Beat The Clock

8slim

has trust issues
SoSH Member
Nov 6, 2001
25,600
Unreal America
10 inning game with a ton of pitching changes... just over 3 hours. So beautiful.

Also, it was notable how briskly the game moved in the 8th, 9th and 10th innings. No pitchers stalking around the mound for 30 seconds between pitches. No batters incessantly stepping out of the box. Just baseball played at pace.
 

8slim

has trust issues
SoSH Member
Nov 6, 2001
25,600
Unreal America
Fantastic piece by Jayson Stark about the impact of the rules changes:

https://theathletic.com/4525559/2023/05/17/mlb-new-rules-results-2023/?source=dailyemail&campaign=601983&access_token=1358449&redirected=1

In short, there have been notable increases in base runners per game, BABIP on pulled groundballs, BABIP on line drives (both pulled and up the middle), runners going from 1st to 3rd on a single, big innings (one pitcher yielding 4+ runs in an inning), and steals.

That being said, strikeouts haven't really decreased and launch angle is basically the same as past recent seasons. So there's still work needed to get hitters to adopt an approach more in line with today's rules.
 
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soxhop411

news aggravator
SoSH Member
Dec 4, 2009
46,815
No link appearing for me
https://theathletic.com/4525559/2023/05/17/mlb-new-rules-results-2023/
“We’re in 1968 right now.”

Those blunt words came out of the mouth of a candid, insightful, realistic member of one deep-thinking baseball front office last September. He was speaking on background, but he was speaking the truth. Those were related developments.

It’s eight months later now. A lot has changed, by which we obviously mean: the rules! We still hear daily from people who think those changes are ruining baseball. With all due respect to their opinion and the good place it comes from, they couldn’t be more wrong.
You know what was really ruining baseball? Baseball was ruining baseball.

So before we look at 2023 and how much life these rule changes have breathed back into this sport, it’s important to gaze back one last time at 2022. A warning, before we move on: It’s a frightening view.

“It’s all about the fans and what they want to watch — and we’ve given them the opposite,” the same executive went on last September. “We’re basically having 10-7 football games every single game. And why would people be excited to watch a bunch of three-and-outs?”

So what was the baseball equivalent of “a bunch of three-and-outs” back then, in the pre-rule-change era? We can sum it up this way:

You were watching games that routinely took three and a half hours to play — and there was pretty much nobody on base.

You think we’re exaggerating? Guess again. We’ve been looking at the facts for months. You know what they tell us? That the rate of base runners per game in 2022 was the second-lowest in the last 115 years.

Check out those facts for yourself. Here’s the average team’s rate of non-home-run hits plus walks per game. (Why did we subtract homers? Because they produce zero base runners.)
 
Fantastic piece by Jayson Stark about the impact of the rules changes:

https://theathletic.com/4525559/2023/05/17/mlb-new-rules-results-2023/?source=dailyemail&campaign=601983&access_token=1358449&redirected=1

In short, there have been notable increases in base runners per game, BABIP on pulled groundballs, BABIP on line drives (both pulled and up the middle), runners going from 1st to 3rd on a single, big innings (one pitcher yielding 4+ runs in an inning), and steals.

That being said, strikeouts haven't really decreased and launch angle is basically the same as past recent seasons. So there's still work needed to get hitters to adopt an approach more in line with today's rules.
Curious if there are any stats on total runs per game this year vs last at the same time. Unfortunately I don't have access to the Athletic or I'd just check myself!
 

Benj4ever

New Member
Nov 21, 2022
386
I would like to get any thoughts from people who have seen this in the minors. Does it work?
I've seen it at Bowie Bay Sox games (Orioles - AA), and it's worked just fine. Just noticed that this is a really old post. How I wound up on that page, I'll never know.
 
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trs

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 19, 2010
579
Madrid
Fantastic piece by Jayson Stark about the impact of the rules changes:

https://theathletic.com/4525559/2023/05/17/mlb-new-rules-results-2023/?source=dailyemail&campaign=601983&access_token=1358449&redirected=1

In short, there have been notable increases in base runners per game, BABIP on pulled groundballs, BABIP on line drives (both pulled and up the middle), runners going from 1st to 3rd on a single, big innings (one pitcher yielding 4+ runs in an inning), and steals.

