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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Lovullo adjusting to new mound-visit rules

Some interesting points here about the impact to the game of this new rule

shoewizard Posted: February 25, 2018 at 09:20 AM | 200 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: diamondbacks, general, pace of play

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   1. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: February 25, 2018 at 04:33 PM (#5630273)
It’ll be interesting to see what teams do. The Red Sox have created three teams to come up with ideas for changing signs without a mound visit with the winning team getting a free dinner paid for by Christian Vazquez because in the meeting they discussed it Vazquez’ cell phone rang.
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 25, 2018 at 04:40 PM (#5630277)
When catcher Michael Perez made a second visit to the mound during the game, Lovullo sent Butcher out there at the same time to, "make it a really worthwhile mound visit, and give him some instructions."

This is what we're going to see. Every game will feature 12 full-scale shareholders' meetings with the catcher, pitching coach and all the infielders.
   3. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 25, 2018 at 04:41 PM (#5630278)
Coded messages : "Omaha! 36, 24, 36."
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 25, 2018 at 04:46 PM (#5630284)
The Red Sox have created three teams to come up with ideas for changing signs without a mound visit

The pitcher or catcher shouts, "Switch to set B!". Where do I get my free dinner?
   5. Obo Posted: February 25, 2018 at 05:08 PM (#5630290)
The pitcher or catcher shouts, "Switch to set B!".

Or maybe even a sign?
   6. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 25, 2018 at 05:17 PM (#5630297)
Or maybe even a sign?

But what about when they have to change that sign??
   7. Obo Posted: February 25, 2018 at 05:33 PM (#5630302)
The only secret sign you really need is "I'm going to signal and set up for a breaking ball low and away and you're going to throw a fastball up and in." The batters tend to lose their enthusiasm for sign-stealing intel after a couple of those. Plus, free mound visit!
   8. Walt Davis Posted: February 25, 2018 at 05:51 PM (#5630320)
Small electrodes just behind the pitcher's ear. One shock means fastball, two means best breaking pitch, three means "just joking, nobody's got two effective breaking pitches", four means "changeup ... do you think maybe you could throw one decent changeup per inning? You're one more lousy changeup away from being a reliever", a sustained jolt means "I know you're sleeping with my wife". Put a second electrode in their ass to remind them to cover first.
   9. Obo Posted: February 25, 2018 at 05:59 PM (#5630323)
Maybe the catcher could write the next pitch on the ball before he throws it back?
   10. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 25, 2018 at 07:19 PM (#5630369)
Coded messages : "Omaha! 36, 24, 36."


In general, I think that aping the NFL is terrible for baseball, but in this case why not just give the pitcher and catcher ear pieces?
   11. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 25, 2018 at 08:06 PM (#5630392)

In general, I think that aping the NFL is terrible for baseball, but in this case why not just give the pitcher and catcher ear pieces?
I'd have to think it through, but I tentatively agree. What would be lost from baseball if they communicated this way? The romance of the awful sin of stealing signs?

Well, a few issues: (1) how does the catcher say it without the batter hearing it?
(2) the infielders need to know, too.
   12. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 25, 2018 at 08:36 PM (#5630400)
(1) how does the catcher say it without the batter hearing it?
Well, the catcher would say it in a secret code that only the pitcher would understand...
   13. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 25, 2018 at 08:40 PM (#5630402)
Well, the catcher would say it in a secret code that only the pitcher would understand...
But then you still have the issue of needing to change the code sometimes. (Unless I'm missing your sarcasm.)
   14. Tin Angel Posted: February 25, 2018 at 08:56 PM (#5630409)
I'd have to think it through, but I tentatively agree. What would be lost from baseball if they communicated this way?


Presumably you would lose the catcher occasionally getting crossed up, which leads to passed balls.
   15. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 25, 2018 at 09:09 PM (#5630414)
(Unless I'm missing your sarcasm.)
Yeah, the implication was that then you're basically right back to giving signs.
   16. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 25, 2018 at 09:16 PM (#5630419)
I just meant earpieces, not microphones. So the pitching coach could tell them when to switch to the B signs, or remind them of the scouting report on the next batter, etc.
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: February 25, 2018 at 09:34 PM (#5630428)
I fully support pitchers and catchers having earpieces(and microphones). I've been pushing for that for about two+ years now. I think it's past the time to do that....heck the catcher could even just stand up, walk away a couple of feet from the batter and give his comments if necessary, without having to walk all the way to the mound.

   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 25, 2018 at 10:02 PM (#5630440)
I fully support pitchers and catchers having earpieces(and microphones). I've been pushing for that for about two+ years now. I think it's past the time to do that....heck the catcher could even just stand up, walk away a couple of feet from the batter and give his comments if necessary, without having to walk all the way to the mound.


Seems like a solution in search of a problem.
   19. cardsfanboy Posted: February 25, 2018 at 10:23 PM (#5630446)
Seems like a solution in search of a problem.


I'm a fan of the Cardinals, Yadier Molina probably averages 6 mound visits a game if not more.... most of them are 10 or seconds long, but it's still annoying as fck. I don't doubt Molina's ability to control a pitching staff, but considering how short these visits are, (10 second, combined with a 20 second walk) it makes sense to have a better system of communication.

I do not understand peoples aversion to technology.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: February 26, 2018 at 01:21 AM (#5630468)
(1) how does the catcher say it without the batter hearing it?

Catchers? C'mon, big data nerds should be calling all of the pitches. "The expected outcome of a slider here maximizes our win expectancy by .0001 more than a rising fastball." "My slider sucks." "Whizz, burrrrr, crackle ... This is SkyNet. Lasers locked. Fire in 10, 9 ..." "OK, OK I'll throw the slider!" (See also pace of play initiatives.)

