. You can question what the umpire saw and say I disagree with you. Where the umpires draw the line is when they get shown up or consistent questioning of their judgement. The amount of confusion over that play last night needs to be questioned. There was a certain amount of what did I do wrong there that needs to be clarified. Umpires need to know their calls are being scrutinized in game in the public eye.
BlueJayWay - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 07:01 PM EDT (#258276) #
I know people speak of him as a prospect on par with Mike Trout or Bryce Harper, but I don't see it.

I haven't heard do that at all.

But there is something different about his swing this year.  So many fastballs that he should be hammering he's just fouling back or getting beat on.  He has a loopy, inside-out swing.  He doesn't have near the driving power he did last year.  I don't know what's up.
sam - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 07:04 PM EDT (#258277) #
BlueJayWay, I've been watching some of the other broadcasts recently and they've all mentioned that in talking to Jays people they think Lawrie is on-par with those guys. Also, see my analysis why he's not been that good.
Mike Green - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 07:25 PM EDT (#258279) #
Lawrie seems to me to be pressing.  At this point, he's not a prospect, but a young major league player getting his first taste of (slight) adversity.  I am not the least bit worried about it. 
Kasi - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 08:01 PM EDT (#258281) #
Hitting he'll get around to fixing as time goes on. He's just not driving the ball right now.

Defensively he's by metrics the best 3b in baseball by a very wide margin. Number of errors has never been a good statistic of how good defensively a player is. Like you said he has huge range and can make many plays that other 3b would let go by him for hits. Some of those turn into errors, but I'd rather him have an error on a play he got to and missed where on most any other player it would have been a single/double with no errors. I feel very much that gold gloves will come in his future. Right now his statistical numbers are immense, as in off to nearly the best start of any 3b in defense.
hypobole - Saturday, June 09 2012 @ 09:33 PM EDT (#258285) #
"Defensively he's by metrics the best 3b in baseball by a very wide margin."

Which metrics? The ones that say he's exceptional because he makes plays in right field while manning 3rd base? FanGraphs metrics, which don't include his plays in right field, place him 2nd among all 3rd basemen, behind Moustakas. This is still outstanding, but not "best 3b in baseball by a very wide margin".
Mike Green - Sunday, June 10 2012 @ 09:11 AM EDT (#258292) #
If you run a fangraphs fielding leaderboard for third basemen 2011-12 with a minimum of 800 innings, you will see that Lawrie blows away the competition in DRS and easily leads in UZR/150.  It's true that you normally need 2 or 3 years statistics to provide something close to reliability. 
Kasi - Sunday, June 10 2012 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#258295) #
Mike is right. And sure Lawrie is being shifted. So is Eva Longoria out in Tampa, and he has no where near Lawrie's defensive numbers.

Yes some metrics do give him the bump for being shifted, but when Pena lays down two bunts in a game down the 3b line because of the shift, those numbers count against Lawrie too. On every defensive stat Baseball reference tracks, (range factors, TZR), Lawrie leads 3b by a wide margin.

The point is that Lawrie is already by most measures the best defensive 3b in baseball, and it is not even close. I would prefer him to drive the ball more. He has the bat speed and skills, but right now he's just pounding too many balls into the ground. They go for singles a lot of time because of his speed, but if he gets a bit more elevation those will turn into doubles and home runs.
Kasi - Sunday, June 10 2012 @ 02:45 PM EDT (#258297) #
Biggest problem we have now is still our starting pitching. Morrow is great, Hutchison is doing as well as can be expected, but Romero is pitching like a number 3 at best lately, and Alvarez is inconsistent and Drabek is a near guaranteed loss unless the offense bails him out.
scottt - Sunday, June 10 2012 @ 05:37 PM EDT (#258298) #
Drabek was the best of the 3 in this series, as far as run allowed.

He would not have needed much offense for the win, just someone to cover second on the stolen base against Beck which resulted in a Balk.

His peripherals are ugly, but his ERA+ is 96.

