Astros break out four-man outfield for Joey Gallo and it won't be the last time we see it this year
Gallo figures to see the shift a lot this year, so we should all get used to it
Throughout spring training, the Houston Astros experimented with extreme defensive shifts. Not your typical, now-everyday overshifts -- but more exotic fare, like having four outfielders.
For the inquisitive minds out there, Gallo hit right into the shift, lofting a ball to third baseman-turned-far-left fielder Alex Bregman. Here's what the defensive arrangement looked like, courtesy of ESPN:
And on Statcast:
Hinch and the Astros aren't the first team to use such extreme measures. Joe Maddon's Tampa Bay Rays broke it out against the likes of Travis Hafner and David Ortiz more than a decade ago. As the collection of hitters mentioned here suggests, it's all about targeting those extreme fly-ball types who are slower and prone to pulling whatever balls they do put on the ground.
To wit, here's Gallo's 2017 spray chart, courtesy of Baseball Savant:
So kudos to Bregman, the Astros, and, in a sense, Gallo for helping potentially normalize the four-man outfield. Consider it a stone-cold lock that we'll be seeing more of it this year.
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