Major changes are coming to MLB in 2023, and like it or not, a pitch clock is one of them.
It’s no secret that the league has been worried about pace of play for a long time, and a pitch clock will certainly speed up games next season.
AVERAGE TIME OF NINE-INNING GAME BY LEVEL THIS SEASON:
No pitch clock
— Sam Dykstra (@SamDykstraMiLB) September 9, 2022
Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com did a nice job of explaining what to expect.
“In an effort to create a quicker pace of play, there will be a 30-second timer between batters,” wrote Castrovince. “Between pitches, there will be a 15-second timer with the bases empty and a 20-second timer with runners on base. At last check, 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.”
Castrovince explained the details.
- “The pitcher must begin his motion to deliver the pitch before the expiration of the pitch timer.
- “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 be charged with an automatic strike.
- “With runners on base, the timer resets if the pitcher attempts a pickoff or steps off the rubber.
- “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.
- “Mound visits, injury timeouts and offensive team timeouts do not count as a disengagement.
- “If a team has used up all five of its allotted mound visits prior to the ninth inning, that team will receive an additional mound visit in the ninth inning. This effectively serves as an additional disengagement.
- “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.)”
The pitch clock is something that all pitchers will have to be aware of, but it will impact some more than others.
Phil Maton on pitch clock coming n 2023:”Personally I don’t like being rushed on the mound.I’d assume most of the guys up here don’t. It’s gonna be implemented whether we want it or not. I’m gonna have to make the adjustment this offseason & figure out what the tempo needs to be” pic.twitter.com/I60gMsgX9G
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) September 10, 2022
Here are a few notable pitchers who will definitely be affected.
3. Kyle Finnegan
Kyle Finnegan has been a solid bullpen arm for the Washington Nationals for three seasons.
Over 150 career relief appearances for Washington, he has registered a respectable ERA of 3.60.
However, he is going to have to deal with a new obstacle next season.
With the bases empty this season, Baseball Savant estimates that Finnegan is averaging about 19.7 seconds between the time he receives the return throw from his catcher and starts his next delivery.
With runners aboard, Finnegan’s average goes up to about 22.5 seconds, per Baseball Savant.
It’ll be an interesting offseason for the Texas State University product as he looks to adjust to the new timer.
2. Giovanny Gallegos
Giovanny Gallegos has become a key bullpen piece for the St. Louis Cardinals in recent years.
Over five seasons with St. Louis, he has maintained a 2.87 ERA, 2.85 FIP, and 0.89 WHIP.
Unfortunately for the 31-year-old, he’s going to have to make some major adjustments next season.
With the bases empty this season, Baseball Savant estimates that the righty is averaging about 20.1 seconds between the time he receives the return throw from his catcher and starts his next delivery.
With runners on base, Baseball Savant estimates an average of 25.6 seconds for Gallegos.
He’ll have to find a way to cut some serious time off of those averages.
1. Kenley Jansen
Kenley Jansen‘s best days as a reliever might be behind him, but he’s still the biggest name out of the three pitchers on this list.
He’s one of the slowest workers in baseball and is going to have to find a way to adapt next year.
With the bases empty this season, Baseball Savant estimates that Jansen is averaging about 20.0 seconds between the time he receives the return throw from his catcher and starts his next delivery.
With runners on, that number jumps to about 25.5 seconds, according to Baseball Savant.
Jansen, who has a 3.91 ERA this season, is a free agent in the offseason, and it’ll be interesting to see if the pitch clock rule impacts his market.
Right now, however, he’s surely focused on helping the Atlanta Braves repeat as World Series champs.