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Upcoming Rule Changes Greatly Benefit Tyler Austin’s Future

There’s no place in today’s game for a weak-side platoon bat who offers little defensive value. It’s really difficult for me to see the value in the Twins keeping Tyler Austin on the active roster.

That all changes in 2020.

The MLB announced a series of rule changes that will dramatically change a player like Austin’s future outlook. He’s exactly the type of player who will benefit most from these updates.
Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
One of the challenges the Twins face in retaining Austin will be trying to fit him on the roster, which will more than likely feature a three-man bench for the majority of the season. He’s out of options, and power is typically very expensive. If the Twins place him on waivers, I have little doubt the majority of rebuilding teams would be salivating over the thought of bringing him in.

We learned today that an extra roster spot will be added next season, making it much easier for a team to carry a bat-only type player. That’s huge for a guy like Austin. One of the other significant changes coming is the three-batter minimum for pitchers. But there’s a twist.

Starting in 2020, a pitcher must either face three batters or pitch to the end of a half-inning. So it’s not a strict three-batter minimum rule, but it will make it more difficult for teams to deploy specialist pitchers. Austin has been phenomenal against left-handed pitching over his young career (.937 OPS), but right-handers have mostly had their way with him (.664 OPS, 39.0 K%). As it stands right now, it’s not always easy to take advantage of that platoon split, but it will become much easier with these new restrictions.

A lot of the focus on this rule change has revolved around how it impacts bullpen usage. While that’s certainly the most obvious element to the rule and the thing it aims to adjust, I believe this change (in addition to the extra roster spot) means pinch hitters suddenly become a great deal more valuable than they’ve been in the era of the 13-man pitching staff.

These tweaks have the potential to change a slugging pinch hitter from a luxury most teams cannot afford to shoehorn onto their rosters to a potential integral part of the makeup of each team’s bench.

While Austin’s potential value is boosted by these changes, there were already some good reasons for the Twins to try to keep him in the org. Nelson Cruz has been arguably the best power hitter in baseball over the past few years, but nobody escapes Father Time. He does an incredible job at taking care of himself but you never know when a dropoff or significant injury may come. C.J. Cron had a breakout year last season and is a much more established player than Austin, but what if he can’t replicate that success? What if he's LoMo 2.0?

The Twins are only committed to Cruz and Cron for this upcoming season, though both can be brought back in 2020 if the team so chooses – Cruz has a $12 million option and Cron has one more year of arbitration eligibility. Austin, meanwhile, isn’t set to become a free agent until 2024. The Twins also have some nice bats down on the farm who figure to be factoring into the 1B/DH conversation before too long. Brent Rooker also seems to be a big beneficiary of these rule changes, but a bat in the hand is worth two in the rack.

I have not been a big supporter of Tyler Austin in the past because it’s difficult to see much value in a player of his profile the way the game is being played today. With a tweak in the rules must also come a reevaluations of how we value certain players. While these rule changes aren’t so dramatic to cause any kind of a seismic shift, I do believe they have a significant impact on players of Austin’s specific profile.

The only question is can they find room for Austin throughout the entire 2019 season?

Full Rule Changes
Here’s a link to the full press release.

For 2019:

-Inning breaks reduced to two minutes. They were previously 2:05 for local games and 2:25 for national broadcasts.

-There will be a single July 31 trade deadline. No more separate wavier trade deadline.

-Updates to All-Star Game voting and a $1 million bonus to the Home Run Derby winner.


For 2020:

-Active roster to expand one spot to 26.

-Rosters will only expand to 28 in September instead of 40.

-Undetermined cap on the number of pitchers on an active roster. This will be determined by a joint committee.

-Pitchers will need to either face three batters or pitch to the end of a half-inning.

-Injured list goes back up to 15 days instead of 10.


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86 Comments

 

On today's radio broadcast Cory asked Falvey about these changes.Falvey mentioned he expects there to be "tweaks" to the 3 batter minimum rule.In particular they discussed the option of waiving the minimum if the opposing team puts in a pinch hitter.That way a team can't suddenly put in a couple righties where they had lefties or vice versa and force your pitcher to face them.

Make a rule and stick with it.Tweaks are not necessary, adjustments in strategy are.With three man benches there is only so many substitutes and the opposing manager knows what they are.

