Dodgers Team News

Dodgers: Could the Shift Ban Cause Trouble for Tony Gonsolin?

Writing for Dodgers Nation isn’t my only gig, you know. I also co-host a daily podcast called Locked On Dodgers over on the Locked On Podcast Network. I don’t talk about it much here because it’s kind of a competitor podcast to the great stuff my colleagues do here at DN. (But really, there’s plenty of time for great L.A. content from multiple sources, so feel free to check it out sometime, available on YouTube and wherever you get podcasts.)

Last week on my podcast, I talked about the likelihood of the Dodgers re-signing Tyler Anderson, either via the qualifying offer or a multi-year deal. On Twitter, one of our listeners expressed a concern about Anderson’s future:

Logically, it makes sense that the fewer strikeouts a pitcher has, the more he might be susceptible to batted ball luck once the shift is banned. But I’ve been around long enough to know my logic doesn’t always pan out, especially when it comes to things like the shift, so I reached out to my friend Mark Simon at Sports Info Solutions. I shared that tweet with him and asked him if that concern was valid for Anderson specifically.

Because Mark is great, he replied and told me Anderson isn’t a huge concern, but a different Dodgers pitcher might be: Tony Gonsolin.

“Much bigger deal for Tony Gonsolin actually.

“We have an outs lost/gained to shift stat and Gonsolin ranked 2nd in MLB with 18 outs gained (Taillon 19). Tyler Anderson was only at 5.

“Sort of the same stat, put another way:

“Dodgers turned 81.6% of Gonsolin’s grounders and bunts into outs, 6th-highest rate in MLB (84.6% when using a full shift).”

When you look at the underlying numbers, it makes some sense. Anderson was 98th percentile this season in both hard-hit percentage allowed and average exit velocity, while Gonsolin was 72nd and 35th percentiles, respectively. Anderson was elite this year at limiting hard contact, and that plays regardless of where the fielders are.

With regards to Gonsolin, I wouldn’t say it’s something we need to be super worried about, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on. Gonsolin had the best season of his career, but he also had his lowest strikeout rate. With the shift going away next year, he might need to figure out how to get a few more strikeouts to even out some of that batted-ball luck.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

One Comment

  1. More meaningless speculation about a possibility of a problem. Certainly less risk with him than Hudson and Treinen coming back from major injuries. I assume you guys are driven by YouTube and advertiser click counts. But instead of inventing this crap to stir the pot why aren’t you asking the Dodgers if they are talking to their free agents while they can deal exclusively with them as under control and contract?

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