Yadier Molina probably averages 6 mound visits a game if not more

Is that all? Willson Contreras can visit that many time in one batter. I expect that at least once in his career, Willson will instinctively head out to the mound while he's batting.
   21. Leroy Kincaid Posted: February 26, 2018 at 07:51 PM (#5630824)
Invisible fence around the mound. Everyone but the pitcher wears a shock collar.
   22. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 26, 2018 at 08:09 PM (#5630827)
Invisible fence around the mound. Everyone but the pitcher wears a shock collar.

The Home Plate Umpire tazing a catcher attempting an illegal mound visit would be much more entertaining: "Don't taze me, bro, I was crossed up." Zap.
   23. Greg Pope Posted: February 26, 2018 at 08:28 PM (#5630830)
how does the catcher say it without the batter hearing it?

The pitcher should be calling the pitches, no? The only reason the catcher calls the pitches today is because the batter can't see him. The pitcher can shake off the catcher, the pitcher's the one who actually decides what to throw.

So the pitcher gets the microphone, the catcher gets the earpiece.
   24. Greg K Posted: February 26, 2018 at 08:34 PM (#5630833)
How about banning any form of communication (verbal or sign) between catcher and pitcher. Catchers trying to pick up breaking balls along with the hitter...that'll let those guys show off their athleticism!
   25. Omineca Greg Posted: February 26, 2018 at 09:09 PM (#5630845)
Catchers trying to pick up breaking balls along with the hitter...that'll let those guys show off their athleticism!

I totally agree with the esteemed Mr. K. Catchers are supposed to be the smartest players on the field, if they can't even recognise when their own pitchers tip pitches, how could they reasonably be expected to see it when facing opponents?

One is reminded of the zen concept, "Not two, not one." While it is unreasonable to think of the battery as an indivisible unit of one, at the same time, they should not be thought of as two entirely separate entities either.

As such, Zen maintains a stance of “not one” and “not two,” i.e., “positionless position,” where “not two” signals a negation of the stance that divides the whole into two parts, i.e., dualism, while “not one” designates a negation of this stance when the Zen practitioner dwells in the whole as one, while suspending judgment in meditation, i.e., non-dualism. Free, bilateral movement between “not one” and “not two” characterizes Zen’s achievement of a personhood with a third perspective that cannot, however, be confined to either dualism or non-dualism (i.e., neither “not one” nor “not two”).

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


I'm pretty sure whichever front offices apply the teachings of the Rinzai school to the new rules for mound visits, will often run afoul of the authorities, while those who are dedicated to the Sōtō school will find themselves in closer harmony.

To study the Buddha Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of enlightenment remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.”

道元禅師

Dōgen Zenji never should have written that book.

   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 26, 2018 at 09:35 PM (#5630855)

I'm a fan of the Cardinals, Yadier Molina probably averages 6 mound visits a game if not more.... most of them are 10 or seconds long, but it's still annoying as fck. I don't doubt Molina's ability to control a pitching staff, but considering how short these visits are, (10 second, combined with a 20 second walk) it makes sense to have a better system of communication.

I do not understand peoples aversion to technology.


I'm fine banning them. No catcher mound visits at all.
   27. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: February 26, 2018 at 10:17 PM (#5630865)
Small electrodes just behind the pitcher's ear. One shock means fastball, two means best breaking pitch, three means "just joking, nobody's got two effective breaking pitches", four means "changeup ... do you think maybe you could throw one decent changeup per inning? You're one more lousy changeup away from being a reliever", a sustained jolt means "I know you're sleeping with my wife". Put a second electrode in their ass to remind them to cover first.


I love you, Walt.
   28. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 27, 2018 at 05:49 AM (#5630902)

Invisible fence around the mound. Everyone but the pitcher wears a shock collar.
The secondary benefit of this is that it would eliminate conflicts like this one.
   29. Rusty Priske Posted: February 27, 2018 at 08:54 AM (#5630919)
I am with the idea of this being a solution in search of a problem.

There is absolutely zero need for headsets for pitchers and catchers.

Have a few sets of signs. Signal that you are switching to set C or whatever. Done.

Do you really think the opposing batters are going to work out multiple sets of signs that they can use to signal the batter?
It isn't going to happen.
   30. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: February 27, 2018 at 09:23 AM (#5630925)
I am with the idea of this being a solution in search of a problem


Concur. +1. Like. Get the sign. Toe the rubber. Throw the goddamned ball.

On the other side, get in the ####### box. It's the first game of a rain-out doubleheader make-up in mid-July. This is not the final out of the World Series.
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 27, 2018 at 09:30 AM (#5630929)
There is absolutely zero need for headsets for pitchers and catchers.

Have a few sets of signs. Signal that you are switching to set C or whatever. Done.

Do you really think the opposing batters are going to work out multiple sets of signs that they can use to signal the batter?
It isn't going to happen.


Yup. Brain surgeons work faster than these numb nuts.
   32. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 27, 2018 at 10:18 AM (#5630973)
On the other side, get in the ####### box. It's the first game of a rain-out doubleheader make-up in mid-July. This is not the final out of the World Series.

And even if it is the final out of the World Series...get in the ####### box.
   33. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 27, 2018 at 06:11 PM (#5631318)
I am with the idea of this being a solution in search of a problem


It's a preemptive solution to the "I got crossed up so you have to let me have a free mound visit" problem.
   34. Joe Bivens is NOT a clueless numpty Posted: February 27, 2018 at 09:46 PM (#5631438)
Crossed up = free mound visit seems like it could be a giant loophole.
   35. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 28, 2018 at 08:17 AM (#5631521)
Crossed up = free mound visit seems like it could be a giant loophole.