 

    • Dman and dbminn like this

Where is the pitch clock?How about the electronic ball and strike count?What about more limits on the mound visits?Still a lot to be done.

 

Where is the pitch clock?How about the electronic ball and strike count?What about more limits on the mound visits?Still a lot to be done.

You actually want these??New mound visit limits are effective for 2019 down from 6 to 5.

 

Where is the pitch clock?How about the electronic ball and strike count?What about more limits on the mound visits?Still a lot to be done.

 

apparently the players don't want a pitch clock. They might lose money on their glove endorsements, I guess

 

/s

    • Danchat and mikelink45 like this

Saying that a GM should always have a suitable replacement for a star level player might be a stretch. Especially considering the disparity of payrolls around the league. Tampa Bay can't reasonably have an answer to losing a star player in August. Doesn't seem like you have an answer for who benefits from ditching the August waiver deadline.


Who benefits? The players do... We do. Urgency is created and teams will be forced to build their squads in the off-season when they should all be building their clubs. It creates even more urgency in Late July and it get them off the fence. Playoff contenders will have to roster significant depth.Teams caught with their pants down, (Which is always their fault) will have to utilize top prospects and give them the chance that they would otherwise delay for service time considerations.

 

And.. And... I won’t have to try to understand the complicated waiver process anymore.

I’ve been preaching this for a long time. Injuries are going to happen. A healthy team in July that assumes it will be healthy in August and September deserves the painful fate that awaits them. Any team that picks a starting 9 with scrubs watching on the bench deserves the painful fate that awaits them. When Aaron Judge goes down he can’t be replaced. August deadline or not. You can go get a McCutchen in August to soften the blow but you should already have a McCutchen on your roster because Judge or Hicks or Stanton can also go down in September or In April.

 

Staff your roster. If you don’t... you deserve what happens.

Tampa isn’t going to replace Blake Snell even with an August deadline. Tampa will replace a Tommy Pham August injury because if they are in contention they can choose to trade for Starling Marte on July 30th before Pham gets hurt in August.

 

If nobody gets hurt, leaving Marte and Pham both healthy on the same roster... I do not see that as a problem... Kevin Cash can then figure it out.

    • Mike Sixel and DocBauer like this

 

Who benefits? The players do... We do. Urgency is created and teams will be forced to build their squads in the off-season when they should all be building their clubs. It creates even more urgency in Late July and it get them off the fence. Playoff contenders will have to roster significant depth.Teams caughr with their pants down. Which is always their fault will have to utilize top prospects and give them a chance that they would otherwise delay for service time considerations and I won’t have to try to understand the complicated waiver process anymore.

I’ve been preaching this for a long time. Injuries are going to happen. A healthy team in July that assumes it will be healthy in August and September deserves the painful fate that awaits them. Any team that picks a starting 9 with scrubs watching on the bench deserves the painful fate that awaits them. When Aaron Judge goes down he can’t be replaced. August deadline or not. You can go get a McCutchen in August to soften the blow but you should already have a McCutchen on your roster because Judge or Hicks or Stanton can also go down in September or In April. Staff your roster. If you don’t... you deserve what happens.

Tampa isn’t going to replace Blake Snell even with an August deadline. Tampa will replace a Tommy Pham August injury because if they are in contention they can choose to trade for Starling Marte on July 30th before Pham gets hurt. Kevin Cash can then figure it out.

More teams will take themselves out of contention in July.That's not a win for anybody.

 

If the argument is that teams need to be prepared for injures, and data says that older players break down more often.....It will place even more of an emphasis on younger (cheaper) players.Older players will be even more limited in Free Agency.Just one more reason to lean toward the drastic rebuild strategy to ensure they have a bounty of young core players before actively attempting to compete.Doesn't seem like players or fans are benefiting...

Having one trade deadline forces teams to make decisions instead of drag their feet until August. And it creates urgency to make trades in May/June (gasp!) if the team is competitive.
    • Sconnie and DocBauer like this

 

You actually want these??New mound visit limits are effective for 2019 down from 6 to 5.

I either want them or want them to quit talking about them.But actually I do want them and I do not want the other proposal - reduce themound and move it back.We already reduced it after Bob Gibson dominated the leagues.But we keep searching for faster and better pitching then look for ways to make it less effective.

