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Thursday, March 14, 2019

A preview of the new procedural changes coming to MLB in 2020

We’re already discussing the changes to the trade deadline- some other changes that will be coming:

The players’ union and MLB are expected to announce they have agreed, in 2020, to:

Roster expansion by one to 26, including a maximum 13 pitchers, in the regular and postseasons. After Aug. 31, rosters may grow to as many as 28, with a maximum of 14 pitchers. Previously, September rosters were allowed 40 players. The larger roster creates 30 major league jobs.

Increasing the injured list and option-recall duration for pitchers from 10 to 15 days.

The shortening of between-inning breaks at Major League Baseball’s discretion.

Extra innings of the All-Star Game would begin with a runner at second base.

Three-batter rule has been rejected, and confirmation that the pitch clock won’t be coming in 2019 or 2020.

It seems to me that most of these decisions, either of rules to change or rules not changed, are terrible- what say you?

QLE Posted: March 14, 2019 at 06:08 AM | 122 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: 2020, all-star game, between innings, disabled list, manfred is thinking about it, mlbpa, rosters, rule changes, september roster expansions

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   101. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 18, 2019 at 04:20 AM (#5823379)
David, you are much smarter than that. Everything you said is true, yet it doesn't constitute an argument in favor of the three-batter rule.
   102. PreservedFish Posted: March 18, 2019 at 08:22 AM (#5823386)
He wasn't trying to argue in favor of it, he was trying to rebut one of the stupider arguments that people use to argue against the three-batter rule.

I don't like the three-batter rule, but I think the "BUT WHAT ABOUT THOSE TIMES WHEN THE RELIEVER JUST DOESN'T HAVE IT AND EVERYONE KNOWS IT" argument is asinine, for several reasons, one of which David noted. Another, noted by others, is that it requires at least two hitters to get "bombed," so we're really only talking about a third hitter here, no big whoop. A third is that I dispute that this situation even exists, barring perhaps only the rarest and insanest Ankiel-type disasters. Every baseball fan here has seen a thousand pitchers look like an absolute mess in the first 2 batters and recover to pitch just fine. The situations where a pitcher truly truly doesn't have it are so rare, and the samples are so small, that the situation is impossible to identify statistically. You can't tell the difference between Rivera and Borowski over 3 hitters. And if a pitcher's stuff is so overtly horrible today that it represents a significant reduction in temporary true talent, that he has plunged far below replacement level, far down to Canseco-level pitching quality, the team should be able to identify that in the bullpen. (They must be tracking velocity and spin rate in the pen by now, right?)
   103. Greg Pope Posted: March 18, 2019 at 08:32 AM (#5823387)
Sometimes that'll help your team, sometimes hurt. You'll like the former, not the latter.

But we know what will happen. Everyone will remember the times it hurt their team, and will forget the times it helped. Because when it helped, they'll only remember how awesome their team's batters were. So when someone complains about their team losing because their reliever didn't have it, others will chime in with their stories. It won't seem like a zero-sum game, everybody will be unhappy.

Not a reason not to implement it, and it's not rational, but it's what will happen.
   104. PreservedFish Posted: March 18, 2019 at 08:51 AM (#5823389)
That effect will be so exceedingly mild as to be irrelevant, and may be more than compensated for if the interminable "three pitchers for three outs" inning ceases to exist, causing leaguewide misery levels to decrease.
   105. Sunday silence Posted: March 18, 2019 at 09:56 AM (#5823410)
its not so much that it hurts your team, it makes the game a mockery and neutral fans will see that.


The situations where a pitcher truly truly doesn't have it are so rare, and the samples are so small, that the situation is impossible to identify statistically


We really dont know because the pitcher will presumably be pulled out. I think we've all seen that happen for one batter and I think its more than rare.

How many times have we said during a game "The problem with putting in more relievers is that you might finally put in the one guy that doesnt have it." We say in games all the time, and now apparently we've forgotten that meme

You can't tell the difference between Rivera and Borowski over 3 hitters.


primates cant or real MLB players cant? Clearly some skilled observers can. Game 6 of the 75 world series when Bench looks over to Sparky and shakes his head when whoever came in relief didnt have it. Primates here have observed that in games as well.

and may be more than compensated for if the interminable "three pitchers for three outs" inning ceases to exist, causing leaguewide misery levels to decrease.


Games are interminably long because pitchers are taking like 22 sec between each pitch when it was more like 12 a generation ago. Pitch faster and this would not be a problem. You're avoiding one issuse and the fix is creating other issues.

