A lot has changed in the past two years in the Major League Baseball (MLB). In 2022, the pitcher’s at-bat, which was a tradition of the National League, disappeared, and a match-up was introduced in an extra game. In 2023, a pitch clock was introduced, and the base grew. Defensive shifts are also prohibited. All to increase the dynamics of baseball and eliminate unnecessary time consumption.
However, it seems that the Secretariat is still thirsty for ‘dynamics’ and ‘time reduction’. This can be seen by observing the independent league’Atlantic League’, which signed an agreement with MLB from 2019 and became a’laboratory’. The Atlantic League decided to add three rules starting this year. All of them were made at the request of the Secretariat, and this is not the first time. The pitch clock, introduced this year, was also first performed in the Atlantic League before it was applied.
The first of the new rules is the designated substitute. One of the replacement members, excluding the starting lineup to play in the match, may be used as a substitute runner. If a runner is on base, he can be replaced at any time and the original hitter who was replaced after the offensive innings can enter the defense again.메이저사이트
The second provision is the additional restriction of checks. Currently, MLB stipulates that up to two motions can be taken off the pitch or runner check motion according to the new rule. But the Atlantic League reduced it to just one. If the foot is removed from the pitch in the second inning or the runner is not caught on the second attempt to contain the ball, it is a balk.
The most noteworthy is the third new release, ‘Double-Hook’. If a starting pitcher gets ripped without completing 5 innings, the team loses the designated hitter. In subsequent at-bats, pitchers who have made relief mounds must mound.
The double hook rule is a rule that enforces starting baseball. Under the double hook rule, all clubs must use at least 5 innings regardless of the number of runs or pitches of the starting pitcher that day. If not, a pitcher will replace the designated hitter, leaving a hole in the batter’s line. In this case, the team’s chances of winning will inevitably drop sharply, so somehow the starting pitcher must be used for a long time.
Five innings is not an easy standard in modern MLB. A total of 4860 starts were made in MLB last year, and a total of 3389 (69.7%) were 5 or more innings. This is a decrease of nearly 16% compared to 4024 times 10 years ago. The MLB Secretariat would have wanted to change this trend. It seems that the new rule was intended to increase the value of the starting pitcher and reduce the number of pitcher replacements to further reduce game time.
Can forced baseball selection improve the quality of baseball? On the contrary, there is a high possibility that the quality of the game will be reduced due to clumsy regulations. In 2018, the Tampa Bay Rays raised a relief pitcher at the level of Pilseungjo in the first inning when there was a lack of starting pitchers due to injuries. And from the second inning, a ‘long relief’ pitcher who can throw long innings was put on the mound. It is an ‘opener’ strategy that breaks away from the existing starter strategy. In 45 of 162 games (27.8%) of the regular season that year, the opener took the mound instead of the starting pitcher. Tampa Bay posted a professional relief pitcher as an opener in 43 games the following year, similar to the previous year. Tampa Bay’s ‘innovation’ continued with 90 wins in the first year and 96 wins in the following year.
Tampa Bay is a small market club that cannot spend more than $70 million in annual team salaries. The situation was different from other clubs that could be recruited if there were no players, and this was solved through innovation. After the success of Tampa Bay’s opener, the proportion of starting baseball also decreased. Now, MLB clubs periodically change their form little by little to prevent games without a professional starting pitcher, and hold ‘Bullpen Day’. When the double hook regulation comes into existence, all these changes and innovations will go back to square one.
Even in terms of simple figures, the ripple effect of forcing 5 innings is great. Looking at the performance by inning, the pitchers averaged different performances in the 1st and 3rd innings and the 2nd and 4th innings. This is because the probability of meeting the top batting order in odd innings is very high. Then, in the 5th inning, the allowed runs and hit rate rise sharply.
The reason why 5 innings is difficult is that the probability of meeting the top batting order for the third time increases. So, in the 5th inning, the pitcher’s probability of conceding runs increases exponentially. It can also be called the ‘fifth inning of the horse’, and the outcome of the game may change depending on whether or not a run is lost in the 5th inning.
However, when the double hook rule is applied, the team has to take an additional run and drag the starting pitcher up to the fifth inning. It’s to maintain the team’s offensive power, but if you don’t care, the starting pitcher can get hit and give the team victory. Furthermore, the quality of the league can be reduced by increasing the number of slugfest games.
“Experimentation in the Atlantic League in recent years has led to a faster pace of play and more dynamic play,” said Morgan Seward, senior vice president of operations at the MLB Secretariat. It confirmed the pure function of the We hope that the other experiments that will be conducted this time will bring more joy to the fans.”
These attempts by the Secretariat are welcome if we keep in line with the trend of our time, which is getting faster and faster. However, if this change hurts the essence of baseball, we need to think again. I hope that the experiment in the Atlantic League will be refined to fit the nature of baseball and come up to MLB.