For years now, Major League Baseball has experimented with different ways to speed up the game. The pitch clock has been looked at as a way to pick up the pace of the game.
Now, MLB is holding off on using the pitch clock until 2022 as they work on a comprehensive proposal to change the pace of play. The main focus of MLB and commissioner Rob Manfred is on the pitcher’s mound.
In baseball today, several teams are guilty of using multiple pitchers in the bullpen to best matchup with the opposing hitter. These changes are often made for each individual hitter. These constant changes add time to the already long duration of the average baseball game.
To correct this, Manfred and the MLB are looking into implementing a batter limit. Pitchers must face at least three batters before managers can make a change on the mound. The league can implement this rule as early as 2020.
This is perhaps the most controversial proposal. The reason is that it would limit the number of pitchers on rosters.
They are also considering shortening the breaks in between innings. Currently, breaks last two minutes and five seconds. The proposal would be to shorten the break to one minute and 55 seconds in locally televised games.
For national games, the two minute and 25-second break would be decreased by 30 seconds. If this change is agreed upon, it could be implemented during this year’s spring training.
Also being discussed by the league is cutting the number of mound visits. The duration of the mound visits has already been cut to 30 seconds. Teams are already only afforded six visits. This was a change implemented before the start of last season.
Automated Strike Zone
Two proposals that might see the light of day earlier than others are some of the bolder moves considered. The first is an automated strike zone. This would be accomplished by using robo-umps, that would call balls and strikes using the Trackman computerized data. This is about to be tested this season in the Atlantic League.
The automated strike zone will be tested along with extending the distance of the mound to the plate. The current distance is set at 60 feet and six inches. If this is approved, it gives hitters more time to react to pitches.
MLB and the Players Association will continue looking into theses proposal as baseball continues to cut the duration time of their games.