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NY Times: No Runs, No Hits, New Era: Baseball Ponders Legal Ways to Boost Offense


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http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/05/sports/baseball/baseball-2015-preview-in-a-pitching-rich-era-baseball-ponders-legal-ways-to-boost-offense.html?ref=sports&smid%3D=tw-nytsports&_r=0

When John Buck entered professional baseball, in 1998, fans were swooning for sluggers. All these years later, the landscape has tilted. Runs and homers are falling. Strikeouts and infield shifts are soaring. Pitchers rule.

"They wanted it to go back to pitching and defense, didn't they?" Buck said this spring in Atlanta Braves camp, a few weeks before he retired. "I think it's a cycle that will go back and forth. If they put the emphasis on improving the offense, they'll figure a way how."

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Weren't they considering shrinking the strike zone to force pitchers to throw into the batters' sweet spots?

I don't know how to increase offense any other way. Isn't is common knowledge that batters don't change they way they hit once they make it to AAA or higher?

MSK

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The problem is that MLB does not want, for public relations reasons, to have its success dependent upon the use of

performance ENHANCING drugs. The just need instead to change to getting increased offence from performance

DECREASING drugs.

Every pitcher, before every game, should be required to consume copious amounts of alcohol, or marijuana, or some other

substance that causes impairment of motor skills and judgment.

Offensive numbers will increase, no one will get a benefit from artificially enhancing their physical abilities, and pitching

stats will go down, leading to lower salaries for pitchers (whose salaries are getting out of control now anyway) thus leading

to teams being more likely to afford to keep their rosters intact and below their self-defined salary caps.

This is a win for everyone.

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The problem is that MLB does not want, for public relations reasons, to have its success dependent upon the use of

performance ENHANCING drugs. The just need instead to change to getting increased offence from performance

DECREASING drugs.

Every pitcher, before every game, should be required to consume copious amounts of alcohol, or marijuana, or some other

substance that causes impairment of motor skills and judgment.

On second thought:

http://brode.co/blogs/main/17379504-hangover-history-david-wells-perfect-game

There have been 18 perfect games thrown in baseball since 1900, and only one was reportedly thrown by a man with a “raging, skull rattling hangover.”

Drunk pitchers throwing? That would be something to see! :)

MSK

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Limit the pitchers on the roster to 10. Starters would save a little bit to last longer in the game, like they used to, if there were less pitchers available in the pen. More hitters and less pitchers on the bench to match up. This one move would increase offense, plus have a side benefit of reducing strain on SP's arms, IMO.

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Limit the pitchers on the roster to 10. Starters would save a little bit to last longer in the game, like they used to, if there were less pitchers available in the pen. More hitters and less pitchers on the bench to match up. This one move would increase offense, plus have a side benefit of reducing strain on SP's arms, IMO.

So making the starting pitchers pitch more will reduce the strain on their arms?

I don't agree with that assertion.

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So making the starting pitchers pitch more will reduce the strain on their arms?

I don't agree with that assertion.

Maybe the thinking is they would decrease the velocity to go deeper in the games. They wouldn't be looking over their shoulder in the 5th inning when they let in a couple of runs and could relax more.

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Yes. Absolutely. Starters pitch much closer to 100% effort every pitch than they used to. Not as much as relievers do, but definitely more-so than MLB thru the 1970's. Pitchers pitched every 4th day, averaging many more innings. Complete games were common. It is because they did not go fuul-bore all the time. As a result, there were less serious arm injuries, not more.

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Maybe the thinking is they would decrease the velocity to go deeper in the games. They wouldn't be looking over their shoulder in the 5th inning when they let in a couple of runs and could relax more.
Yes. Absolutely. Starters pitch much closer to 100% effort every pitch than they used to. Not as much as relievers do' date=' but definitely more-so than MLB thru the 1970's. Pitchers pitched every 4th day, averaging many more innings. Complete games were common. It is because they did not go fuul-bore all the time. As a result, there were less serious arm injuries, not more.[/quote']

First off pitchers don't know how to pitch that way. You will be asking 200 guys to change the way they have pitched their entire lives on the fly.

Secondly if pitchers pitch was less effort then they will give up more baserunners which will, in turn, cause an increase in the amount of high stress innings they pitch. Current thinking is that high stress innings are more dangerous then hitting an arbitrary pitch or inning count.

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Yes. Absolutely. Starters pitch much closer to 100% effort every pitch than they used to. Not as much as relievers do, but definitely more-so than MLB thru the 1970's. Pitchers pitched every 4th day, averaging many more innings. Complete games were common. It is because they did not go fuul-bore all the time. As a result, there were less serious arm injuries, not more.
First off pitchers don't know how to pitch that way. You will be asking 200 guys to change the way they have pitched their entire lives on the fly.

Secondly if pitchers pitch was less effort then they will give up more baserunners which will, in turn, cause an increase in the amount of high stress innings they pitch. Current thinking is that high stress innings are more dangerous then hitting an arbitrary pitch or inning count.

I have a feeling that limiting the number of pitchers on the roster won't put the "pitchers are more effective throwing less" genie back in the bottle. Teams will do what they can to limit use of pitchers. Instead of pacing themselves and giving up more runs, pitchers will only be asked to throw 2-3 innings a game. There would be experiments with all-time bullpen days, where guys throw three innings every three days. A few teams would go back to the old dunk a witch method of figuring out who can throw six or seven innings every 3-4 days (today, at max effort), and injuries in the short term would go up. I think it's interesting to contemplate a change like this, and I've probably even advocated for it, but I seriously doubt that the end result would be a smooth, quick transition to a four-man rotation with starters pacing themselves for complete games. Not when the likely outcome of that would be dramatically higher offense, which would be interpreted as individual pitchers failing. It would be five+ years of pitching strategy in total flux. Not that that's necessarily bad...

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Secondly if pitchers pitch was less effort then they will give up more baserunners which will, in turn, cause an increase in the amount of high stress innings they pitch. Current thinking is that high stress innings are more dangerous then hitting an arbitrary pitch or inning count.

I never considered this before, but wouldn't the lowest-stress environment for pitchers that resembles today's run context be one where almost all runs are scored on solo homers? Maybe a huge strike zone, like shoetops to shoulders, with a really juiced ball.

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Weren't they considering shrinking the strike zone to force pitchers to throw into the batters' sweet spots?

I don't know how to increase offense any other way. Isn't is common knowledge that batters don't change they way they hit once they make it to AAA or higher?

MSK

They increased the strike zone to the bottom of the knees (or top of the shins, depending on your perspective) like 15 or 20 years ago. A ball could in theory graze the bottom of the zone at the front of home plate and be at the player's shoetops by the time it's in a place where the batter can hit the ball. This particular zone increase was because under the pre-pitchFX/Questec system, umpires weren't calling strikes on pitches that crossed the center (or in some cases the top) of the knees. The umpires calling the bottom of the zone in accordance to the rules is actually not the intent of the rule, so they are considering going back to the old definition.

I'm happy for this. I think the current zone definition is completely unfair.

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I never considered this before, but wouldn't the lowest-stress environment for pitchers that resembles today's run context be one where almost all runs are scored on solo homers? Maybe a huge strike zone, like shoetops to shoulders, with a really juiced ball.

That is an interesting idea.

Would certainly speed games up.

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