 

I either want them or want them to quit talking about them.But actually I do want them and I do not want the other proposal - reduce themound and move it back.We already reduced it after Bob Gibson dominated the leagues.But we keep searching for faster and better pitching then look for ways to make it less effective.

I don't like the automated balls and strike calls.That could has some trickling effects throughout the game.Pitch framing is obsolete, the catcher can focus almost entirely on the baserunners. etc.Would an ump still stand there?Would the catchers start using different crouch positions to quicken their throw to 2nd?

 

I also kind of like the human effect.Make pitchers adjust if the ump doesn't give a certain part of the plate.I like having the catcher trying to trick them with pitch framing.If we get rid of this ump duty, we might as well get rid of them all and have a team of computer guys call every single aspect of play from off field computers.

 

More teams will take themselves out of contention in July.That's not a win for anybody.

 

If the argument is that teams need to be prepared for injures, and data says that older players break down more often.....It will place even more of an emphasis on younger (cheaper) players.Older players will be even more limited in Free Agency.Just one more reason to lean toward the drastic rebuild strategy to ensure they have a bounty of young core players before actively attempting to compete.Doesn't seem like players or fans are benefiting...

 

Teams are already taking themselves out of contention in July so I don't think it can be "more". I'd actually guess "less" because teams will not be able to continue evaluation into August and 2 months to make up ground is simply a longer time frame. 

 

Yes... The argument from me... is that teams need to be prepared for injuries. I say it often and unequivocally and I imagine I will continue saying it over and over again. However... I'm not sure if the data says that older players break down more often. Maybe it does... but I do believe the data says that older players get paid more and often times don't produce more than players making minimum salary. 

 

In other words... Baseball Front Offices are already there. They are already stocking up on young players and not paying marginal free agents. I don't think the August Waiver Deadline is going to change that. 

 

I believe shortening the trade window available will force teams to be more aggressive in the off-season to plug holes... so they have less holes to plug during the season. Or it will have little or no effect at all and we just carry on like normal without the complicated waiver trade process explanations.:)

Teams are already taking themselves out of contention in July so I don't think it can be "more". I'd actually guess "less" because teams will not be able to continue evaluation into August and 2 months to make up ground is simply a longer time frame.

Yes... The argument from me... is that teams need to be prepared for injuries. I say it often and unequivocally and I imagine I will continue saying it over and over again. However... I'm not sure if the data says that older players break down more often. Maybe it does... but I do believe the data says that older players get paid more and often times don't produce more than players making minimum salary.

In other words... Baseball Front Offices are already there. They are already stocking up on young players and not paying marginal free agents. I don't think the August Waiver Deadline is going to change that.

I believe shortening the trade window available will force teams to be more aggressive in the off-season to plug holes... so they have less holes to plug during the season. Or it will have little or no effect at all and we just carry on like normal without the complicated waiver trade process explanations. :)

I believe more teams will sell in July, it becomes the only time to decide. If you are 6-10 games back you have to decide to sell or hope everything breaks right. I believe teams will see selling as the better option if they cant fall back on the August trades.

Yes teams will try to be prepared for injuries. But if you find yourself in a close race and a key player goes down, that August deadline was nice.

I'm not saying that teams should depend on using the august deadline each season. I'm saying it had a purpose, it benefitted teams in need. A lot can happen in the last 60 days, a long time to only have your prospects as your backup.

The reason for removing it still is not clear to me. No one benefits from removing it.

And there is a correlation between age and number of DL trips. Older players are more likely to get injured.
I still want a pitch clock/better clock, however you want to look at it.

I'm OK with a hard trade deadline, but I would have gone with a compromise of 1st or 2nd week in August to give more time for all teams involved. But roster depth, 40 man roster and AAA are there for a reason. Still, I could see another week or two.

I LOVE the 26 man roster. It's about time!

NOT in favor of the 28 man September roster. I understand keeping competitive balance during the stretch. But the expanded roster is not just about rewarding players. It's about an audition for young players for the next season. Cap it at 30 if you need to, but I don't like 28.

Initially, I balked at the 3 batter minimum. But I like the substitute pitcher for a PH. It just makes sense. But it's the "end of an inning" caveat that I like. It seems to me that often a RP is brought in for an inning at a time. If he's brought in for more than that, he can be replaced at any time after 3 batters. And THAT RP could be in for as little as 1 batter. In regard to a SP, it's really the same. Many times a SP may be removed after an out or two. In this scenario, again, he only has to finish the inning. I think it's an interesting move that adds to the strategy.

