A slate of experimental rules is set to be tested in the minor leagues next season. Among them is banning the shift. This change comes from the ashes of the MLB lockout in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. How will it affect the Chicago White Sox?
The shift has been a hot-button issue for years. Teams have been doing it since Ted Williams was playing, yet he still managed to hit .406 in 1941.
Today’s game is defined by launch angles and home runs so the art of hitting to the opposite field is scarce. Hitters like Joey Gallo have been tormented by the shift.
In the MLB’s experimental new rule, teams must have at least four players on the infield. Two of those infielders are required to be on either side of second base. It will be implemented in Low-A, High-A, Double-A levels for the 2022 season. In 2021 Double-A rules required all infielders to be on the infield dirt.
The goal is to get more balls in play and generate more offensive excitement. The new rule is expected to be implemented in the MLB in 2023. It will also force teams to find more athletic infielders. Middle infielders will be required to cover a lot more ground now that they can’t sit in shallow right field surrounded by three other teammates.
Another underrated aspect of banning the shift is the impact it will have on pitchers. When all the defenders are stacked up on the right side of the infield against a lefty, the pitcher only has one choice. Pepper the inside portion of the strike zone. Specifically hard and in. Now, pitchers will be forced to use all four quadrants again.
There are some Chicago White Sox players that could do without the shift.
This change should also be very beneficial to a few hitters on the Chicago White Sox who have struggled because of it in the past. Here are three hitters on the White Sox who will benefit the most from this change: