The Twins’ Slugging, Shifting Infield

Today’s Penning Bull is about the marquee matchup of the first weekend after the All-Star break, featuring the Twins and the Indians. Specifically, I hone in on the Twins’ infield, a fascinating unit that has been the difference-maker for them so far this year. Here’s a brief excerpt.

These days, there’s always a new analytical frontier in MLB, and one of this season’s is a dramatic league-wide increase in defensive shifts against right-handed batters. 

Prior to 2019, the only team documented to have shifted righties at least 25 percent of the time was the 2017 Rays, at 25.8 percent. This season, five teams—perhaps the exact five you would guess, and perhaps the five most analytically advanced organizations in the game—are at or above that 25-percent threshold. The Astros shift right-handers exactly that often. The Dodgers, Orioles, and Rays all shift somewhere between 32 and 37 percent of righties. The Twins have shifted those batters 42.3 percent of the time.

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