In the MLB 2018 season, use of relievers increased by 682 last season over 2017. Last season there were 16,339 relievers penciled into the rosters of our 30 teams. In 2017, the number was 15,657.
"Major League Baseball has proposed going back to a 15-day disabled list and increasing the time optioned players usually must spend in the minor leagues, a person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press, moves aimed at reducing the use of relief pitchers and reviving offense."
Disclosure: His source of information was one of "condition of anonymity" due to the above had not been publicly announced.
As we know, St. Louis Cardinals John Mozeliak, President of Baseball Operations, took full advantage running players from their Memphis Triple-A affiliate to the majors and back again. The "Yo-Yo Shuttle" was used often. Especially noted for relievers John Brebbia, John Gant and Daniel Poncedeleon. If the above mentioned change is accepted by the Players Association union, the "shuttle" would be making fewer trips.
The Cardinals promoted 18 players during the course of the 2018 season. And, 22 players were shuttled in 2017.
In 2016, the Players Association voted in the 10-Day DL vs.15-Day DL rule for replacements to be used in the event of injury, suspensions, bereavement/paternity leave, to 'refresh' the arms available. "As a result, DL placements rose from 563 in 2016 to 702 in 2017 and then again to 737 last year, the commissioner's office said."
ANOTHER STRATEGY CHANGE
We saw the use of relievers as 'openers' to start a game last season which was implemented by the Tampa Bay Rays throughout their season. And Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell used during the playoffs in 2018. What I like to refer to as the "New Age Baseball Pitching". I believe this strategy worked better for the Rays as it was a 'regular season practice' than it did for the Brewers adjusting to such during the playoffs. I look at this practice as 'cheating' a defined starter out of important goals he is trying to achieve in a season - and in the playoffs. Just my opinion.
However, it was used due to, in part, of the current 10-Day DL set-up.
BACK TO THE 15-DAY DL
This would definitely slow down the availability of the minor league player - or optioned player. An optioned player would have to stay in the minors for at least 15 days. Of course, currently a 'recall' is handled in a different manner. The timetable has been waived and may return sooner.
TALKS ON-GOING - 'PACE OF PLAY'
Along with the above possibility, again, the 'pitch clock' has been brought up by the management, which has been refused for the past two seasons. The clock would be set at 18 seconds with no runners on, 20 seconds with runners on base. "A phase-in with warnings initially rather than ball-strike penalties." We already have mound visits limited in the effort - by manager, coach and/or player to six times in the course of a regulation game.
I do foresee 'the clock' coming in the future due to the practice is already used in the minor leagues. Younger pitchers replacing our veterans are already used to being timed.
Labor talks are already in full swing and will continue, more than likely, into Spring Training - possibly beyond.
The birth of "Pace of Play" in baseball. Speeding the game time up, I shake my head. This is the sport of the 'lazy days of summer'. This is not the action packed sport of football - which also lasts 3 - 3 1/2 hours. " Nine-inning games averaged 3 hours, 44 seconds last year, down from 3:05:11 in 2017." So with these changes to be considered, will there really be an increase of 'time shaved' for our sport of baseball? Is another "5 minutes" going to make a big difference.
I was just happy to see no mention of placing a runner on second to begin "extra inning" play.
Yes, I'm old school ~ leave baseball alone.
The one fact reported in the article that I found extremely interesting: " Strikeouts set a record for the 11th straight year, increasing by 1,103 to 41,207, and topped hits (41,019) for the first time in major league history. Hits led by 2,111 in 2017 and by 13,418 in 2006."
" .... big league batting average dropped seven points last year to .248, its lowest level since 1972." Not that low in 46 years.
Due to the concentration of velocity from the hill? That bullet being fired to the backstop? Or, the balls and strikes called at the plate. Whatever the case may be, evidently has caused "many slumps" in offense.
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