Infielders don’t normally play in the outfield, but Baltimore Orioles infielder Rougned Odor did just that against the Texas Rangers today. Slugger Corey Seager hit a ground ball into the outfield. Odor — playing a heavy shift in right field — ran to his right, grabbed the ball, and threw it to first in time for the out.
“Got him at first, what a play!” shouted the Orioles broadcast team.
Seager’s hit was more of a line drive than a ground ball. It bounced just once and, if not for the shift, would’ve been a single. Being the second baseman in this game, Odor was utilizing the shift to account for Seager being a left-handed hitter.
As of next season, the shift will be banned, according to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. The new rules will mandate that teams can only have two infielders on either side of second base. Odor was actually complying with that rule here. However, without the aid of his shortstop manning second base, Odor wouldn’t have had the luxury to play shallow right. It was a masterful use of the shift.
MLB Twitter reacted to the play immediately.
A couple weeks ago, New York Yankees outfielder Joey Gallo voiced his distaste for the shift. He claimed it makes hitting that much harder for batters.
Derek Jeter, one of the best second basemen ever to play the game, was famous for making plays like these.
MLB Twitter astounded after Baltimore Orioles second baseman Rougned Odor makes an impressive grab to throw out Texas Rangers slugger Corey Seager
Considering the shift takes away so many hits, it’s not wildly popular among fans who would rather see offense than defense.
Advanced metrics indicate that the shift prevents up to 30% of teams’ prospective hits.
Expect the offense to increase rapidly once the 2023 shift ban goes into effect.
The Baltimore Orioles have held their own this season in baseball’s toughest division. They’re 38-44 on the year, which puts them on pace to win more games than they did last season.
At the time of writing, the Orioles are up 2-1 on the Texas Rangers in the fifth inning.