3 Lefty Hitters Who Will Benefit Most From Shift Ban

One of the biggest changes in major league baseball this season will be the banning of the shift. No more will four fielders be able to cram themselves on the right side of the diamond to rob left-handed hitters of otherwise sure base hits. 

So which lefty-swingers will get the biggest benefit from the new rule? Here are three impact hitters faced the shift in more than 90% of their plate appearances in 2022, and they will be thrilled to have the shift-shackles off:

Corey Seager

Per Steve Gardner of USA Today Sports, Seager led the entire major leagues in in ground-ball outs into the shift. 

The Texas Rangers shortstop still had himself a pretty decent first year in the Lone Star State, belting 33 long balls. But his .245 average was the lowest of his career, and follows two consecutive .300 or better seasons. His OPS was also down significantly, to .772 from a previous career mark closer to .900. 

Expect Seager to get that average up closer to his .287 lifetime mark. 

Kyle Tucker

The young Houston Astros star saw his average drop nearly 40 points from the previous season, and his OPS by over 100 points. But again, he still had a pretty darn good season, getting an All-Star nod for 30 HR, 107 RBI campaign. 

Just imagine what he'll do without those 600+ plate appearances facing the shift.

Kyle Schwarber

No National League hitter faced the shift more than Schwarber in 2022. Granted, the Philadelphia Phillies slugger has never been a batting average aficionado, and striking out 200 times (as he did in 2022) doesn't have anything to do with where opposing infielders are placed.  

But that .218 average is bound to get a bump-up with some hits pulled into a hole on the right side now and again. 

It’s going to be a game of contact now without the shift,” says Schwarber. “You’re going to get rewarded. You’re not looking over at the right side and seeing four guys. That’s a good thing, it’s going to promote contact. And I need to improve on the strikeouts. Last year’s strikeouts, that was way too many. It’s something that I’m consciously trying to do.”

Photo: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports