According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, left-hander Brian Burres has agreed to a contract with the Lamigo Monkeys of Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League. Yes, I’m pretty sure this is the first mention of the Lamigo Monkeys on HBT.
Burres owns a 5.75 ERA over 56 starts and 50 relief appearances in the majors, making stops with the Orioles, Pirates and Blue Jays. The 31-year-old pitched exclusively in the minors last season with the Giants’ minor league system, posting a 5.40 ERA and 63/42 K/BB ratio over 98 1/3 innings at Triple-A Fresno.
Burres hasn’t enjoyed much success until this point, but he’s still young enough where he could come back to try to pitch in the majors again someday. It might be worth the trip just for the sweet merch.
The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.
The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.
In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.
Most of the time anyway.
Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:
One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.
The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.