All Forums > SimLeague Baseball > MLB > Bunting against the shift
6/26/2013 11:12 PM
Why the hell doesn't this happen more often? Chris Davis struck out tonight leading off the 9th, at home, in a one-run game. He had the whole left side of the infield wide open. I realize he's Chris Davis, but he still gets out 67% of the time. Why not take a 95% chance at getting the tying run on base?

Guys like Luke Scott, David Ortiz, etc. I realize some of them are really good hitters regardless, but why not fight the shift by taking the free base every now and then and giving your team a sure baserunner?
6/26/2013 11:18 PM
I agree with you. The only argument against this I can think of that makes sense is simply that they are not good bunters. But even if he has a 50-50 shot at doing it, it's still worth it. And then the infield will ultimately move closer to where it should be, and that will help him in the long run.
6/26/2013 11:26 PM
If he's a horrible bunter, all he has to do is angle his bat into foul territory up 3rd. The only real danger is that he bunts it back to the pitcher, so angle away from that. Guys practice bunting enough to give it at least one shot. In the NL, that would be a no brainer, but AL teams are consumed with looking like AL teams all the time, it seems. Gotta go out in the blaze of glory.
6/26/2013 11:49 PM
I have thought for a long time that guys who draw big shifts, particularly lefties who draw big shifts, should work on their bunting.  Teixeira did some of that the past few years, not often but just enough to put the thought in your head as a defender or defensive coach.  It certainly can't hurt.  That was always my basic strategy in slow-pitch softball to bat for a huge average - bloop the ball over the first baseman's head a few teams until he starts backing up, then chop it down the first base line and run it out until he moves back in.  At the end of the day the defense has to choose what it's going to take away from you, 8 guys can't cover the whole field.  In a big shift they're neglecting a HUGE portion of that field, and you're playing right into their hands not utilizing it.
6/27/2013 8:06 AM
First, start with they're horrible bunters.    That's probably a gimme.   If you watched any of the CWS, you'd know a lot of players you'd think could bunt can't.  And you know college coaches make them practice it. 
Second, the pitchers are pitching into the shift not away from it.   So now you have a bad bunter trying to bunt a pitch(inner third) that's difficult to bunt the other way. 
Third, the batter can't give away the bunt or the pitcher/defense can react.  Now you have a bad bunter trying to bunt a pitch that's difficult to bunt the other way at the very last moment.  It's a recipe for failure.

Finally, you can't compare bunting against a Major League pitcher to your Little League or slow pitch softball experience.  It's not comparable.  LL pitchers are just trying to get it somewhere near the plate and SPS pitchers are throwing it underhanded at 23 MPH.


And, as for Chris Davis swinging away in a 1  run game, are you really suggesting he should be bunting?  I've heard he hits a few homers and, with one swing, he ties the game.   If he bunts for a single, he'll need a couple more hits to score.   So, essentially, the O's have to hit at least .500 for the rest of the inning.   How many teams have a .500 average?
6/27/2013 10:23 AM
Look at the odds, Mike. He gets a hit 33% of the time and a HR 10-11% of the time. If he can get that bunt down, he can walk to first. Why not take a shot at it? In case you didn't notice, Davis also tends to strike out more than he homers (like he did last night). If he gets on, Wieters sacrifices him to second, then all you need is a single from Hardy or McLouth (a pretty decent bet).

I'm not bashing Davis - the guy is a monster. But in that situation, at home, I think you take at least one shot at the free baserunner.

6/27/2013 10:27 AM
If Chris Davis lines a single into right field, you're happy with that, right?  You're not saying "damn, I wish he homered."  So if he can bunt for a hit, do it.
6/27/2013 10:38 AM
First, he probably can't bunt for a hit(or he'd have done it before when one swing of the bat doesn't tie the game).  Second, if he misses his bunt attempt(strike or foul), he now has two swings and a better chance of striking out.   Third, Weiters now has to do something.  Most of all, not hit into a DP.  He does that with regularity.   Fourth, if Weiters doesn't hit into a DP and actually moves him to 2nd, you now need another batter to get the job done.

Davis swinging away makes sense.   Let Bip Roberts bunt for a hit.   Let your bashers bash when one swing ties the game.   That's just good baseball. 
6/27/2013 11:11 AM
"he probably can't bunt for a hit" - if that's true, than so be it.  I thought giving some of these guys a 50-50 shot at it was being mean to them.  Kinda sad, but ok.  I was also thinking he'd have 2 chances to bunt.  

I think the idea was that Weiters would bunt him over after he was on first.

Again, nobody's upset if Davis lines a single into right, so if he does know how to bunt, a pretty much guaranteed single makes a lot of sense.
6/27/2013 11:14 AM
So now you're bunting Davis and Weiters?
6/27/2013 11:15 AM
FWIW, if you think the Papis, Davis', Texieras, Dunns of the world could get a hit 50% of the time if they bunted, don't you think they would?
6/27/2013 11:18 AM
No, I don't. 1) as was mentioned previously, it's a pride issue. most of those guys don't want to make their living off of singles, and 2) early in the game it makes sense to swing away. I'm not advocating Davis do it any other time, but when it's do-or-die and one run is the difference between playing on or going home, I think you take the (near) guaranteed baserunner.
6/27/2013 11:19 AM
Posted by MikeT23 on 6/27/2013 11:14:00 AM (view original):
So now you're bunting Davis and Weiters?
The Wieters bunt is a non-issue. It's not really a risk play. He knows how to bunt and it's a sacrifice situation. You don't need the same quality of bunt you'd need from Davis.
6/27/2013 11:19 AM
I don't think they would, no.  That's why I'm arguing this.
6/27/2013 11:20 AM
Posted by MikeT23 on 6/27/2013 11:14:00 AM (view original):
So now you're bunting Davis and Weiters?
Yes. And?
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