Of course, seeing as it depends on the umpires to prevent abuse.
   36. bunyon Posted: February 28, 2018 at 08:30 AM (#5631524)
Yeah, the fundamental problem is that the "rule" is weak and spineless. The rule should be: each team gets six mound visits per game. If Yadier blows them all in the first inning, tough ####.

Penalty: each visit past six is the (visit#-6) balls. So, on the tenth visit, a new batter would walk. If the count is 3-2 and you make a seventh visit, the batter walks.

If, to start an inning, the catcher goes out to the mound for the 22nd visit, the bases are loaded and a run in.


But they don't want to solve the problem. They want to appear to be solving the problem.
   37. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 28, 2018 at 09:28 AM (#5631536)
Yeah, the fundamental problem is that the "rule" is weak and spineless. The rule should be: each team gets six mound visits per game. If Yadier blows them all in the first inning, tough ####.

Penalty:
No, that's gimmicky. The penalty is automatic removal of the pitcher. That removes the incentive for the visit, as it cannot benefit the team.
   38. -- Posted: February 28, 2018 at 10:41 AM (#5631567)
The root cause of all of this is the relatively-recent conceit that baseball is some kind of intellectual exercise. More actual "intellect" goes into a single punt block play in the NFL than an entire game of baseball. That of course doesn't make the NFL "better" in any sense; it just means all this "strategizing" in baseball is pompous and ridiculous.
   39. Ray (CTL) Posted: February 28, 2018 at 10:42 AM (#5631568)
No, that's gimmicky. The penalty is automatic removal of the pitcher. That removes the incentive for the visit, as it cannot benefit the team.


Unless you want to remove the pitcher.

It just seems to me that MLB isn't targeting the actual problem here. The pace of play "issue" is not primarily a matter of mound visits or time between pitches or time between innings or getting batters into the box faster. The game has fundamentally changed. There are more walks and strikeouts and fewer balls in play. Starters going fewer innings and a parade of short hard throwing relievers every game, leading to more trips to the mound for a pitching change and more breaks in the action. All pitchers forever nibbling, nibbling, nibbling to target an umpire's personal strike zone, too many umpires with tiny strike zones and hitters who are more patient and all of this has increased the number of pitches per plate appearance. The league can futz around with time between pitches/innings and mound visits all it wants but that will barely make a dent.

What _would_ make an immediate dent is to work out a new agreement with the umpires in which the umpires who finish in the bottom 10% of accuracy on balls and strikes when measured against the automated K zone (Questec or the Fox Box or whatever the preferred system is nowadays) are suspended for the next season.
   40. PreservedFish Posted: February 28, 2018 at 10:45 AM (#5631570)
Nope, that's all very wrong.

There have been a number of studies that demonstrate quite conclusively that game time has increased because of the slow pace between pitches. Not because of the number of pitches or pitching changes. Not because of fewer balls in play.

That you'd blame the personal strike zone is just bizarre. Questec already exists, umpires are already judged on it, and as a result strike zones are probably less idiosyncratic than they've ever been.
   41. -- Posted: February 28, 2018 at 10:46 AM (#5631571)
The arch-nemesis of crisp, appealing baseball is the intentionally-taken strike wherein the batter just stands there with a bat on his shoulder just because. In the last 25 years or so, those have gone from the functional equivalent of zero (*), to the functional equivalent of a routine shitload.

Make it three balls for a walk, two strikes for a K and you'll get rid of a bunch of them and have a much better game. As a residual, but not insignificant, benefit you will greatly reduce the proportion of pitches thrown by Anonymous Middle Reliever -- history's worst monster.

(*) With the occasional exception of a 3-0 pitch.
   42. Ray (CTL) Posted: February 28, 2018 at 10:51 AM (#5631575)
There have been a number of studies that demonstrate quite conclusively that game time has increased because of the slow pace between pitches Not because of the number of pitches or pitching changes.


No. A small portion of the "problem" is the time between the action; a large portion of the problem is the _action_.

Too many pitches.

Too many pitchers.

Not enough swings.

Not enough balls in play.

The defense doesn't have a chance to make an out on a home run; on a ball; on a foul ball; on a non-strike-three strike.
   43. -- Posted: February 28, 2018 at 10:52 AM (#5631576)
Questec already exists, umpires are already judged on it, and as a result strike zones are probably less idiosyncratic than they've ever been.


The last part doesn't follow from the first two, and isn't actually true.

It's kind of a joke at this point in technological history that baseball fans actually put up with clearly wrong ball-strike calls by the bushelful. It's a massive blight on the game. You have replay breaks and reviews of whether a receiver got his foot down inbounds in a November game between 1-7 Columbia and 2-6 Dartmouth, while at the same time pitches a foot off the plate are called strikes in high-leverage 8th inning ABs in postseason major league baseball games.

Does. Not. Compute.
   44. PreservedFish Posted: February 28, 2018 at 10:53 AM (#5631577)

No. A small portion of the "problem" is the time between the action; a large portion of the problem is the _action_.

Too many pitches.

Too many pitchers.

Not enough balls in play.


Cite please.

   45. PreservedFish Posted: February 28, 2018 at 10:56 AM (#5631580)
Make it three balls for a walk, two strikes for a K and you'll get rid of a bunch of them and have a much better game.