That being said, strikeouts haven't really decreased and launch angle is basically the same as past recent seasons. So there's still work needed to get hitters to adopt an approach more in line with today's rules.
Great article, totally agreed. The little bit of baseball I've been able to watch live has really shown a different sport, but that could be some confirmation bias as well. It has felt different, with more multi-hit rallies and hard-hit balls that aren't always homeruns. Nice to see a bit of data that shows this too.

Interesting final bits about the strikeouts and how to handle those. I'm not sure if having a strikeout every inning on average is a good thing, as Stark points out, while Ks are somewhat exciting on TV or after the fact on some YouTube channel, live they're less so. The result can be exciting, and I certainly remember getting fired up watching Pedro mow down hitters and watching Ks hang in centerfield, but it's a millisecond event, and you're cheering after the fact. An exciting in-play event is exciting both during and after as you watch it develop.

How you can have fewer Ks without massive changes like moving back the mound or making the strike zone smaller is a difficult question. Maybe we hope averages improve with less launch angle and big swing emphasis, but as Williams argued, an uppercut makes sense from a contact standpoint too, you want to reverse the path of the ball as much as possible and to do that you need an uppercut swing. Perhaps advancements in batting and swing techniques can increase bat speeds to allow hitters to wait milliseconds longer. Regardless, I think it makes sense to play things out a few years and see what happens, the game is certainly improved. We gotta be nearing some sort of asymptote in terms of how much torque (asymptorque?) elbow ligaments can withstand before forearms are flying around the infield, so maybe it is just a matter of batters catching up?

That being said, it is improved due to drastic changes made this year, so maybe if strikeouts continue to be higher than we want, then maybe another drastic change like moving back the mound to slow down pitches and allow for more recognition time is in fact the answer.

In any case, it's been a good year for baseball so far. And it's only May.
 

8slim

has trust issues
SoSH Member
Nov 6, 2001
25,600
Unreal America
Great article, totally agreed. The little bit of baseball I've been able to watch live has really shown a different sport, but that could be some confirmation bias as well. It has felt different, with more multi-hit rallies and hard-hit balls that aren't always homeruns. Nice to see a bit of data that shows this too.

Interesting final bits about the strikeouts and how to handle those. I'm not sure if having a strikeout every inning on average is a good thing, as Stark points out, while Ks are somewhat exciting on TV or after the fact on some YouTube channel, live they're less so. The result can be exciting, and I certainly remember getting fired up watching Pedro mow down hitters and watching Ks hang in centerfield, but it's a millisecond event, and you're cheering after the fact. An exciting in-play event is exciting both during and after as you watch it develop.

How you can have fewer Ks without massive changes like moving back the mound or making the strike zone smaller is a difficult question. Maybe we hope averages improve with less launch angle and big swing emphasis, but as Williams argued, an uppercut makes sense from a contact standpoint too, you want to reverse the path of the ball as much as possible and to do that you need an uppercut swing. Perhaps advancements in batting and swing techniques can increase bat speeds to allow hitters to wait milliseconds longer. Regardless, I think it makes sense to play things out a few years and see what happens, the game is certainly improved. We gotta be nearing some sort of asymptote in terms of how much torque (asymptorque?) elbow ligaments can withstand before forearms are flying around the infield, so maybe it is just a matter of batters catching up?

That being said, it is improved due to drastic changes made this year, so maybe if strikeouts continue to be higher than we want, then maybe another drastic change like moving back the mound to slow down pitches and allow for more recognition time is in fact the answer.

In any case, it's been a good year for baseball so far. And it's only May.
Agree about letting things play out for a while in regards to the strikeout issue. In my opinion, there's still more to be done to increase the action in the game, so I'd rather focus on that than on limiting strikeouts.
 

Yo La Tengo

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 21, 2005
968
How you can have fewer Ks without massive changes like moving back the mound or making the strike zone smaller is a difficult question. Maybe we hope averages improve with less launch angle and big swing emphasis, but as Williams argued, an uppercut makes sense from a contact standpoint too, you want to reverse the path of the ball as much as possible and to do that you need an uppercut swing. Perhaps advancements in batting and swing techniques can increase bat speeds to allow hitters to wait milliseconds longer. Regardless, I think it makes sense to play things out a few years and see what happens, the game is certainly improved. We gotta be nearing some sort of asymptote in terms of how much torque (asymptorque?) elbow ligaments can withstand before forearms are flying around the infield, so maybe it is just a matter of batters catching up?
I agree that overall the faster pace of the game has been terrific. As for fewer Ks, I think the next step should be some sort of automated strike zone. Once that becomes uniform, the zone can be tweaked year to year to nudge the game. Pair this with tweaks to the physical make-up of the ball (tightness, height of seams) and the best parts of the game can be amplified (assuming we can all agree what those might be).
 

