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Aligned right: Major League Baseball’s infield shift trend has roots in Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Ten years ago, a one-hopper up the middle that got past a major league pitcher was almost certain to become a base hit in the center field grass. The same could be said for most screaming line drives pulled to right.

But then the shift happened.

Data displaying hitters’ tendencies became more readily available thanks to Major League Baseball’s StatCast automated tool and Web sites such as Fangraphs.com. Teams embraced it and designed defensive strategies, and a major change in how baseball is played at the highest level was born.

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