Are you even thinking? 3 balls for a walk, 2 strikes for a K and we might never see another ball put in play in our lifetime. It would give contact hitters Rob Deerian K/BB numbers overnight.

As a residual, but not insignificant, benefit you will greatly reduce the proportion of pitches thrown by Anonymous Middle Reliever -- history's worst monster.


Maybe, but I doubt it. Starters would just get limited to like 80 pitches per game, and relievers would be relieving as much as they do now. Nothing will stem the modern manager's obsession with relievers, except some sort of roster limit.
   46. -- Posted: February 28, 2018 at 10:56 AM (#5631581)
Cite please.


Verducci has done the work, and it's been cited here. Going on memory and these are ballpark guesses, but the down time between balls in play in major league baseball games is up something like 50% in something like 20 years. I'm too lazy right now to get the precise figures.
   47. PreservedFish Posted: February 28, 2018 at 11:05 AM (#5631591)
I haven't seen it. I have seen this, and others like it: "Time between pitches is the primary villain."
   48. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 28, 2018 at 11:09 AM (#5631597)
I will never for the life of me understand the need to argue over whether time between pitches or interruptions in play for mound visits, pitching changes etc. is the "bigger" problem. It's beyond clear that both are significant problems, and that any real solution will need to address both.
   49. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 28, 2018 at 11:14 AM (#5631601)
Unless you want to remove the pitcher.
If you want to remove the pitcher, you don't need to resort to a gimmick; you can just remove the pitcher. (Except in the rare situation where you want to remove him before he faces a batter but when he isn't hurt. If the ump thinks the team is gaming the rules that way, eject the catcher too.)
   50. -- Posted: February 28, 2018 at 11:17 AM (#5631604)
Are you even thinking? 3 balls for a walk, 2 strikes for a K and we might never see another ball put in play in our lifetime.


Of course we would -- batters would swing the bat more.
   51. -- Posted: February 28, 2018 at 11:18 AM (#5631606)
I haven't seen it. I have seen this, and others like it: "Time between pitches is the primary villain."


Both are true. It takes longer to throw a pitch, and there are far fewer balls put into play. They work together to have worked a vast increase in dead time between balls in play.
   52. -- Posted: February 28, 2018 at 11:19 AM (#5631608)
Maybe, but I doubt it. Starters would just get limited to like 80 pitches per game,


That seems highly counterintuitive. Why?
   53. PreservedFish Posted: February 28, 2018 at 11:20 AM (#5631611)
That seems highly counterintuitive. Why?


Because it enables them to throw closer to max effort, and because middle relievers are still superior on a per-inning basis. If you don't get this, it makes me doubtful that you're paying much attention to the trends.
   54. PreservedFish Posted: February 28, 2018 at 11:23 AM (#5631613)

Of course we would -- batters would swing the bat more.


BB and K rates would absolutely skyrocket.
   55. -- Posted: February 28, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5631615)
Because it enables them to throw closer to max effort, and because middle relievers are still superior on a per-inning basis.


But all those numbers are skewed by the fact that it takes 100-110 pitches to get through a starters' outing. If it took a third less, the numbers would be different. Instead of 5-6 innings, starters would go 7-8 and at that point it's buh-bye to Anonymous Middle Reliever.
   56. -- Posted: February 28, 2018 at 11:26 AM (#5631616)
BB and K rates would absolutely skyrocket.


Nope. If hitters made it a practice to swing at all perceived hittable pitches, as they would, BB and K rates would go down. And even if they stayed the same, an AB would be done more quickly.

Letting hittable pitches go by, which used to happen very rarely, has been a big driver of K and BB rates increasing.
   57. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 28, 2018 at 11:26 AM (#5631617)
The pace of play "issue" is not primarily a matter of mound visits or time between pitches or time between innings or getting batters into the box faster.
Yes, it is. That's pretty much definitionally the pace of play issue.
The game has fundamentally changed. There are more walks and strikeouts and fewer balls in play.
And one can legitimately complain about those things on aesthetic grounds, but that's separate from the pace of play issue. A walk may not be a thrilling outcome (most of the time), but it's actual game play. The pitcher wandering around the mound or chatting with the catcher is dead time. To be sure, cutting down on K/BB could reduce game length, but not pace.
   58. PreservedFish Posted: February 28, 2018 at 11:29 AM (#5631621)

Nope. If hitters made it a practice to swing at all perceived hittable pitches, as they would, BB and K rates would go down. And even if they stayed the same, an AB would be done more quickly.

Letting hittable pitches go by, which used to happen very rarely, has been a big driver of K and BB rates increasing.


Ok. I'm not going to engage with you any more on this, because you're trolling or a dolt.
   59. Ray (CTL) Posted: February 28, 2018 at 11:31 AM (#5631622)
If you want to talk about mound visits per se again people are missing the issue even within that subtopic, which even a cursory look at b-r reveals. We're at an all-time high in pitchers on rosters; used per season; used per game. That means that catchers no longer have a small set of pitchers to manage over the course of a season. There are a ton of pitchers cycling in and out, all with different repertoires and pitch types and strengths on pitch type in a given batter/situation. That will automatically increase trips to the mound. Complexity for the catcher has increased. The average team is using upwards of 30 different pitchers per season.

And as to the signs, so many of these short relievers have two pitches. That makes it easier to steal signs -- and more critical to protect signs. That has also increased the number of mound visits by the catcher. If you reduce mound visits by the catcher you throw off the balancing act currently being done to protect signs.

