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MLB News: More Pace Of Play Rules Expected For 2018



Pace of play has been one of the most talked about aspects in baseball over the last few seasons. Speeding up the game to appeal to more people has become a focal point. Today it was reported by Jon Morosi that a pitch clock and a limit on mound visits are the main topics on the agenda.

While it’s unclear what rules could take effect, Morosi noted that the MLB could push for a 20-second pitch clock. The pitch clock has been in the minor leagues for a few seasons now, and has worked well. Adding a pitch clock was mentioned earlier in the offseason, and while it could speed up games it could also cause issues. Buster Olney noted back in November that a 20-second limit would be a big jump for some pitchers, Pedro Baez being a good example.

According to data published by Fangraphs, no starting pitcher who qualified for the ERA title averaged under 20 seconds between pitches in 2017; the average was about 23.5 seconds. Pedro Baez of the Dodgers was the slowest-working reliever at 31.1 seconds between pitches.

As for limiting catcher mound visits, it seems less likely but will still be pushed for. While it could speed up games, it could cause communication issues between pitcher and catcher. While it remains a possibility, Morosi noted that the same rule was brought up last offseason and was shot down.

Last offseason, MLB proposed a limit of one mound visit by a catcher per pitcher, per inning, as first reported by USA Today. The MLBPA raised concerns, including the risk of cross-ups between pitchers and catchers. Many mound visits occur because catchers feel compelled to change signs to prevent baserunners from relaying signs to hitters; without those conversations, the MLBPA has suggested confusion could put catchers — and umpires — at increased risk of being hit by pitches.

One more potential rule change that was mentioned by Morosi was potentially moving the strikezone. This would include moving the bottom of the zone to the top of the hitter’s kneecap. While this could also help speed up games, it appears unlikely to happen.

The masses are split on the best way to handle pace of play. While quicker games would be welcomed by many, traditional fans may have issues. Baseball is considered to be the timeless sport, so adding a pitch clock could understandably rub some the wrong way. While it’s unclear what rules will pass, we should get some clarity soon with meetings taking place this week.

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Written by Hunter Thompson

Born in Pennsylvania but comes from a long line of Dodger fans from their Brooklyn days. Extremely passionate about the Dodgers and baseball in general. News writer and Twittercaster for Dodger games. Follow me on Twitter @Officialism27 for more Dodgers talk!

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  1. Pitch clocks are silly, this isn’t the NBA or NFL were game is a defined period of time. How about umpires enforce the current rule that a pitcher must deliver the next pitch within 12 seconds (no clock) once he has received the ball with no one on base and there is a hitter in the batter’s box. Keep the hitters in the box and stop all of the wasted time fitting and refitting hitting gloves, repositioning jock straps, checking and rechecking signs, etc. I do believe one rule change needs to occur, a limit to the number of pitching changes within one inning — force relief pitchers to face more than one hitter.

  2. How destructive is all this concern to “speed up” the Game. Baseball is so perfect a game the way it has been. It is not a game dependent upon a blind clock. It is a game of action and quiet. A game where its players must be able to respond and then relax. Where in between the action there is thought, consideration and zen. The drum beat to install a clock governing action will just kill the simplicity and complications of the game. It is just so corporate to want to put a time clock over Baseball’s play. The designated hitter was the first installment of corporate-bottom-line- thinking to despoil this great sport. If you want to speed up the game just limit its commercial time. All that selling of airtime. All the times that commercial concerns have interrupted the progress of games.

  3. Pace of play is not the issue, and never has been. It’s fitting more commercial time into one game. This commissioner is whoring out baseball.

  4. Why try to fix something that is NOT broken?
    If someone has just a certain time limit to watch a game watch a Football game or a Basketball game.
    Why dose everything has to be done in less time?

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