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Rule Changes Newsbeat

Friday, March 27, 2020

Baseball Question of the Day: If you could change one rule, what would it be?

Today’s first baseball question — our unofficial one — was about your favorite Opening Day memory. Let’s have do a standalone question. It’s an oldie but a goldie — one that I’ve been asked a million times before but which I think everyone has an opinion about — and it’s this: if you could change one rule in the game, what would it be?

For this let’s keep it to an actual rule. I’m not asking about the circumstances of the game, what cities you’d expand to, how you would realign the league or how you would change the playoffs. We can do those on other days. For this I want to know about something in the rule book or the official scoring or what have you.

Also, let’s once again not include the DH. There is nothing more predictable and rote than DH/anti-DH arguments. It really does get old to do that for the 10,000th time. Most of us know 100% of what you’re gonna say about the DH the moment you start saying it. All we need to know is if you’re pro or con. I’d rather argue about religion or politics.

All right, what sort of new rulebook could we come up with after all of our potential changes?

 

QLE Posted: March 27, 2020 at 12:58 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: rule changes, rules

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Inside MLB’s Plan to Crack Down on Cheating

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The cleanup in baseball is about to begin. In the wake of the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal, Major League Baseball is informing clubs about planned in-game protocols to bar non-uniformed personnel from the clubhouse, close video rooms, turn off all live video feeds except for the replay review monitor, and crack down on the use of “engineered” substance mixtures by pitchers specifically designed to create more spin, not just a better grip—all under the threats of suspensions or firings.

No final decisions have been made. MLB is working with the players association to establish enhanced protocols by Opening Day. Special assistant to the commissioner Joe Torre and Senior Vice President Chris Young have been telling teams to prepare for the crackdowns while they visit staffs in Arizona and Florida.

“We’re not as far apart with the players association as you might think,” Young said. “[Angels manager] Joe Maddon said it best: we need to return the game to being decided on the field rather than what’s going on behind it.”

Under MLB’s proposed plans, according to several managers and coaches who have heard the presentation, access to the dugout and clubhouse during the game will be limited to players, seven coaches and necessary interpreters and trainers. The measure will be “seriously policed” by an increase in MLB security agents, according to one club staff member present at one of the meetings. Under that proposal, front office staff members—or in the case of the Houston scandal, what commissioner Rob Manfred called the “lower-level baseball operations employees” who originated and executed the scheme—are banned from the clubhouse during games. Such employees often work in video rooms or set up laptops in the clubhouse during games.

Is it just me, or do a lot of these seem to be ducking the real issues when there are simpler moves that could be made?

 

QLE Posted: March 03, 2020 at 01:13 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: dirty rotten cheaters, rule changes, video review

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Some of the New Roster Rules Are Garbage

On Wednesday, Major League Baseball made official a handful of rule changes that had been in the works for nearly a year. In case you missed it while following the latest twists and turns of the Astros’ sign-stealing saga or the excitement of pitchers and catchers reporting, here’s the full press release, which spares us from having to retype it:

...

The three-batter minimum rule — and the existential threat it poses to lefty specialists — has been the most discussed of these changes. Our own Ben Clemens illustrated that it won’t matter all that much, a conclusion supported by Sam Miller’s examination, while other analysis such as this article by Tom Verducci and this one by Cliff Corcoran suggest it could have a negative impact.

The changes to the injured list and the service time tradeoffs that come with the permanent 26th man and the limited September roster size can bear closer analysis, but the rules that have my attention today — and this should be no surprise if you’ve been reading my work here — are the ones concerning position players and two-way players. By themselves, they won’t amount to much, and while they do close the loopholes that come with the 13-pitcher limitations on the new 26-man rosters, those are some pretty narrow loopholes to begin with. What they really do is stamp out a bit of novelty, not that the sport needs further encroachment by the Fun Police.

