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Yeesh, no way. The incentives for the pitcher with that rule are outrageous. K's and BB's would be way up.
A really radical idea that might actually work would be, presuming balls/strikes called by auto-ump, would be that a pitch in a small "bulls-eye" mid-plate, waist-high, that the hitter takes for the first strike, is an automatic strikeout.
The problem with that is it goes a step too far in assigning roles to players in order to put them on a roster. The roster is 25 'players', and though most listings break them down by position, that's irrelevant.
IOW, who counts as a pitcher? Suddenly guys like Micah Owings might see a boost to their value.
You could make teams declare who is eligible to pitch before the game starts. If he's on the roster as a !B, then he can't pitch that game.
Just saying it could be handled doesn't mean it's a good idea though. Any attempt to limit the number of pitcher used, what do you do when you're losing 15-2 and nobody you've put on the mound can get an out? How about when you've got the last pitcher you're allowed to use and he gets hurt?
Anyway, the solution to pitching changes is obvious: institute a rule that no pitcher may be removed before he has either completed the current inning or yielded a run chargeable to him. Any pitcher removed in violation of this rule is ineligible to pitch for the next 15 days. Managers can use a new pitcher every inning if they want; it's the mid-inning pitching changes that suck the excitement out of the game.
I would caution against 'big' changes. most dynamic systems it only takes small things to generate significant change
also, one should always seek to return to the basics and find out what has already been defined and not being followed
so establishing that baseball could call the defined strike zone and see what happens
and call batters out for messing with the batters box. maybe you move the batter off the plate by 2 inches by moving the box.
but moving fences or deadening the ball are more extreme measures and I would put them down the list.
Expanding the strike zone without changing anything else would just cause strikeouts to explode, I expect. You wouldn't see guys striking out 300 times a year (I think about 250 is the most you can get away with without losing your job) but all the guys that typically strike out 80 times a year would jump right to striking out 125 times a year and we'd be back in 1968, or worse.
Any attempt to limit the number of pitcher used, what do you do when you're losing 15-2 and nobody you've put on the mound can get an out?
Before a pitcher can be pulled at all for "not being able to get anyone out," he needs to have thrown a minimum number of pitches. He can't be pulled before this minimum threshold for any reason, other than actual injury. Thirty was really just a discussion starting point.
Whatever solution there is, it should involve eliminating warmup pitches in the middle of an inning. It would take 30 seconds to change pitchers without them.
That first part baffles me. As bad as excessive strikeouts are, the last thing on earth baseball needs is more walks.
Once upon a time (holy crapoli, this was about 27 years ago now!) I was at this game. LaMarr Hoyt was in his last season with the Padres and, on this particular day, he just could not get anybody out. My seats were such that I could see both Hoyt on the mound and Padres manager Dick Williams (standing on the steps of the dugout) pretty well
San Diego starter LaMarr Hoyt, 2-4, surrenders 13 hts and nine earned runs in 3 1-3 innings. Tim Stoddard, Mark Thurmond and [outfielder Dane] Iorg allowed the other nine runs and eight hits.
Thurmond, normally a starter, volunteered to pitch Monday after an early kayo Sunday. [Manager Steve] Boros said he had been hoping for at least six innings from Hoyt.
"We had a tough series in Los Angeles," said Boros. "We played three excellent ball games, but we had to go to our bullpen in all three games. We'll be in better shape tomorrow. [Emphasis added]"
Pitching IP H R ER BB SO HR
Dave Dravecky 5.1 6 2 2 2 1 1
Lance McCullers W (3-1) 1.2 2 1 1 0 0 0
Rich Gossage S (11) 2 1 1 1 2 1 0
Team Totals 9 9 4 4 4 2 1
Pitching IP H R ER BB SO HR
Andy Hawkins 5.2 6 5 1 2 7 0
Tim Stoddard 0.1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Craig Lefferts 1 2 0 0 1 0 0
Gene Walter 1 1 1 1 0 2 1
Rich Gossage 3 2 1 1 0 1 0
Lance McCullers W (4-1) 3 0 0 0 1 4 0
Team Totals 14 12 7 3 4 14 1
Pitching IP H R ER BB SO HR
Mark Thurmond 4 6 4 1 3 2 0
Gene Walter 1.1 1 0 0 3 2 0
Craig Lefferts W (5-2) 3.2 2 0 0 0 3 0
Team Totals 9 9 4 1 6 7 0
I guess it depends in what school of thought you are on why strikeouts are happening. I'm in the school of thought that strikeouts are increasing because the batters accept it as part of the package of more power and more walks. (there are other factors, of course)
Use a larger, softer baseball.
Bring IN the fences 100'. Make them 40 foot (60')? concrete or brick (pad the bottom 10). Remove 1 outfielder.
I don't think this is what Ruth was doing. He only K'd 12% of the time, batted .342...
and I would guess his walk rate was mostly due to pitching around him
I think it's fair to say Ruth took a lot of pitches.
AB H 2B 3B HR BB BA OBP SLGHome 519 162 47 17 11 102 .312 .425 .532Road 591 180 35 13 38 87 .305 .394 .601
I'm with GuyM that you can't consider reducing K's solely (or even primarily) from the hitter's side. The reason K's have been ever-increasing is that there are unbalanced incentives between the pitcher and hitter. For the pitcher, more K's are always good*,
But they've always been good, and always been perceived as being good (or at least the last 100 years) for the pitcher.
But there once was a strong anti-strikeout culture among batsmen. Striking out was considered a greater failiure than any other kind of out. It's been the relaxing of that attitude on the offensive side that has preceded the high K era we're in. There is no anti-strikeout stigma, even among light hitting types.
the thing that jumped out besides the steady increase in strikeouts (delayed by the lowering of the mound)
As you can see, not really a HR threat in Boston (those 11 HR are a substantial portion of the HR hit there in that time frame. It was practically an impossible HR park back then) and he actually walked more in Boston than on the road.
