We’re two weeks into spring training and MLB’s new rules that include pitch violations for pitchers and batters. It was a huge story in the first few days down in Arizona and Florida, but just like fans found out in the minors, the players are adjusting and the violations have decreased from the first week to the second.
That doesn’t mean it’s still not weird to see a pitch clock violation called and we saw one during Friday’s Cubs and White Sox game that brings up the debate on whether or not these new rules are good or not in MLB.
In the fifth inning, Elvis Andrus was at the plate facing left-handed pitcher Ryan Borucki and after fouling away the first pitch Andrus got twisted up on a breaking ball diving into the right-handed hitter’s batting box. Andrus took some time to collect his thoughts, but apparently wasn’t ready by the eight-second time limit a player has to get back into the batter’s box and engage with the pitcher.
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The swing and miss was on a 0-1 pitch, so the violation resulted in Andrus striking out to end the inning.
Andrus and the home plate umpire had a short chat about it and the White Sox second baseman was probably saying that he was ready and in the box. That’s part of the rule that may get a closer look at because ultimately it is under the umpire’s discretion whether a hitter is “alert” or not by the time the clock ticks down to eight seconds.
This is what the official rule states.
“The batter must be in the batter’s box and alert to the pitcher by the 8-second mark on the timer or else be charged with an automatic strike.”
As part of MLB implementing the new pitch clock rules, the home plate umpire has a buzzer that will indicate when the time is up for a hitter to be back in the batter’s box and when the time is up for a pitcher to begin his delivery to the plate.
Here is a summary of the pitch clock rule.
- The clock is 15 seconds with the bases empty and 20 seconds with a runner on base
- The clock starts when the pitcher catches the ball from the catcher and the clock runs until the pitcher starts his delivery (not when he releases the ball)
- The batter must step in the box and be ready to hit with at least eight seconds left on the clock
- Violations by the pitcher are an automatic ball and by the hitter are an automatic strike
- A hitter gets one timeout per plate appearance
- A pitcher gets two “disengagements” per batter. This is either stepping off or a pickoff attempt. A third disengagement would result in a balk. The disengagement count resets if a runner advances, such as with a stolen base, balk, wild pitch or passed ball
ESPN’s Jeff Passan shared some stats comparing last year’s spring training to this year’s with the new rules that include bigger bases and restricting the shift to go along with the pitch clock.
So, are fans of the new rules, want some tweak or are you completely against them? Let us know in the comments and check out this week’s Pinwheels And Ivy Podcast. Subscribe for a chance to win two tickets to a Cubs or White Sox game.