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Pitch Clock Newsbeat

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

How the pitch clock can revive the stolen base

When we talk about speed with regard to the pitch clock, we are typically talking about the pace of game. In this first season of use throughout the Minors, the pitch clock—a 14-second timer with no runners on base, 18 seconds (or 19 in Triple-A) with runners on—has cut the average game time by 25 minutes, from an even three hours in 2021 to 2:35 at last check.

But the pickoff/step-off rule paired with the pitch clock has injected speed of a different sort into MiLB. Last season, an experimentation with pickoff and step-off limits at the A-ball level and larger bases at the Triple-A level contributed to a rise in both stolen-base attempts and the stolen-base success rate.

This year, with the mound disengagement limits, pitch clock and bigger bases imposed across the full-season Minor Leagues, the uptick in action on the basepaths has continued:

2019: 2.23 (68.2)
2021: 2.52 (75.7)
2022: 2.85 (77.6)
No MiLB season in 2020 due to pandemic; 2022 figures reflect totals since April 15th, when ball-strike penalties began to be enforced

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 15, 2022 at 08:27 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: pitch clock

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Pitch clock shaving 20 minutes off minor league games while scoring nearly same; stage set for MLB introduction in 2023

The implementation of a strict pitch clock across Minor League Baseball has shaved 20 minutes off game times, dramatically speeding up the pace while not having a demonstrable effect on scoring and setting the stage for the Major League Baseball to implement a clock in the 2023 season.

Over the first 132 minor league games that included a 14-second clock with the bases empty, 18-second clock with runners on and penalties for pitchers and hitters that run afoul of it, the average game time was 2 hours, 39 minutes. In a control set of 335 games run without the clock to begin the season, games lasted an average of 2 hours, 59 minutes—around the same 3-hour, 3-minute average in 5,000-plus non-clock games during the 2021 season.

More than one-third of minor league games over the three-day sample with the clock ended in less than 2 hours, 30 minutes, including one game that finished in 1 hour, 59 minutes and another in 2 hours. Twenty-seven percent of games fell within the 2:30 to 2:40 range—nearly three times the percentage in 2021. Only 15% of games exceeded three hours, compared to 52% of games last season with no timer in place.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 19, 2022 at 03:01 PM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: pitch clock

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

MLB’s runner-on-second in extras rule reportedly could return; league testing ball-strike challenge in minors

The extra-innings ghost-runner rule may not be going away just yet. MLB and the MLBPA are discussing bringing the rule, which places a runner at second base at the beginning of every half-inning after the ninth inning, back as part of the league’s health and safety protocols for the 2022 season, report The Athletic’s Matt Gelb and Jayson Stark.

No agreement has been reached on the tiebreaker rule or the healthy and safety protocols in general, though several players told Gelb and Stark they expect the rule to return in 2022. MLB and the MLBPA agreed to do away with the rule, as well as seven-inning doubleheader games, as part of the new collective bargaining agreement. The healthy and safety protocols are expected to be announced later this week….

Here are the rules that will be tested in the minors this season:

Pitch timer: Timers will be used at every level. MLB has tested pitch clocks at different levels using different time limits over the years, including a 17-second clock in Low-A last season. MLB is said to be seeking a 14-second pitch clock with the bases empty and a 19-second pitch clock with men on base at the big-league level in 2023.

Larger bases: Bases will be increased from 15 inches by 15 inches to 18 inches by 18 inches at every level. The larger bases were used at Triple-A last season. The intention is cutting down on collisions and injuries, and and promoting aggressive baserunning by shortening the distance between bases. This is another rule MLB would like implemented in the majors in 2023.

Defensive position: Otherwise known as a ban on field shifts. At Double-A, High-A, and Low-A, the defense must keep four players on the infield with two completely on either side of second base. Last year different versions of the shift ban were tested at Double-A, including keeping four fielders on the infield without mandating which side of the second base they could play.

Automated strike zone: The automated ball-strike (ABS) technology will be used in “select games” at Triple-A and Low-A. In Low-A, there will be “challenge” games with a human umpire in which the pitcher, catcher, and batter can appeal the umpire’s call to ABS. Each team will receive three challenges per game and retain any successful appeals. Baseball’s replay process can be tedious, though Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper says the appeal to ABS should only take about five seconds.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 15, 2022 at 10:28 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: extra inning rule, pitch clock

Sunday, March 06, 2022

Sources: MLB eyes pitch clocks of 14 seconds with empty bases, 19 seconds with runners on

Major League Baseball wants to institute a 14-second pitch clock with the bases empty and a 19-second timer with runners on, according to sources familiar with the situation.

The two numbers were settled on after experiments in the minor leagues, including in low-A in 2021, in which game times were cut by about 20 minutes. The minor leagues used 15-second and 17-second clocks, but MLB determined less time was needed for pitchers with the bases empty and more time with them occupied, according to sources, hence landing on 14/19.

The desire for a clock comes after years of increasing game times, culminating last season, when the average length of a nine-inning game was a record 3 hours, 10 minutes. That’s 20 minutes longer than just a decade ago, when the average length was 2:50.

Games in low-A West last year were reduced from 3:02 to 2:41 with the clock. There have been some mixed results with pitch clocks at different levels of professional baseball, but the league believes it can only help speed up the big league product.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 06, 2022 at 04:40 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: pitch clock



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