Once again, everywhere you turn you see the issue: the game has radically changed. Starters often going 6 innings at most and then you see teams empty out bullpens, relievers often being used for 1-3 batters, and not across multiple innings. What teams figured out was that reducing workload meant that pitchers could increase velocity and reduce pitch type in their repertoire (or at least usage of a particular pitch) therefore max out on performance. Strikeouts are at an all-time high because of this.

There's a simple way for the league to respond: force pitchers to pitch to a minimum number of batters per inning absent injury. That addresses so much of this.
   60. -- Posted: February 28, 2018 at 11:34 AM (#5631628)
Ok. I'm not going to engage with you any more on this, because you're trolling or a dolt.


You don't think the amount of intentionally taken pitches has skyrocketed over the past 25 years? That number would go down immensely if instead of two strikes left after a gratuitously taken strike, you only had one. (*) Seems self-evident, but if you want to insist it's "trolling," it's at least kind of a free country so have at it.

(*) Look at the numbers for two-strike counts versus one.
   61. PreservedFish Posted: February 28, 2018 at 11:47 AM (#5631648)
There's a simple way for the league to respond: force pitchers to pitch to a minimum number of batters per inning absent injury. That addresses so much of this.


Better solution: reduce the number of pitchers allowed on a roster.
   62. Ray (CTL) Posted: February 28, 2018 at 11:50 AM (#5631652)
Number of pitchers used in AL games in 2017: 417. An all-time high. And not particularly close to 2016 (387). We've set new all-time highs each of the past five years.

   63. PreservedFish Posted: February 28, 2018 at 12:02 PM (#5631662)
That doesn't necessarily speak to pace, however. The monster jump from 2016 to 2017 is likely related to the new 10-day disabled list, which has encouraged new roster shenanigans. Doesn't necessarily slow the game down.

But yes, it's too many pitchers, and we'd all like to see fewer.

I'd like to see numbers on mid-inning pitching changes ... I've seen it asserted here that they have not grown in frequency. That most managers follow the Royals WS example of trying to give relievers clean innings to work through. Booting the starter after the 5th and having 4 relievers throw an inning each is not attractive, but it doesn't hurt pace. (Well, it probably does, because they're likely to be big flamethrowers that pause as long as possible between pitches)
   64. Ray (CTL) Posted: February 28, 2018 at 12:08 PM (#5631668)
Better solution: reduce the number of pitchers allowed on a roster.


Better solution: shoot the manager if he tries to take a pitcher out before he has gone three batters.
   65. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 28, 2018 at 12:15 PM (#5631672)

Number of pitchers used in AL games in 2017: 417. An all-time high. And not particularly close to 2016 (387). We've set new all-time highs each of the past five years.
There are two different factors at work there: number of pitchers on the roster at any one time, and the AAA shuttle. Of course over the last 40 -- if not 30 -- years, the pitching portion of the roster has skyrocketed from 9 or 10 to 12 or 13, but it seems like only in the last couple of years have teams just said \"#### it, we're treating all of these middle relievers as interchangeable. We'll call them up for a week -- or even a weekend -- and then send 'em back, swapping them with other random AAA pitchers."
   66. -- Posted: February 28, 2018 at 12:25 PM (#5631681)
If that many people can do the job of Anonymous Middle Reliever that well -- and that's clearly what the numbers and the AAA shuttle show -- it means the job isn't hard enough. It's no fun when a fan can't even distinguish a major leaguer from so many minor leaguers.
   67. PreservedFish Posted: February 28, 2018 at 12:26 PM (#5631682)
I don't have a problem with the OOGY. It was fun watching Jesse Orosco try and get Barry Bonds. If the manager were limited to some 5 or 6 relievers, then rostering and deploying the OOGY would have an obvious cost. If the team thinks it's worthwhile, then I say, have at it. But now, with 8 relievers and roster rules that allow for cycling pitchers on and off the 25-man roster with such ease, there's not much cost. The OOGY feels gratuitous.
   68. Sunday silence Posted: February 28, 2018 at 05:08 PM (#5631910)
its a really weird thread with people talking right past each other and people stating stuff as facts without any evidence.

Would someone please show us where the number of pitcher per game (or per batter or per inn.) has gone up? or gone up much?

Until you show that, I dont understand how you can link the length of games and/or pace of play to balls in play. Pitchers are still throwing the same number of pitches per game or about the same, not enuf to impact the time of games.

That would have to lead us to conclude that its the time between pitches (and its been shown to be increasing a lot) as the main culprit for lenght of games as well as pace of play.
   69. Ray (CTL) Posted: February 28, 2018 at 05:24 PM (#5631923)
its a really weird thread with people talking right past each other and people stating stuff as facts without any evidence.

Would someone please show us where the number of pitcher per game (or per batter or per inn.) has gone up? or gone up much?

Until you show that, I dont understand how you can link the length of games and/or pace of play to balls in play. Pitchers are still throwing the same number of pitches per game or about the same, not enuf to impact the time of games.

That would have to lead us to conclude that its the time between pitches (and its been shown to be increasing a lot) as the main culprit for lenght of games as well as pace of play.


Here you go. That's for the AL but let's take the AL.

Pitches per PA has steadily increased since 1999 when b-r first has the data, from 3.76 to a high of 3.91 in 2017.

In that same period pitchers per game has increased from 3.52 to 4.18. For this we have pre-1999 data and each of the last four years set an all-time high.

The 3:10 in average game time in 2017 is at an all-time high.

