2023 rule changes

jercra

No longer respects DeChambeau
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Jul 31, 2006
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Seems like we'll see a lot more pitch-outs. Pitcher reached his limit in pick-off attempts? Runner knows he's got a free pass to (a closer) 2nd base? Pitch-out seems like the only way to prevent an easy steal.
 
I've mentioned this before, defensive restrictions in limited-overs cricket seem like a very close analog to the rules MLB will enact to ban the shift (enacted for basically the same reason).
There are defensive restrictions in first class cricket as well, FWIW. (Not as severe, but there are some.) And I've been on this train for a long time as well, not that there are more of a handful of baseball fans who give a damn that cricket exists.
 

biollante

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Too bad the rules change didn't include cheaper ticket and beer prices.

I think I am ok with pitch clock but nothing else.

Was Nomar really the slowest batter ?
 

lexrageorge

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Jul 31, 2007
18,355
Pitch clock is an idea whose time has come. No reason for it to take longer than 15 seconds to throw a pitch when the bases are empty.

Sort of ambivalent about the shift ban, but something needed to be done about the three true outcomes, so it seems worthy to try. Love the larger bases and the potential for opening up the stolen base game again.

Now only if there can be a rule about the telecasts continually missing the first pitch of an inning (look at you, NESN).
 

Toe Nash

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Jul 28, 2005
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The pitch clock should have a greater impact on three true outcomes than the shift if it means pitchers throw worse pitches on average.

In 2021 there were 51970 PAs that ended in a ground ball and batters had a .239 BABIP on those PAs.
In 1997, when the shift was much less prevalent, the BABIP on grounders was .234. Players probably hit the ball less hard then and there were more pitchers hitting but it's not like a grounder has ever been a good way to create a hit.

There's just not going to be a noticeable change to balls in play from banning the shift, EXCEPT that people won't see a ball hit to where someone is not "supposed" to be (except that you could still put a player there as long as you follow the new rules).

I'll add too that you only expect a ball hit up the middle to get through because that's what you're used to based on decades of watching pre-shift baseball, and maybe a younger fan who has only known shift-heavy baseball wouldn't even blink an eye? OK boomer.

Fangraphs has a good writeup examining this, they echo my point about BABIP and add that the players who people use the shift against most actually hit the fewest grounders because they're trying to pull the ball into the seats. So they're unlikely to change their approach regardless of where the defenders are placed:
https://blogs.fangraphs.com/what-banning-the-shift-does-and-does-not-accomplish/
 

Lose Remerswaal

Experiencing Furry Panic
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Pitch clock is an idea whose time has come. No reason for it to take longer than 15 seconds to throw a pitch when the bases are empty.

Sort of ambivalent about the shift ban, but something needed to be done about the three true outcomes, so it seems worthy to try. Love the larger bases and the potential for opening up the stolen base game again.

Now only if there can be a rule about the telecasts continually missing the first pitch of an inning (look at you, NESN).
They reduced the time between innings a few years ago to try to shorten games, which caused the pitch missing to commence. If anyone doesn’t think this time savings won’t result in them adding back 15-30 seconds between innings for ads and for the missed pitches to stop happening, then I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you.
 

Mighty Joe Young

The North remembers
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Sep 14, 2002
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Regarding the pickoff limits … this is going to create a lot of strategy when you have a scenario with multiple guys on base and a balk is a terrible outcome.

- 1st and 3rd with a base stealer on 1st.
- the runner takes a huge one way lead to induce a pickoff … if the AB continues, the second pitch do the same , maybe even increase the lead. The idea is to induce the first pickoff as the second is far less likely to occur. If the AB gets as far as two failed attempts then it gets early interesting. If it’s not a three ball count then the pitchout is obviously the only recourse for the defence , or a guaranteed FB. But the offence knows a pitchout will only happen with less than three balls so it’s a huge gamble to even try that. You probably only get one shot. It’s going to be Powder River City.

After a few ABs of this cat and mouse, where the pitcher resists the pickoffs the runner starts stealing on the first pitch - and back and forth we go.
 

