Thursday, March 6, 2014

Excerpt: "The Coming Defensive Revolution"

"'Shifting' just begins to get at what optimal defensive alignments might be at any given point in a game. The important thing is to break from the idea of positions, as NFL and NBA teams have, and think in terms of where the play is most likely to be and how to put your defenders in place to make it. You have seven men and the offense has just one baseball. The more confidence teams have in how a given batter and a given pitcher will interact -- as OMGf/x (as Jay Jaffe dubbed it) collects that information -- the more confident they will be that any batted ball will likely end up in a certain area, and the more confident they will be in overloading that area with men and gloves. Eventually, we won't think in terms of shifts; we'll develop a whole new language for how teams choose to position their seven defenders, whether the football terminology I've borrowed here or something more colorful."