I dont even see how this makes games shorter. Is that what people think? That games will now be shorter? By how much? go ahead tell me how many minutes this will save on the average game.
   106. Greg Pope Posted: March 18, 2019 at 09:59 AM (#5823411)
I dont even see how this makes games shorter.

Yes, this is the bigger point. They're addressing something that people notice, but it won't have much effect on the game time. And more importantly, it won't make the game more watchable. But this is what we're getting.

It's been pointed out that this effectively kills the LOOGY (and ROOGY). Any chance that we see smaller bullpens?
   107. PreservedFish Posted: March 18, 2019 at 10:01 AM (#5823413)
How many times have we said during a game "The problem with putting in more relievers is that you might finally put in the one guy that doesnt have it." We say in games all the time, and now apparently we've forgotten that meme


That is small sample bullshit.

primates cant or real MLB players cant? Clearly some skilled observers can.


Anyone looking at the boxscore. Anyone.

Games are interminably long because pitchers are taking like 22 sec between each pitch when it was more like 12 a generation ago. Pitch faster and this would not be a problem. You're avoiding one issuse and the fix is creating other issues.


I agree. I don't like the rule. But I also don't like stupid arguments.
   108. Sunday silence Posted: March 18, 2019 at 10:06 AM (#5823414)
Is it possible that we are seeing this endless parade of relievers simply because managers now have more time to think about how they want to deploy pitchers in the late inn? As well has having more time to warm them up?

when games were much shorter, you'd have a game going on two hours and suddenly there's runners on base and maybe there's someone warming up or maybe not.


Now its LaRussa or whomever and the game is going on four hours and he knows he's gonna use Smith in the 8th if there's anyone on, and if it's a lefty he'll go to Jones for one batter and then maybe double switch to get Adams speed in the Of. And call Duncan and let him know this...

I really think if the pace of play was much faster all these machinations wouldnt be taking place.
   109. Sunday silence Posted: March 18, 2019 at 10:07 AM (#5823415)
That is small sample bullshit.


I think the word you want there is "anecdotal."
   110. jmurph Posted: March 18, 2019 at 10:13 AM (#5823416)
That is small sample bullshit.
I think the word you want there is "anecdotal."

We're looking for words to describe the notion that teams frequently use 3 pitchers to get 3 outs, right?
   111. Tom Nawrocki Posted: March 18, 2019 at 10:15 AM (#5823418)
I think we've all seen that happen for one batter and I think its more than rare.


I think the number of times a reliever has come in and it has been obvious after one hitter that he is incapable of getting anyone out today is effectively zero.
   112. PreservedFish Posted: March 18, 2019 at 10:18 AM (#5823420)
No, "bullshit" is my description of the idea that if you use enough relievers in a game, you'll eventually have one that "doesn't have it" and you'll get burned.

Another way to describe that phenomenon is to say that pitchers do tend to succeed some 65% of the time, but sometimes they fail.

I think the number of times a reliever has come in and it has been obvious after one hitter that he is incapable of getting anyone out today is effectively zero.


This is so obviously correct.
   113. jmurph Posted: March 18, 2019 at 10:20 AM (#5823421)
Does anyone want to defend the 3 batter rule, or are we just arguing for kicks?
   114. Rusty Priske Posted: March 18, 2019 at 10:22 AM (#5823423)
I think it is a good way to improve the game.

It certainly increases the strategic implications.
   115. pikepredator Posted: March 18, 2019 at 10:55 AM (#5823441)
Does anyone want to defend the 3 batter rule, or are we just arguing for kicks?


Sure! I'll take a stab. It's not about saving a few minutes, it's about continuity of play. Bringing in a parade of three pitchers to get through an inning (whether they face three batters collectively, or five . . .) invites channel changing and doesn't help the short-attention span population stay locked into what's happening. I find that "parade" kind of boring.

Also, the rule reduces (a bit) the move towards specialization, where we know pitcher X is only going to come in for one batter. It encourages teams to stock their rosters with pitchers who can throw at least 10-20 pitches, and have a shot at getting both lefties and righties out. It may reduce "strategy" in one sense, but it increases the requirement for a pitcher to perform his job adequately. Will there be unintended consequences, such as the homogenization of pitchers such that everyone throws between 1 and 3 innings? Maybe, but I think that's quite a ways down the road, and might've happened anyway as starting pitchers' stints are reduced and openers become a thing.

