Yoan Moncada of the Chicago White Sox will love to see the shift go away.
Moncada’s 2021 season was productive at the plate. Moncada drew 84 walks. He also set a career-high in OPS with a .375 OPS and had the third-highest total in the American League. Moncada’s .375 OPS also placed him .050 points above the MLB average. However, his batting average was .263.
The shift was used against Yoan Moncada in 311 of his 461 at-bats. At 67.5 percent, defenses shifted against Moncada the fourth most of any player on the 2021 White Sox. Ahead of him was Brian Goodwin who had the shift applied to him 76.8 percent of the time.
Defenses hardly ever shifted against Moncada when he batted from the right-hand side. As a switch hitter, the majority of his power comes from the left-hand side. Opposing defenses clearly took this into account, shifting 67.5 percent of his left-handed at-bats and only 0.7 percent of his right-handed at-bats.
His wOBA was .380 when the shift was applied on the left-hand side. In his small sample size of having the shift applied when he was batting right-handed, his wOBA was .879. Meanwhile, when the shift was not applied his wOBA was .314 and .319.
Moncada ranked in the 91st percentile in max exit velocity. His average exit velocity was 91 mph which suggests he should have had a few more hits in 2021. His expected batting average was also the second-highest on the team.
Without the shift, expect Moncada’s average to return to its 2019 form. He batted .315 that season, his best offensive season to date. It’s no coincidence that defenses only had the shift on during 11 percent of his at-bats.