Quick Hit: Pulling Still a Problem for Some Yankees

It's been over a year now since Brian McCann has recognized his growing problem with the infield shift. It even looked like he was making progress last season, distributing his line dives fairly evenly. McCann's pulling problem has only gotten worse this year. While his average sits at .245, his Offensive rating is already at -2.7 - a season after he posted a -7.2. That's due in large part to his habit of hitting the ball to the right side of the field.

2013 (ATL) 2014 (NYY) 2015 (NYY)
GB% 35.4% 32.7% 38.1%
Pull% 48.6% 44.1% 49.6%
Hard Hit% 35.3% 31.0% 27.8%

McCann actually did reduce the number of balls he pulled to right field last season - 44% was the third-lowest rate of his career & the lowest since 2007. This season, though, his problem is back. As evidenced by his increased ground ball rate, and reduced hard-hit ball rate, those balls are headed right into the shift. You can expect to see three fielders to the right side of the infield for the foreseeable future when the Yankees' catcher steps to the dish.

As for the Yankees' other heavily-shifted batter, Mark Teixeira, things aren't looking up either. Teixeira's pull rate (56.8%) and ground ball rate (43.2%) so far in 2015 are career-highs.

Teixeira once pulled the ball at a 56.7% clip, but that was back in 2004.

That being said, Teixeira has sent 13 balls over the fence this season, and has hit 8 doubles. He's managed to hit the ball hard enough to stay out of serious trouble. If his power sputters, though, don't be surprised to see the shift work against him more often.

The Yankees' record hasn't sunk to 23-22 because of teams shifting Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira. It just doesn't help when defenses have an easy tendency to exploit, and attack it.