Major League Baseball announced Friday that the joint competition committee officially approved three new rules to be instituted for the 2023 season. Arguably the most notable of these rule changes is there will be new limits on defensive shifts.
This news will bring a smile to the faces of hitters across baseball, especially those lefty pull hitters. San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson fits that mold, and he got brutally honest about hitting against shifts when he heard of Friday's news.
MLB Shift Rules
Short and simple, Pederson explained that "the shift sucks," according to team insider Susan Slusser. Slusser went on to explain Pederson is "all in favor" of these new rules.
Diving into the statistics shows exactly why Pederson is not a big fan of hitting against the shift. According to Baseball Savant, Pederson is on pace to finish his second straight campaign with 300 or more plate appearances against the shift. He's been shifted in nearly 80% of his plate appearances,
These defensive changes usually consist of three infielders on the right side, and while his wOBA (weighted on-base average) is respectable in 2022 at .386, that number fell to just .295 a year ago.
Per the MLB, the new shift rules will consist of four parts. Four infielders must begin a pitch with their cleats on the infield dirt with at least two players on either side of the second base. Additionally, infielders may not switch sides but rather play their natural positions. The league explained if infielders are not aligned properly, the batting team can choose an automatic ball or the result of the play.
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