AB in DC

OG Football Writing
SoSH Member
Jul 10, 2002
14,184
Springfield, VA
MLB warns teams that batters may not try to trick pitchers into clock violations

“In recent days, we have seen batters attempt to induce pitchers to violate the pitch timer regulations by creating the appearance that they are in the batter’s box and alert to the pitcher with more than eight seconds remaining on the clock when, in actuality, they have not fully entered the batter’s box,” MLB senior vice president Michael Hill wrote in a two-page memo to general managers, assistant general managers and field managers.

“We have advised umpires that conduct by batters designed to deceive a pitcher into beginning their windup or coming to the set position early — including pretending to be in the batter’s box and alert to the pitcher — constitutes circumvention under the pace of game regulations.”

I still think the Sox should have protested that game.
 

dhappy42

Straw Man
Oct 27, 2013
15,797
Michigan
...
How you can have fewer Ks without massive changes like moving back the mound or making the strike zone smaller is a difficult question. ...
The independent Atlantic League experimented with moving the mound back to 61'6" (and robo strike zones.) Surprisingly (at least to me) it didn't change much in terms of Ks and balls-in-play.
 

absintheofmalaise

too many flowers
Dope
SoSH Member
Mar 16, 2005
24,429
The gran facenda
Curious if there are any stats on total runs per game this year vs last at the same time. Unfortunately I don't have access to the Athletic or I'd just check myself!
It looks like you can find total runs scored on Fangraghs. I wasn't able to find the splits on mlb.com or b-ref. I totaled up the runs scored by all teams from the start of the season to May 17 in 2022 and 2023.

2022 runs scored - 4556

2023 runs scored - 5976

If anyone wants to check my math, please feel free. If anyone wants to figure out the runs per game average to compare you can do custom date ranges on FG.
 

simplicio

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 11, 2012
5,861
It looks like you can find total runs scored on Fangraghs. I wasn't able to find the splits on mlb.com or b-ref. I totaled up the runs scored by all teams from the start of the season to May 17 in 2022 and 2023.

2022 runs scored - 4556

2023 runs scored - 5976

If anyone wants to check my math, please feel free. If anyone wants to figure out the runs per game average to compare you can do custom date ranges on FG.
Not quite a proper comparison; the 2022 season started late and teams played about 7 fewer games in April, combined with a shorter spring training. Cutting May 10th-17th out of your 2023 sample loses 982 runs.
 

shaggydog2000

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 5, 2007
11,782
It looks like you can find total runs scored on Fangraghs. I wasn't able to find the splits on mlb.com or b-ref. I totaled up the runs scored by all teams from the start of the season to May 17 in 2022 and 2023.

2022 runs scored - 4556

2023 runs scored - 5976

If anyone wants to check my math, please feel free. If anyone wants to figure out the runs per game average to compare you can do custom date ranges on FG.
I took a look at the fangraphs numbers, and the total number of games was off by a lot by using the same date. I had to add about a week to 2022 to get up to roughly the same number of games (1308 vs 1304 in 23). After doing that I got:

2022- 5499 runs
2023 - 5976 runs

https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=8&season=2022&month=1000&season1=2022&ind=0&team=0,ss&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&startdate=2022-03-01&enddate=2022-05-25

https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=8&season=2023&month=0&season1=2023&ind=0&team=0,ss&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&startdate=&enddate=

So about an 8.5% increase. Not enormous, but not bad. It was 5657 runs in 1298 games in 2021. I don't want to do the rest by hand, but it seems to be bigger than just random chance, but you never know.

https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=8&season=2021&month=1000&season1=2021&ind=0&team=0,ss&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&startdate=2021-03-01&enddate=2021-05-20
 
@shaggydog2000, @absintheofmalaise

Thanks to both of you. I had done the same comparison on fangraphs earlier in the year but the data seemed way off so I assumed there was some problem, as @simplicio pointed out above. @shaggydog2000 -- your comparison is much closer to the real data, I think, although it's not a complete apples to apples comparison given the CBA related issues.

In 2021, the season through May 17th produced 5311 runs compared to 5976 this year, so I think an increase of about ~8-12% over the previous ruleset is probably correct.