3 White Sox hitters that will benefit from banning the shift
Yasmani Grandal is one of the best hitters on the White Sox and could get better.
Yasmani Grandal seemed to be your typical three outcome player last season. The majority of his at-bats ended with a strikeout, walk, or a home run. Out of his 279 at-bats last season, 68 percent ended with one of those three outcomes.
Grandal had an impressive .420 OBP. He also led the White Sox in walks with 87 and was second on the team in home runs with 23 home runs. However, he had 82 strikeouts and a .240 batting average.
Grandal went on a blistering hot stretch near the end of the season. The 33-year-old catcher hit .500 in August and .320 in September. His average could have been higher had defenses not shifted on him so much.
The shift was put on Grandal in 263 at-bats. That is a whopping 94.3 percent. The majority of these shifts came when the switch-hitting Grandal was batting from the left side. Opposing defenses only put the shift on during 6.3 percent of Grandal’s right-handed. His wOBA was .394 with the shift and only .307 without it.
The evidence shows that Grandal’s average should have been much higher than .240. He hit the ball hard all season, oftentimes right into the teeth of the defense. His average exit velocity was in the top four percent of all MLB hitters. Meanwhile, his hard-hit percentage was in the 96th percentile and his max exit velocity was in the 83rd percentile.