Top 3 Players To Benefit From Shift Ban In 2023

One of the biggest changes coming to major league baseball this season will be the banning of the shift. In recent years, teams had taken to shifting an extra fielder or two over to the right side of the infield and short right field to rob left-handed pull hitters of base hits.

How much thievery was there? In 2021, left-handed hitters saw a 30-point decrease in batting average on ground balls and short line drives when hit into the shift. Lefties, in fact, hit just .207 on balls on the ground into the shift. 

Below, we list the players most likely to see a huge benefit from the elimination of this dastardly defensive deed.

1. Corey Seager, Texas Rangers

The 3-time All-Star with the .287 lifetime average hit just .245 in 2022, and just a paltry .137 on balls hit into the shift. Seager hit more balls into the shift last season (179) than any other batter. The Rangers' shortstop has hit over .300 four times in his eight-year career; perhaps we can expect him to return to that level in 2023. 

2. Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros

Tucker hit the 3rd-most ground balls into the shift in 2022, with 170. And he batted just .165 on those balls. A great young talent who can only benefit immensely from the removal of the shift.

3. Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros

This is a scary thought. Although Alvarez wasn't among the league leaders in hitting ground balls into the shift in '22, with 128, the defense certainly knew how to play him when he did, as he only batted .167 on those balls. Normally, Alvarez will hit more solid line drives and home runs, which of course aren't affected by the shift. But just imagine if he's able to add that many more hits on ground balls. What could his .306 average soar to? 

Among other left-handed hitters who should benefit from the banning of the shift: Matt Olson, Charlie Blackmon, Josh Naylor, Kyle Schwarber, Cody Bellinger and Rowdy Tellez. 

Photo: The Arizona Republic-USA TODAY NETWORK