Lastly, it may well bring up offense a bit by slightly reducing the high-heat-throwing K specialists' ability to strike out the one batter they're facing with five max-effort pitches. Knowing they're facing three, maybe they mix it up a little and work location/selection, rather than going 102-102-102-99-101-88 and done.

I'm also chime in to defend the shift. It hasn't happened yet, but I have to believe that some of the minor leaguers who rely on pulling the ball are going to learn how to bunt. Just as the three-batter rule encourages more well-rounded pitchers, the shift rewards more well-rounded hitters, as well as adding a strategy component that the modern-day game has all but eliminated with the three-true-outcomes approach.

I imagine the people who treat the shift as an abomination love TTO ball and decry it's impact on slow-footed pull-happy sluggers, but I prefer a more balanced game with stolen bases and bunting *and HR and K* and everything. One of the more exciting plays that the shift has created is when someone steals second and is alert enough to make the dash for third because . . . nobody is there! Shifting may take away a one-dimensional slugger's only skill of smashing the ball hard to one spot, but it also encourages more daring tactics and more strategy, as well as rewards the truly well-rounded baseball player (at least, what I knew a baseball player to be growing up - which is what I think we all idolize).

I guess all in all I'd prefer more true hitters like Gwynn over pure sluggers like Kingman, and I think the shift will both create and reward more all-field hitters. I hope that hitters respond to the shift by broadening their skills and render the shift moot rather than saying "waaah they're cheating, I can't hit it to the opposite field". But then, I've always been a rose-tinted optimist.
   116. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 18, 2019 at 10:58 AM (#5823443)
Does anyone want to defend the 3 batter rule, or are we just arguing for kicks?
I do, heartily. However few 3-pitcher innings (or 4- or 5-pitcher innings in the playoffs) there are currently, that number should be zero. As has been clarified many times, the issue isn't length of game, it's all the dead spots when the game should be at its most exciting.* I also like it philosophically - if a manager is going to change pitchers, he should have to live with the new guy for at least a little while. Maybe it will make managers think twice about lifting a perfectly cromulent pitcher just because the next batter is lefthanded.

*Also as others have said, another way to fix this would be to make pitching changes seamless - manager signals from the dugout, no mound visit, no warmup pitches.
   117. . Posted: March 18, 2019 at 11:24 AM (#5823449)
No other sport has the game screech to a halt when a substitute player is brought in the way baseball does.(*) The idea that that should be permitted an effectively unlimited number of times in a game is simply absurd.

With the ridiculous change in pitching usage and the eclipse of the starting pitcher, I'd submit that even more radical ideas should be considered. If a Clayton Kershaw is only going to go six innings anyway, is there any reason they shouldn't be the six innings of the manager's choice? I see nothing sacrosanct in the idea that the innings have to be consecutive.

In any event, if you believe Bill Maddon there's already a ton of blowback, including from a number of owners, on the three-batter minimum. Which means there's a really good chance that all that's going to come out of all of this is a few seconds shaved off commercial breaks. One would think that can't possibly be -- but never underestimate the ability of baseball to #### up its sport.

(*) No other sport even allows substitutes to warm up on the field of play. By way of comparison, even a hockey goalie brought in to a playoff game 7 doesn't get to warm up.
   118. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 18, 2019 at 12:00 PM (#5823468)
He wasn't trying to argue in favor of it, he was trying to rebut one of the stupider arguments that people use to argue against the three-batter rule.
Exactly. While I do think the rule is worthwhile — or at least worth trying to see whether it is — my point was just, "You won't like the rule when it hurts your team" is just stupid. I don't like the infield fly rule when it hurts my team, either. Or the bunting-foul-is-strike-three. Or pretty much any other rule. But that has nothing to do with whether the rule is good or not.
   119. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: March 18, 2019 at 12:43 PM (#5823507)
I think the number of times a reliever has come in and it has been obvious after one hitter that he is incapable of getting anyone out today is effectively zero.

I challenge this assertion based on watching many of the Rangers bullpens of the last 25 years.
   120. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 18, 2019 at 12:46 PM (#5823509)

I challenge this assertion based on watching many of the Rangers bullpens of the last 25 years.
I think he meant, "...except when it was already obvious before he faced his first hitter that he is incapable of getting anyone out."
   121. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: March 18, 2019 at 12:55 PM (#5823514)
Point conceded, [120].
   122. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 18, 2019 at 05:46 PM (#5823581)
Reading back over the sequence of posts, it's clear that I made a mistake of over-interpretation.
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