Traditionally, a position player pitching appearance has been a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency desperation move (generally in extra innings) or a lighthearted farce that draws attention away from an otherwise unpleasant blowout. Through some combination of higher-scoring games, higher per-game totals of relievers, concerns about reliever workloads, the reduced stigma of this particular maneuver, and — a factor I had not previously considered, but one Craig Edwards brought to light — an increasing number of noncompetitive games caused by a lack of competitive balance — the rate of such appearances has accelerated in recent years. Depending upon how you feel about the trend, last year marked either the peak or the nadir of the position player pitching phenomenon:

Maybe it’s just me, but the changes to the September call-up rules strike me as being a far bigger issue than this.

 


Thursday, February 13, 2020

MLB OKs 3-batter minimum among rule changes

NEW YORK—Major League Baseball went ahead with its planned rules changes for this season, including the requirement a pitcher must face at least three batters or end the half-inning, unless he is hurt.

The changes were agreed to by MLB and the players’ association last March 8, subject to the study of a joint committee. The three-batter minimum will start in spring training games on March 12.

There were 2,162 pitching appearances of three batters or fewer last year, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, but 1,471 of them finished with the end of a half-inning or a game.

The active roster limit will increase by one to 26 from Opening Day through Aug. 31, will drop from 40 to 28 through the end of the regular season and return to 26 for the postseason. Each team may have a maximum 13 pitchers through Aug. 31 and during the postseason, and 14 from Sept. 1 through the end of the regular season.

So, how many of these changes do we hate already?

 

QLE Posted: February 13, 2020 at 12:28 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: injured list, rosters, rule changes, three-batter minimum, two-way players, video review

Monday, February 03, 2020

Despite all of the new rules changes, baseball’s real issues will go unsolved

The Super Bowl is today. Yes, you’re still reading our baseball site. Don’t worry. What I mean by pointing out that the Super Bowl is today is that once the final pass is thrown and the last knee is taken, we’ll be in the nascent hours of baseball season. Pitchers and catchers are just around the corner. Baseball will be upon us, and with it will come all of the complications that baseball seems to revel in.

What are those complications, though? That depends on who you ask.

Let’s ask Rob Manfred. As the league’s commissioner, Manfred has been good at keeping busy. When he’s not getting into blistering PR wars with Minor League Baseball, Manfred enjoys futzing around with the game’s rules and begrudgingly telling the owners he works for to stop acting out. A three batter minimum here, a little allowing Jim Crane to look like the good guy there. When he’s feeling particularly frisky, he might even set up a recurring series of games in London at a venue that makes Coors Field look like a pitcher’s paradise. It’s hard work but someone’s got to do it. And hey, baseball just enjoyed record revenues! By what the owners judge to be the most important metric of all, the bottom line, he’s doing his job.

What Manfred doesn’t seem particularly interested in is the actual main issue plaguing the sport. The institution of baseball doesn’t seem to be all that interested in the game of baseball. The league and the owners care much more about short-term profit than they do about the health of the game. That may feel like a harsh claim, but there are increasingly fewer reasons to feel otherwise.

A consideration of leadership, or a lack thereof…..

 

QLE Posted: February 03, 2020 at 12:21 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: manfred is thinking about it, rule changes, the sky is falling

Thursday, January 30, 2020

MLB rule changes 2020: Phillies most affected by the new 3-batter rule

MLB’s new three-batter rule for relievers should have a fairly significant impact on the way managers manage and pitching coaches handle their bullpens.

To review, the new rule is that a pitcher entering after the starting pitcher must face at least three batters or pitch to the end of the current inning. So, for example, if Adam Morgan comes in with two on and two outs in the sixth inning and gets the third out, he does not need to come back out for the seventh.

This rule will obviously most affect relief specialists. Let’s use Jose Alvarez as an example. Last season, Alvarez was one of the few Phillies pitchers who didn’t take a step back from the prior year. He had a 3.36 ERA in 67 appearances. In 14 of those appearances, Alvarez faced one or two batters. It’s why he amassed just 59 innings in those 67 appearances.

As best as they could, the Phillies tried to avoid having Alvarez face right-handed hitters. But it still happened frequently because there are more righties than lefties and because other teams routinely try to gain the platoon advantage by pinch-hitting.

Wait- this is a bad thing?

 

QLE Posted: January 30, 2020 at 01:32 AM | 126 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, pitching, rule changes

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

 

 

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