1 Mets player who will benefits most from the banned shift in 2023

JOSUE DE JESUS
Eduardo Escobar - Mets
Eduardo Escobar - Mets / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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Last September, Major League Baseball banned the shift as part of a set of rules with immediate effect as soon as the 2023 season begins. This new rule limiting defensive shifting will also have a major impact on New York Mets hitters and pitchers.

This topic has led to countless debates, especially due to the relationship between its implementation and the drop in the league batting average in recent years. According to Statcast data the league batting average dropped from .255 in 2017 when the shift was used only 12.1% of the time to .243 AVG in 2022 when the shift was used 33.6%.

Now limiting the radical use of this defensive positioning can bring some positive effects on certain players. This leads us to analyze who within the New York Mets lineup can benefit the most from this measure.

Eduardo Escobar would be the most benefited Mets player from the banned shift.

Escobar is coming off a season where he hit .240/.295/.430/.796 with 20 HR and 69 RBI in 592 PA. Even tough his wRC+ was just the same of 2021 with 106, the Mets were expecting more when they decided to offering him the 2-year, $20 million contract.

Digging a little into the data offered by Statcast, it is observed that Escobar was the Mets starting player who saw the most pitches against the shift with 68.1%. Overall, the Venezuelan born hit for a .234 BA, a .397 SLG and a .300 wOBA against the shift vs. a .251 BA, .491 SLG and a .332 wOBA against no shift alignment.

But an even more interesting fact is that it has been suggested that Escobar should only play against right-handed pitchers because he hit for them a .263 batting average last season, against a mere .231 average for left-handed pitchers.

He has been a better hitter from the right side of the plate in his carrer, however, this marked difference between the two batting averages may be due, in part, to the fact that Escobar was shifted in 77.4% of the pitches he saw batting left-handed against only 25% right-handed.

Although it is true that predicting what could happen with this defensive alignment limitation on Escobar is not so accurate due to the number of observations found, it is also relevant to highlight that from 2019 to date Escobar has had to hit 70% of the pitches he has seen against the shift, inducing a BA in the last four years of .239 with an SLG of .446 while without the shift he has managed to hit an average of .270 and an SLG of .484 in the same period of time.

Now that the signing of Carlos Correa did not work out and observing these data, it is necessary to grant a vote of confidence in Escobar and see how his offensive begins in 2023. In any case, we can expect better results from him than those obtained this past season.

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