I don't like Cordero getting the day off. Pretty much guarantees to see him in the 8th tomorrow.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, June 10 2012 @ 06:22 PM EDT (#258299) #

What happened to Romero, injured or pulled before he gave up more runs?
Nice to see some consistent offence, is this the start of something good or just getting lucky?
And people say we don't need a Starter. That is true, however we need an ace. No one on this team is good enough to be the Ace.
Left Field, First Base and D.H. need to be solved - Big Bats preferably. E.E. can solve DH or 1B, but not both.
Unfortunately, until Santos returns, we won't know how much the Bullpen needs. Another Closer would be nice, but impractical.
Chuck - Sunday, June 10 2012 @ 07:37 PM EDT (#258301) #

His peripherals are ugly, but his ERA+ is 96.

His FIP is 5.47 vs. an ERA of just 4.43.

How has he been outperforming his FIP? His LD% and GB% are each second best on the team, virtually the same as Henderson Alvarez's. His OPS with men on base is only .647 (.204 BA) compared to .911 with no one on base.

He is walking 6 per 9 IP. His K/BB ratio is only 1.02. Only 54% of his pitches are strikes (Morrow 65%, Alvarez 65%, Hutchison 60%, Romero 59%). I don't know how much longer he can continue to walk such a tightrope. As good as his raw stuff is (his LD% and GB% talk to that), those weak peripherals have to catch up with him eventually.

hypobole - Sunday, June 10 2012 @ 08:19 PM EDT (#258304) #
And sure enough, after Cordero was used twice instead of Janssen with games on the line, Janssen ends up pitching in a blowout because he needed work.

As far as Lawrie's fielding metrics, it's ridiculous to quote a stat (DRS) that gives Lawrie credit for the dozen or so balls hit more or less right at him while he's playing rover in right field and penalizes him for the couple of balls that should have been turned into outs if he was playing a normal 3rd base position.
Kasi - Sunday, June 10 2012 @ 08:25 PM EDT (#258305) #
It's not just DRS. Sure that is the one he has a huge lead on partly due to the shifts. It's TZR, and all the range factors, and UZR/150 over the last 2 seasons like Mike said. He leads those all. He is by pretty much every statistical measure the best defensive 3b in the game.

And Drabek can't have success throwing 6b/9. I was at that Texas game. He basically had to walk guys or just throw it down the middle to get strikes, which then got launched for easy hits.
ayjackson - Sunday, June 10 2012 @ 08:25 PM EDT (#258306) #
Are the Jays the only team playing the shift?
Kasi - Sunday, June 10 2012 @ 08:38 PM EDT (#258308) #
Nope. They do it pretty extensively though. Tampa shifts more than they do, and have for several seasons.

Here is a list of the top 10/projected leaders for this year.

Top 10 Most Shifting Teams in 2012

Team 2010 2011 2012 Projected 2012 Total
Rays 221 216 171 695
Orioles 103 75 95 386
Indians 130 148 81 342
Jays 79 117 71 288
Royals 46 70 55 242
Yankees 56 53 54 228
Athletics 35 69 53 215
Brewers 22 170 46 194
Red Sox 87 41 42 177
Rangers 49 72 39 158
AWeb - Sunday, June 10 2012 @ 09:59 PM EDT (#258310) #
As I understand counting the shift, it's typically if a guy is positioned entirely out of his "wedge" - that is, Escobar isn't shifted unless he crossed the second base bag, same for Johnson. So the Blue Jays (and Rays, and a lot of teams) actually shift a lot more than some numbers reflect. There's a shift, and then there is aggressive positioning.

 I half expect teams to train the pitcher to cover firstbase all the time, so they can start shifting around another guy too. Since the detailed advanced scouting won't exist for the low minors (I assume teams don't have exact spray charts at every minor league level?), hitters won't have any chance to develop the skills necessary to combat the shift until it's too late. I'd consider MLB "too late", because most hitters will have found their best approach in the minors, and a wholesale change to "spray hitter" is almost unheard of. Guys pull the ball more, but I don't recall a guy suddenly discovering how to hit opposite field grounders in the majors. I mean, it's a pretty useless skill unless you're getting the big shift - who would want to learn how to hit grounders to standard positioning?  Maybe a slight advantage for the Gwynn/Ichiro type hitters as shifts continue to take over?
hypobole - Sunday, June 10 2012 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#258313) #
How many of these shifts by other teams involve moving the 3rd baseman into right field?
Advance Scout: Braves, June 8-10 | 46 comments | Create New Account
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