MLB’s New Pitch Clock Rule: America has seemed to have found an answer (so far) to stop baseball games from lasting so long.
So what did the MLB do?
To speed things up on the field to help improve the efficiency of the pace of play in MLB games there will now be:
- a 30-second timer between batters.
- a 15-second timer between pitches with the bases empty
- a 20-second timer between pitches with runners on base
Watch it take full effect here when Landon Knack throws an entire half inning compared to Pedro Baez only throwing one pitch!
In 2015 Major League Baseball (MLB) announced it would institute a 20-second pitch clock in Minor League Baseball for Double-A and Triple-A teams with openness to update the rules full terms periodically to be able to gather a good enough sample size of analytics to see if the MLB could include the rule at their top-tier level.
What MLB personnel saw when the rule was in affect for Triple-A and Double-A games: They saw a nine-inning game with seven runs, 13 hits, 17 strikeouts and eight walks only take 2 hours and 17 minutes to play. That meant families could see the entire game and be able to stay and watch postgame fireworks and still be out of the ballpark before 10 p.m.
Players also seemed to have a better chance to get the proper rest and recuperation they need over the course of a long season.
According to MLB.com, the pitch timer had reduced the average time of game in MiLB by about 26 minutes. This rule, which includes limits on throws to first base, has also increased stolen-base attempts. With this rule in place in the Minors this season, steal attempts per game have increased from 2.23 in 2019, at a 68% success rate, to 2.83 in 2022, at a 77% success rate.
What happens if the pitcher does not pitch the ball in time and the clock hits 0?
- Pitchers who violate the timer are charged with an automatic ball. Batters who violate the timer are charged with an automatic strike.
- Batters must be in the box and alert to the pitcher by the 8-second mark or else they will be charged with an automatic strike.
Is the pitcher limited to how many pickoffs he can do because of the timer?
- Pitchers are limited to two disengagements (pickoff attempts or step-offs) per plate appearance. However, this limit is reset if a runner or runners advance during the plate appearance.
- If a third pickoff attempt is made, the runner automatically advances one base if the pickoff attempt is not successful.
Final note: Umpires may provide extra time if warranted by special circumstances. (So if, as an example, a catcher were to be thrown out on the bases to end the previous half-inning and needed additional time to put on his catching gear, the umpire could allow it.)
Welcome to a new era of baseball. If you thought this rule change was crazy.. go ahead and look up how they made the bases bigger too.
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