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Jim Furtado
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Rule Changes Newsbeat

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

‘Strategy Is Sacred’: MLB Managers Weigh in on New Pitching Rule

SAN DIEGO — The Big 3 free-agent sweepstakes, the Astros sign-stealing investigation and the election of two new Hall of Famers dominated the news cycle at last week’s Winter Meetings.

And in the same press conference that he addressed these page-one topics, commissioner Rob Manfred said he expects the proposed rule changes from last offseason will be implemented for the 2020 season, among them a three-batter minimum rule for pitchers per appearance unless they record the last out of an inning first.

These new rules also include adding a 26th man to the active roster, limiting roster expansion in September to 28 players and returning the duration a player must spend on the injured list from 10 to 15 days.

All of the changes will impact every team but none has the potential to affect the game quite like the three-batter minimum. The purpose of the rule is to eliminate some of the inaction that comes with every manager stroll out to the mound, every jog (or cart ride) in the from the bullpen and every set of warm-up pitches thrown before play resumes. How much dead time this rule will actually slash is debatable—relief appearances of one or two batters hit an 11-year low in 2019, in part because analytics has de-emphasized platoon pitching matchups—but there’s no question that it limits how managers can use their pitching staff each game.

In case any of you were wondering why more substantive change in MLB seems to be impossible…..


QLE Posted: December 18, 2019 at 01:57 AM | 186 comment(s)
  Beats: managers, pitching change, rule changes

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Why MLB’s New Pitching Restrictions Are Bad for the Game

The worst, most unnecessary baseball rule foisted upon managers and true fans of the game has not been implemented yet. There is still time and hope.

MLB announced almost a year ago a plan that all pitchers must face a minimum of three batters per appearance or pitch to the end of the half inning. The MLB Players Association agreed not to challenge the rule as part of negotiations involving roster size and scheduling.

On its website MLB explained the rule is “an effort to reduce the number of pitching changes and, in turn, cut down the average time per game.”

To go all 19th century on you, that is pure poppycock. The rule will do great harm to the organic strategy of the game and do nothing perceptible to time of game.

Mind you, at this point many of us are inclined to hold any argument Tom Verducci makes as suspect, so….


QLE Posted: December 04, 2019 at 03:55 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: pitching, rule changes, the sky is falling

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Everything to Know About MLB’s New Rules in 2020

Back in March, MLB announced a set of new rules to be rolled out across 2019 and 2020. There wasn’t too much to watch in the ones rolled out this past season—what, you weren’t monitoring the drop in mound visits?—but there’s some meatier stuff on deck for 2020. So what do you have to watch out for, and what could it mean for teams’ needs this offseason? Here’s what you need to know, rule by rule:

New Rule: The active roster size with increase from 25 players to 26. Then, in September, the roster will expand up to 28, rather than 40.

How Much It Will Matter: Not a whole ton. Of course, there’s value in an extra man, but it’s hard to envision this bringing any particular shift in strategy or roster construction—especially since teams already have so much movement with shuttling guys between Triple A and the Show, and on and off the 10-day IL, that any “26th man” likely already had decent playing time. As for the difference in September, it should cut down on the worst offenders when it comes to crazy ‘pen parades (and, sadly, the best ones when it comes to minor-league lifers finally getting their chance in the big leagues) but that shouldn’t be felt particularly hard, either, as most teams’ September rosters already sat closer to 28 than 40.

What To Watch Out For: What will we be able to learn from how teams allocate that spot? Who goes for an extra bat, versus a defensive specialist, versus a third catcher? (If your guess was “extra reliever”… more on the new pitching rules in a moment!) Will there be a consensus trend? Or will we see a bit of everything?

So, what do we think of these changes?


QLE Posted: November 16, 2019 at 12:27 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: rule changes

Requiem for a LOOGY: The problem with baseball’s latest pace-of-play solution

Let’s say you worked your entire life as a car mechanic. It’s been a good gig. The pay was enough to make rent and save for the kids’ college. There were laughs and friendships at the garage. You were a decent mechanic, too — from bumper to bumper could do it all with a reasonable level of skill and efficiency.

Only, a few years back, you discovered you were really good at fixing clutches. You understood clutches. They understood you, too. So you specialized and got even better. Maybe you even invented new stuff for clutches that only you got, so you were kind of irreplaceable. Promotions came and with them raises. The kids might not have to go to State after all. Little Becky is whip smart and you can afford the private school a couple states over. All because you were a whiz at clutches.

Then, one day, there were no more clutches. They were gone. Technology or tariffs, or something. And seeing as cars had changed a bunch over the past decade or so, you didn’t really know much about the rest of them. You were a clutch guy. All the garages in town already had plenty of regular mechanics and nobody needed a clutch specialist anymore.

So you thought it over. You could go back to school, learn about the other parts of cars, but that would take years, and rent’s due in three weeks, and Becky’s a sophomore at Holy Something or Bryn Something, and nobody ever promised clutches would be around forever but why wouldn’t there be clutches when there are still cars, and now what?

Would it be too callow for me to point out that this sort of thing has happened numerous times throughout history, and that it usually happened to people who contributed far more to society than mediocre relief pitchers?


QLE Posted: November 16, 2019 at 12:16 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: loogy, rule changes

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Proposed Atlantic League mound distance change creates uncertainty for players and league

Garrett Granitz doesn’t buy into professional baseball’s velocity obsession. In fact, he occupies a niche created by it.

Instead of trying to blow fastballs by batters like many professional pitchers nowadays, Granitz, a Lancaster Barnstormers reliever this season, relies mostly on deception created by strong offspeed pitches and his unorthodox, submarine-style delivery.

So Granitz isn’t too worried about the idea of losing a few miles per hour off his fastball if the Atlantic League moves the pitching rubber back from 60.5 feet to 62.5 feet as part of an agreement with Major League Baseball.

The logistic aspects of the idea, though, cause more uncertainty.

A discussion of a rule change that no one is sure will ever be put into force.


QLE Posted: September 11, 2019 at 03:53 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: atlantic league, moving the rubber, rule changes




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