JABO: When a Good Idea Goes Wrong

One of the most notable changes in baseball over the last few years has been the increased emphasis on defensive positioning. The rise of data has helped coaches identify where the ball is likely going to go before it goes there, and teams have put a lot of effort into making sure they have a defender in the right place at the right time.

Which is why the Rangers first run against David Price yesterday was a little jarring. You can watch the play, which resulted in a Delino Deshields RBI single, in the highlight below.

Ryan Goins — one of the best defensive second baseman in baseball, it should be said — is left standing helplessly near the second base bag as the ball hit by Deshields rolls into the outfield, right past the area where a second baseman is normally positioned. Here’s an image of his position as the ball passed by him.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 11.02.57 PM

According to John Lott of the National Post, the Blue Jays were running a “back-pick” on this play, in which Goins would sneak over to the second base bag after the pitch was delivered in order to receive a throw down from catcher Russell Martin, hoping to catch the runner — Rougned Odor, in this case — off the bag for an out. And there is some merit to trying to take advantage of Odor’s baserunning, because in his brief Major League career, he’s been pretty terrible at it.

Read the rest at Just A Bit Outside.





Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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