What's being disputed here, exactly?
   70. Ray (CTL) Posted: February 28, 2018 at 05:31 PM (#5631928)
From the same link AL teams are now using an average of 25 pitchers per season, which is an all-time high and each of the last four years has been an all-time high.
   71. cardsfanboy Posted: February 28, 2018 at 07:19 PM (#5631987)
itches per PA has steadily increased since 1999 when b-r first has the data, from 3.76 to a high of 3.91 in 2017.

In that same period pitchers per game has increased from 3.52 to 4.18. For this we have pre-1999 data and each of the last four years set an all-time high.

The 3:10 in average game time in 2017 is at an all-time high.

What's being disputed here, exactly?


Using your link, in 1999 there was an average of 294 pitches per game and the average game time was 2 hours and 59 minutes. (3.76 pitches per pa, and 78.2 pa per game = 294.032 pitches per game) vs in 2017 there were 297.6 pitches per game and the average game time was 3 hours and 10 minutes.... by your numbers, there has been an increase of .6 pitcher per game, per team, meaning that in most games there is about 1.32 pitching changes...A pitching change is roughly 2 minutes, so on average the increase in pitchers is around three minute increase in the time of the game....so you are arguing that the other 8 minutes increase time is those extra three pitches per game..... Doesn't that scream to you that maybe we need to decrease the time in between pitches?
   72. cardsfanboy Posted: February 28, 2018 at 07:27 PM (#5631995)
I'm all for trying to encourage a more traditional style of baseball (more balls in play, fewer nameless relievers etc....) but that is an aesthetic issue and not a pace of play issue. The number one culprit for increased game time, is also the number one culprit for pace of play, and that is too much farting around between pitches whether it's the pitcher or batter, and it has the simplest solution, a pitch clock enforced by the umpire and backed by the league.

I support other solutions to encourage more balls in play, but that isn't going to change anything until you start forcing teams and batters to pitch and bat in a timely manner.
   73. Sunday silence Posted: February 28, 2018 at 09:13 PM (#5632039)

From the same link AL teams are now using an average of 25 pitchers per season, which is an all-time high and each of the last four years has been an all-time high


you have an annoying habit of throwing in "make weight" arguments that have nothing to do with the main point and are just confusing. The number of pitchers used in a season should have nothing to do with the number of pitches thrown per game, or per inn. etc.

If your argument is that the greater number of pitchers puts more of a burden on catchers and managing said pitchers, well that's an interesting argument to make but you havent really any proof of this right? You'd have to like compare teams with different sizes of pitching staffs and see if there was some correlation there. My guess is that this is another argument that you didnt spend much time but just threw it out there.
   74. Sunday silence Posted: February 28, 2018 at 09:24 PM (#5632042)
the average time between pitches is now 23.8 sec.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2714961-the-worst-offenders-of-baseballs-biggest-problem-the-games-still-too-slow

Its not unreasonable to think that say in 1950 pitchers were delivering the ball in maybe 12 sec. this would account for just about a one hour increase in game times. This is a lot more reasonable explanation than balls in play, or pitcher substitutions or enlarged pitching staffs.

I mean do you really think you are going to find a strong correlation between balls in play or pitcher substitutions going back the last 60+ years and find an hour of difference that increases in a steady fashion like that. Well go ahead, good luck finding it.

Even though we have no compiled data, it is still possible to view old footage of playoff games going back at least to mid 1960s and determine how much faster pitchers were delivering the ball.
   75. Sunday silence Posted: February 28, 2018 at 09:31 PM (#5632045)

In that same period pitchers per game has increased from 3.52 to 4.18. For this we have pre-1999 data and each of the last four years set an all-time high.

The 3:10 in average game time in 2017 is at an all-time high.


Is this meant to be an argument here? HR are also at an all time high. So are strike outs. So if I put that out there in quotes and say game times are at an all time high then that's a legitimate argument?

This is not a intellectually honest argument.
   76. SoSH U at work Posted: February 28, 2018 at 09:40 PM (#5632051)
In that same period pitchers per game has increased from 3.52 to 4.18. For this we have pre-1999 data and each of the last four years set an all-time high.


In addition to what others have said, I don't believe that mid-inning pitching changes (the kind that add length to games) have risen. More of the changes are coming at the start of innings, which don't add much, if any, to the time.
   77. cardsfanboy Posted: February 28, 2018 at 09:57 PM (#5632064)

In addition to what others have said, I don't believe that mid-inning pitching changes (the kind that add length to games) have risen. More of the changes are coming at the start of innings, which don't add much, if any, to the time.


I've argued that mid-inning pitcher changes don't happen any more frequently than in the past, I'll fully admit three things that I was wrong on my original argument....that argument does not hold water at all in September....two, the increase of pitchers per games means that there is probably a slight increase of number of mid inning pitcher changes(but I don't think it's that big) and three, the addition of the DH alone probably increased mid-inning pitching changes more than anything that has happened since then...but if you are comparing 1980 to 2017 in the AL, I would not be surprised at all to find that the number of mid inning pitcher changes per pitcher in the game has actually decreased as a rate over the years, but that the number of mid-inning pitching changes is probably pretty close to what it was from the mid-70's to now.
   78. Ray (CTL) Posted: February 28, 2018 at 10:03 PM (#5632067)
From the same link AL teams are now using an average of 25 pitchers per season, which is an all-time high and each of the last four years has been an all-time high

you have an annoying habit of throwing in "make weight" arguments that have nothing to do with the main point and are just confusing. The number of pitchers used in a season should have nothing to do with the number of pitches thrown per game, or per inn. etc.


I put that in a separate post for a reason. It related to my post 59, in which I was making a different point.
   79. Ray (CTL) Posted: February 28, 2018 at 10:06 PM (#5632069)
In that same period pitchers per game has increased from 3.52 to 4.18. For this we have pre-1999 data and each of the last four years set an all-time high.

