Earlier this year, FanGraphs began carrying shift data compiled by our friends at Baseball Info Solutions. With shifting on the rise every year, this kind of information has become more and more vital to fans and analysts. This posts walks you through how to access and use the data available on FanGraphs.
First, let’s start by describing what data is available. We have pitcher and hitter shift data going back to 2010 that is viewable on the leaderboards (for players, teams, and league) and player splits pages. The data exists for balls in play only (non-home run batted balls), so if a team shifts mid-plate appearance we only have the alignment for the final pitch. This also means we don’t have data for walks, hit batters, strikeouts, and home runs. If you want to know about how well a team deploys the shift while on defense, you want to look at pitchers. If you want to know about which hitters get shifted against, you want to look at hitters.