I don’t think it’s unfair to say that extreme defensive shifts have been one of the most well-received new-age (I guess they’re not really new anymore) strategies.
Even the most unusually looking defensive alignments don’t draw a ton of criticism, and it’s probably because, for the most part, they tend to work.
But even with all of that said, I was pretty blown away by one of the most extreme defensive shifts I’ve ever seen, yesterday. Check out the Astros rocking a four-man, (five-man? six-man?) outfield, with the second baseman also on the outfield grass and the first baseman dancing awfully close:
The batter at the plate is Matt Adams, and he posted a 46.7% pull rate last season (41.7% for his career). For reference, a league average pull rate last season was 39.8%, so Adams was clearly on the high end of the spectrum
Unfortunately, Adams struck out in that at-bat, so we never got to see the shift in action.
But still, that’s wild.