Mighty Joe Young

The North remembers
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Sep 14, 2002
8,477
Halifax, Nova Scotia , Canada
And the other thing about the third pickoff/balk thing. It’s only a balk if you don’t get him - you can still pick off the runner so the lead won‘t be massive. And the penalty (with no runner on third) is the same as a successful stolen base.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

critical thinker
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Dec 19, 2009
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I hate that the Manfred Man is still around and will be next season. It's not baseball to just put a runner on 2B to start an inning simply because the inning is a two-digit number. Until that rule goes away, it really doesn't matter what they do.

But, hey, if we're going to keep using little league-esque rules to shorten the game, how about a Mercy Rule? If your team is down by 10 runs in the 7th, the game ends after the third out. Sure, it's possible to score 10 runs in 2 innings, but not likely. Just call them at that point.
 

dhappy42

Straw Man
Oct 27, 2013
15,788
Michigan
I think shifts make the game more interesting. I don’t buy that a ground ball up the middle or a line drive to short right field “is supposed to be” a base hit. Besides, the new rule won’t make much difference on ground balls up the middle.

Bigger bases are fine. The pitch clock is great. The pickoff limit is unnecessary and weird. If you must have it, then make the penalty a ball, not a balk.

If MLB wants to rebalance the pitcher-batter duel to create more offense, then move the pitching mound back three feet. That’d mitigate the proliferation of 6’6” pitchers throwing 95+ mph fastballs.
 

dhappy42

Straw Man
Oct 27, 2013
15,788
Michigan
I hate that the Manfred Man is still around and will be next season. It's not baseball to just put a runner on 2B to start an inning simply because the inning is a two-digit number. Until that rule goes away, it really doesn't matter what they do.

But, hey, if we're going to keep using little league-esque rules to shorten the game, how about a Mercy Rule? If your team is down by 10 runs in the 7th, the game ends after the third out. Sure, it's possible to score 10 runs in 2 innings, but not likely. Just call them at that point.
A mercy rule would be no more or less an abomination than the extra-innings ghost runner. But personally, I enjoy seeing position players pitch in blowouts. Watching Clemons strike out Othani was hilarious.
 

glennhoffmania

meat puppet
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Jul 25, 2005
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Limiting pickoffs is so dumb. No one will ever throw over three times, so they can't throw over twice, so after one the runner knows he's basically free.

The shift ban is almost as dumb. Let teams use whatever strategy they want. Make batters adjust to burn them. That would make shifts less extreme.

But they kept the ghost runner? Of all the things to get rid of that should've been number one.

I'm less interested in baseball now.
 

Bertha

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May 3, 2016
203
I'm fascinated with how the pitch clock will work in reality. There are a few specific areas of interest to me.

The exact moment of starting the pitch clock is open to interpretation. Is there going to be home-field advantage to exactly when it begins? The ump can overrule the visible clock, but are they going to note when it begins each time? That is probably intended to be more of a courtesy by giving a slight buffer after reaching zero.

How does rubbing up the ball every time a pitcher gets a new one work? It has been widely reported that the umps have stopped doing this pre-game as they are supposed to. Supposedly delegated this to clubhouse attendants who may or may not do so, which has led to pitchers complaining, possible sticky stuff increase, etc. Even pitchers who work fast, take well over 15 seconds after getting a new ball.

What about the mechanics of pitchers in the stretch? Aside from the pickoff issue, many pitchers have a very complex motion before slowwwwwwwly coming set. Even without the cat-and-mouse game of holding the ball to try and freeze the runner, some of these pitchers will need to adapt their mechanics.

Shaking signs off? Is there going to be a significant increase in trust of the catcher's signs? Does this put more value on a catcher's game-calling ability? Steals are expected to be up, but good pitch-calling may have even more value than ability to throw out runners. I like the increased efficiency of the audio signs, and that seems to have been a fairly important step prior to implementing the pitch clock. I first noticed sometime in the Varitek era that catchers seemed to be micro-analyzing each batter's stance and positioning before even putting down a sign. That has been lessened with the new tech this year, and will not be possible going forward.

As always there will be players who prepare and those who don't. I'm eager to see the effects of what else may change.