The 3:10 in average game time in 2017 is at an all-time high.


Is this meant to be an argument here?


You seem weirdly combative. I was providing you with the data because you didn't have it. You asked:

Would someone please show us where the number of pitcher per game (or per batter or per inn.) has gone up? or gone up much?
   80. Sunday silence Posted: March 01, 2018 at 05:12 AM (#5632144)
Oh OK that makes sense, sorry Ray.
   81. PreservedFish Posted: March 01, 2018 at 09:28 AM (#5632192)
cfb:
Using your link, in 1999 there was an average of 294 pitches per game and the average game time was 2 hours and 59 minutes. (3.76 pitches per pa, and 78.2 pa per game = 294.032 pitches per game) vs in 2017 there were 297.6 pitches per game and the average game time was 3 hours and 10 minutes.... by your numbers, there has been an increase of .6 pitcher per game, per team, meaning that in most games there is about 1.32 pitching changes...A pitching change is roughly 2 minutes, so on average the increase in pitchers is around three minute increase in the time of the game....so you are arguing that the other 8 minutes increase time is those extra three pitches per game..... Doesn't that scream to you that maybe we need to decrease the time in between pitches?


Thank you.

Sunday Silence:

Its not unreasonable to think that say in 1950 pitchers were delivering the ball in maybe 12 sec. this would account for just about a one hour increase in game times. This is a lot more reasonable explanation than balls in play, or pitcher substitutions or enlarged pitching staffs.


Thank you.

Ray's argument (that the primary problem is personalized strike zones) is probably only the third worst idea I've heard in the last week, but that's only because Trump and Manfred have advanced proposals of epochal insanity.
   82. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 01, 2018 at 09:56 AM (#5632216)
I agree that time between pitches is by far the biggest problem, and that mound visits and pitching changes make less of an impact on pace/length (which people continue to conflate). But I would borrow from the concept of Leverage Index to point out this: pitches are (duh) spaced evenly across the game, while pitching changes and mound visits disproportionately take place when things are happening. They disrupt the flow of the game at the worst possible times.


(Although I wouldn't be shocked if pitchers work even slower than normal in delivering pitches in high leverage situations.)
   83. PreservedFish Posted: March 01, 2018 at 10:07 AM (#5632226)
Can't disagree with that.
   84. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 01, 2018 at 10:47 AM (#5632239)
What kind of jackass can't disagree with something he reads on the internet?
   85. PreservedFish Posted: March 01, 2018 at 11:07 AM (#5632252)
Whatever, dickwad.
   86. Ray (CTL) Posted: March 01, 2018 at 11:43 AM (#5632294)
Ray's argument (that the primary problem is personalized strike zones) is probably only the third worst idea I've heard in the last week, but that's only because Trump and Manfred have advanced proposals of epochal insanity.


Mmm I didn't say that was the primary problem.

The primary problem is the race to the bottom: lowering every pitcher's workload, with relievers often going one batter, which has led to the proliferation of relievers and shorter outings per starter and per reliever, from which everything else flows.
   87. SoSH U at work Posted: March 01, 2018 at 12:03 PM (#5632317)
The primary problem is the race to the bottom: lowering every pitcher's workload, with relievers often going one batter, which has led to the proliferation of relievers and shorter outings per starter and per reliever, from which everything else flows.


Repeating what I said earlier, do you have evidence we're seeing more mid-inning pitching changes? The only data I can find showed that mid-inning pitching changes peaked around 1994-99 (with about 2.2 per game), and bounced around from the 2.0 mark from then until 2013. It seems a lot of the increased reliever issue is being absorbed by the preference for the clean-inning model for relievers beyond the closer, and thus shouldn't have a bearing on the length of the game.
   88. PreservedFish Posted: March 01, 2018 at 12:19 PM (#5632329)
I don't know how to look at pbp stats. But I just looked at 2017 and 2007 season stats. This is all pitchers with 20 IP in a year.

2017 had 7 men that averaged fewer than 2 outs or fewer per plate appearance. Those dudes averaged 55 appearances.
2007 had 9 men that averaged fewer than 2 outs or fewer per plate appearance. Those dudes averaged 65 appearances.


2017 had 27 men that averaged fewer than 2.5 outs per plate appearance. Those dudes averaged 57 appearances.
2007 had 40 men that averaged fewer than 2.5 outs per plate appearance. Those dudes averaged 62 appearances.


This isn't definitive of course, because it doesn't track actual one-out appearances, and it ignores the guys that were only up for a fraction of the year. But it jibes with my impression that there are fewer LOOGYs than there used to be.
   89. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 01, 2018 at 12:23 PM (#5632335)
I would be curious to see data on how many innings have multiple pitching changes over the years. Maybe mid-inning pitching changes aren't going up overall, but it seems like managers are more willing to inflict the four-pitchers-for-four-batters crap than ever before.
   90. PreservedFish Posted: March 01, 2018 at 12:25 PM (#5632337)
OK, here's a better way to look at it. This includes all pitchers.

In 2017, there was a total of 265 innings pitched by relievers that averaged fewer than 2 outs per appearance.
In 2007, there was a total of 400 innings pitched by relievers that averaged fewer than 2 outs per appearance.

In 2017, there was a total of 1,472 innings pitched by relievers that averaged fewer than 2.5 outs per appearance.
In 2007, there was a total of 1,980 innings pitched by relievers that averaged fewer than 2.5 outs per appearance.
   91. PreservedFish Posted: March 01, 2018 at 12:29 PM (#5632342)
So, going back to Ray's statement:

The primary problem is the race to the bottom: lowering every pitcher's workload, with relievers often going one batter, which has led to the proliferation of relievers and shorter outings per starter and per reliever, from which everything else flows.