Assuming this cultural change did occur, I suspect the causal arrow runs the other direction. In a world in which 20% of PA result in Ks, the stigma had to be abandoned.
To the extent that reduced stigma did change batter behavior, this should be celebrated. It means hitters are maximizing their production, which is their job. To the extent that a hitter's approach at the plate is shaped by a stigma, this means -- by definition -- they are not doing their job.
But that's not true: K% held steady (or bumped up) in 1969 and 1970.
As I said, from both an aesthetic POV and a simple philosophy of the game itself (born, in all likelihood, out of playing the game for so long), there should be more of a results gap between swinging and missing and making contact
So you were a high-contact slap hitter? (said jokingly).
YR Ruth Everybody else1919 9 51918 0 51917 1 61916 0 21915 1 8Total 11 26
#88 In Ruth's time in Boston there just weren't very many RH hitters trying to hit flyballs (I can't think of any in the AL. Cravath was an opposite field flyball hitter and was of course playing in the NL). Flyballs were regarded as a pitcher's friend back then. Indeed some pitchers used to dare the hitters with a less than overwhelming fastball deliberately thrown up in the zone.
I don't see any reason why pitching skill would have increased so greatly while contact ability remained stagnant, accounting for these higher K percentages.
Whether you see it or not, it must be there. Because we can observe that hitters are not trading Ks for more BBs and HRs -- they are simply striking out more.
Personally, I don't find it that surprising. As pitchers get bigger and stronger, it seems quite plausible that pitch velocity is increasing faster than hitters' reflexes and eye-hand coordination improve. But since hitters are also getting bigger and stronger, they can hit with more power.
2012 0.132002 0.471992 1.041982 1.421972 1.291962 1.251952 2.631942 4.941932 6.061922 6.441912 4.191902 6.06
Refused to take walks. Never struck out.
In fact, it's hard to hit .342 without being selective."
Try telling that to George Sisler.
Are pitch velocities up significantly in the last 20/40/60 years?
Don't get me wrong. I fully suspect pitcher ability has some effect here. But I firmly believe that the attitude/approach of hitters has also played a significant role in the rising strikeout rate.
I can tell you do, and I think a lot of people agree. But as best I can tell, there is zero evidence to support the idea that strikeouts are rising because hitters are changing their approach. Strike outs are increasing for both power hitters and non-power hitters. Hitters with little/no power today strike out more than Ruth did. Mike Schmidt was considered a big strikeout guy (led the NL 4 times), but he struck out less often than the average hitter today. This desire to blame the victim here is quite curious.....
There was a time in the 1930s, not very long all told, where quite a few of the best hitters walked quite a bit, and a lot more than they struck out, sometimes with at least extra-base power: Mickey Cochrane, Charlie Gehringer, Paul Waner, Arky Vaughan, Luke Appling, Buddy Myer were all in that mode. (Later on, Ted Williams and Stan Musial would continue that legacy, and improve on it.)
In general, high contact hitters don't hit for much power; only a few of the greatest players in history do both. Since there's not much threat of them hitting home runs, pitchers are much more willing to throw them strikes.
Oh for Christ's sake, don't be dramatic.
The recent surge dates only from about 2006, and over that period there has been no increase in HR (or BB) at all. I think it's been all pitchers.
You were able to play shortstop when you were the oldest player on your team? I don't know what level of play is involved, but that's a hell of a resume.
Strikeouts are unequivocally good for pitchers; in fact they're the only unequivocally good result for pitchers, and so pitchers are constantly trying to strike hitters out. For hitters strikeouts are bad on their own, but hitters have discovered, starting with Babe Ruth and continuing on through Adam Dunn, that trading the negative effects of more strikeouts for the positive effects of more home runs is a beneficial transaction for them. There is no such transaction for pitchers; pitchers can't trade fewer strikeouts for anything good. That is why strikeouts rates have steadily risen throughout all of baseball history.
This theory would imply that right now, there are a bunch of MLB hitters -- and a bunch of AAA hitters -- who could become much better hitters if only they were willing to strike out some more. And apparently, this has always been true, and -- I'm not sure about this part -- always will be?
A player that strikes out 140 times a year but hits 25 home runs will have a job in the major leagues today and likely would not have in 1970, and definitely would not have in 1930.
Strikeouts are unequivocally good for pitchers; in fact they're the only unequivocally good result for pitchers, and so pitchers are constantly trying to strike hitters out.
Mike Schmidt was considered a big strikeout guy (led the NL 4 times), but he struck out less often than the average hitter today.
I don't buy that at all. If we're talking about that kind of ability in the big leagues, then it would show up as more like 110 strikeouts, 35 homeruns in AAA, give or take a bit depending on the league context.
I have a book with 1984 scouting reports. The entries on each pitcher usually mention fastball speed, or at least a range. My rough estimate from looking through that was that average FB in 1984 was around 85 MPH, so we're looking at 2 MPH per decade. Whether that can be extended back further in time, I don't have any idea. I don't want to suggest that average FB in 1924 was only 73.
I definitely believe velocities have increased, substantially. But we do have to be careful about comparing data from the guns over time. I believe that in the early days of using radar guns, the ball was measured as it crossed the plate, while today it's measured out of the pitcher's hand. This is a vague recollection, and could definitely be wrong. But if so, the data would exaggerate the velocity increase.
As to which came first way back when -- pitchers K'ing more or batters showing more power -- and who was reacting to whose strategy shift ... I don't know and I don't think anyone will.
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