Possible 2019/2020 rule changes Feb 5, 2019 22:21:34 GMT -5
Post by grandsalami on Feb 5, 2019 22:21:34 GMT -5
The left-on-left specialist — a left-handed reliever who sometimes faces only one left-handed hitter — soon might be an endangered species in Major League Baseball.
As part of a Jan. 14 proposal to the players’ union on pace of play, baseball suggested a rule requiring pitchers to face a minimum of three batters, sources told The Athletic.
The Major League Baseball Players Association responded last Friday with its own comprehensive proposal that addressed the players’ concerns on competitive integrity and service-time manipulation in multifaceted fashion, sources said. A lowering of a team’s draft position for failing to reach a specified win total in a certain number of seasons is believed to be part of the union’s plan.
A universal designated hitter — something the players have sought for more than three decades, according to commissioner Rob Manfred — also was part of the union’s proposal. Under the plan, the National League would adopt the DH for the 2019 season.
If no agreement is reached, the collective bargaining agreement empowers Manfred to unilaterally implement three elements he formally proposed last year, according to sources — a 20-second pitch clock, a reduction of mound visits from six to five and a rule placing a baserunner on second base in spring training games and the All-Star Game when the score is tied after the 10th inning.
Baseball’s current proposal includes one slight modification from the above provisions, reducing mound visits from six to four in ‘19 and four to three in ‘20. It also includes an expansion of rosters from 25 to 26 in ‘20, with an accompanying reduction from 40 to 28 in September.
The most dramatic change, however, would be the three-batter minimum for starting pitchers and relievers.
The rule, as it applies to starters, would prevent the situation that occurred in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series, when the Brewers used left-hander Wade Miley for only one batter before removing him for right-hander Brandon Woodruff in a game the Dodgers won, 5-2.
The introduction of “the opener” last season produced only five regular-season games in which starting pitchers faced fewer than three hitters, according to data compiled from Baseball-Reference.com. Baseball’s far greater concern is the slower pace that results from managers using multiple relievers in an inning to gain a platoon advantage, especially late in games.