Yes and no. There's clearly a race to the bottom with starter workloads. Anyone that watched the postseason saw this in action, big time.

But there's no race to the bottom with reliever workloads. Teams seem to have settled on one inning, more or less, as an ideal amount of time for a reliever to go at it.

I would be curious to see data on how many innings have multiple pitching changes over the years. Maybe mid-inning pitching changes aren't going up overall, but it seems like managers are more willing to inflict the four-pitchers-for-four-batters crap than ever before.


What I've noticed is that when this happens, it tends to happen in the 6th inning. Teams have their top relievers going at the end of the game that they try and give clean innings to. But if your starter is out early, they'll either mix and match with the guys they don't trust, or they'll let the 12th man go multiple innings and then they'll DL him after the game with a fictional malady so they can have a totally fresh mop-up guy ready to rock the next day.
   92. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 01, 2018 at 12:31 PM (#5632343)
So, going back to Ray's statement:

The primary problem is the race to the bottom: lowering every pitcher's workload, with relievers often going one batter, which has led to the proliferation of relievers and shorter outings per starter and per reliever, from which everything else flows.


Yes and no.

Hey, I'm just amazed that a doctrinaire libertarian even acknowledges such a thing as a race to the bottom.
   93. Ray (CTL) Posted: March 01, 2018 at 12:39 PM (#5632352)
Closers are typically getting fresh innings. Often setup men. In the 6th and 7th innings it seems that all bets are off. Starters are typically allowed to go batter-by-batter in the last inning before they're pulled; that often results in at least one mid-inning pitching change.

At least that's my impression.
   94. PreservedFish Posted: March 01, 2018 at 12:46 PM (#5632355)
Starters are typically allowed to go batter-by-batter in the last inning before they're pulled; that often results in at least one mid-inning pitching change.


But this has been true forever.

The point is that all of this is a sideshow to the true problem, which is that players STAND AROUND AND DO NOTHING on an unprecedented scale, and it happens after every single pitch. If you bothered to examine this at all you would see that this is true.
   95. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 01, 2018 at 01:04 PM (#5632369)
Guys...as I said before, there is not one "true problem." The dicking around between pitches is a true problem, AND the number of interruptions in play is a true problem. Why do people keep arguing over which is bigger? It's not like both can't be solved, and it's not like MLB is trying to solve either of them.
   96. Greg Pope Posted: March 01, 2018 at 01:17 PM (#5632379)
Why do people keep arguing over which is bigger? It's not like both can't be solved, and it's not like MLB is trying to solve either of them.

Because it's blatantly obvious that one of them is much, much bigger. Between-pitch-time is it.

And while you're correct in that MLB is not trying to solve either problem, one of them is incredibly easy to solve while the other one is not. Cutting down on pitching changes requires some real changes to the rule book and how the game is played, including roster construction. Cutting down on time between pitches requires only a pitch clock and doesn't result in any actual differences.

It's mind-boggling that MLB has a big problem which has an easy solution and they're doing nothing.
   97. PreservedFish Posted: March 01, 2018 at 01:23 PM (#5632383)
What the Pope said.

I think that strictly limiting in-inning pitching changes wouldn't save more than 5 minutes a game. And it would require huge, significant rules changes that I don't like. And it doesn't improve pace, just game length.

Strictly limiting or wholly eliminating mound visits wouldn't save more than about 2 minutes a game. It would improve pace and game length both, but not by much.

Somehow magically returning the game to the pre-steroid era where hitters didn't all have the Giambi approach would probably save 10 minutes. And it's impossible. And it doesn't improve pace. Just game length.

But getting the pitcher to deliver the ball less than 15 seconds after the last one would save something like 40 minutes per game, and requires zero rule changes, and improves both pace and game length. Any minute that is spent thinking about the first three options is a minute misused. They're distractions.
   98. Ray (CTL) Posted: March 01, 2018 at 01:31 PM (#5632390)
I agree that time between pitches is by far the biggest problem, and that mound visits and pitching changes make less of an impact on pace/length (which people continue to conflate).


I'm not sure why the distinction matters. Pace didn't become an issue until length did.

Does the NFL have a major "pace of game" problem? They take 40-whatever seconds off between each play. What they primarily have is a break problem: too many breaks in the action, after a FG, after a TD, after a kickoff, after a turnover, etc. Those are akin to mid-inning pitching changes.

Fix the problems I've identified and suddenly nobody cares again how long a batter is wandering around scratching his balls.
   99. PreservedFish Posted: March 01, 2018 at 01:41 PM (#5632399)
Does the NFL have a major "pace of game" problem? They take 40-whatever seconds off between each play.


But they use those 40 seconds really well. Tons of replays, analysis, etc.

And heck, it takes about 20 seconds just to get the teams back into formation. They need those seconds. MLB players need ... 5 seconds? I think it's likely that MLB has more wasted time even if it only averages 23 seconds between plays, or whatever.
   100. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 01, 2018 at 01:44 PM (#5632402)
I think that strictly limiting in-inning pitching changes wouldn't save more than 5 minutes a game. And it would require huge, significant rules changes that I don't like. And it doesn't improve pace, just game length.
Not true - one very simple rule would not entirely solve the mid-inning pitching change problem, but it would go a long way: A pitcher other than the starting pitcher cannot be removed mid-inning if he retired the previous batter.
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