 

I believe more teams will sell in July, it becomes the only time to decide. If you are 6-10 games back you have to decide to sell or hope everything breaks right. I believe teams will see selling as the better option if they cant fall back on the August trades.

Yes teams will try to be prepared for injuries. But if you find yourself in a close race and a key player goes down, that August deadline was nice.

I'm not saying that teams should depend on using the august deadline each season. I'm saying it had a purpose, it benefitted teams in need. A lot can happen in the last 60 days, a long time to only have your prospects as your backup.

The reason for removing it still is not clear to me. No one benefits from removing it.

And there is a correlation between age and number of DL trips. Older players are more likely to get injured.

 

The change was proposed by the MLBPA. It is something they have discussed for awhile. MLB Gave some to get some 

 

The players wanted this because they didn't like the uncertainty of their fates extended into August anymore. The players have been talking about competitive integrity for a while now.

 

Here is how competitive integrity is addressed with this move. 

 

1. August Waiver Deadline is removed

 

2. Teams have to decide by July 31st. 

 

3. July Bottleneck increases competition for the available trade options. It doesn't increase them, it just makes each one more valuable. 

 

4. Increased competition leads to higher prices (IE More or Higher Ranked Prospects). 

 

5. Trade price become painful and the front offices learn that they can't come out of spring training with Ryan LaMarre on the 25 man roster unless they want to trade Royce Lewis for a rental later. 

 

6. Riverbrian thrusts his arms in the air in celebration because teams are building to compete in the off-season, where it should happen because the regular season now starts in March not July or August.:)

    • DocBauer likes this

 

Despite the big advantage to Mr. Austin, I'm stunned that they will actually have the three batter rule. This will have a dramatic effect on bullpens and strategy imho.

 

I'm shocked as well. Manfred is trying to make baseball appealing to people who don't like the sport.

 

Instead he's making major changes that casual fans won't notice - and it's awful.

 

I don't like the automated balls and strike calls.That could has some trickling effects throughout the game.Pitch framing is obsolete, the catcher can focus almost entirely on the baserunners. etc.Would an ump still stand there?Would the catchers start using different crouch positions to quicken their throw to 2nd?

 

I also kind of like the human effect.Make pitchers adjust if the ump doesn't give a certain part of the plate.I like having the catcher trying to trick them with pitch framing.If we get rid of this ump duty, we might as well get rid of them all and have a team of computer guys call every single aspect of play from off field computers.

From my perspective the ump is an outsider, not part of the game.Their errors and sometimes their arrogance does not add to the game.And when they decide to squeeze rookies and expand for vets that too does nothing for me.  

    • Mike Sixel, Twins33, nicksaviking and 1 other like this

 

The change was proposed by the MLBPA. It is something they have discussed for awhile. MLB Gave some to get some 

 

The players wanted this because they didn't like the uncertainty of their fates extended into August anymore. The players have been talking about competitive integrity for a while now.

 

Here is how competitive integrity is addressed with this move. 

 

1. August Waiver Deadline is removed

 

2. Teams have to decide by July 31st. 

 

3. July Bottleneck increases competition for the available trade options. It doesn't increase them, it just makes each one more valuable. 

 

4. Increased competition leads to higher prices (IE More or Higher Ranked Prospects). 

 

5. Trade price become painful and the front offices learn that they can't come out of spring training with Ryan LaMarre on the 25 man roster unless they want to trade Royce Lewis for a rental later. 

 

6. Riverbrian thrusts his arms in the air in celebration because teams are building to compete in the off-season, where it should happen because the regular season now starts in March not July or August.:)

Why would players not like the August deadline?Don't they care about winning?Verlander leaving Detroit for Houston seems like a best case scenario for him.

 

Trade prices will not increase if more teams are forced into selling earlier.There will likely be more players available at the July deadline.Buying teams would have more options. Economics says that more sellers + less buyers = lower prices.

 

This won't have much of an effect on the off season.Veterans if anything will have a harder time than the last 2 off seasons due to increased fears of injuries.This did not help on that front.

 

This rule change benefits no one.

As far as the trading deadline, I think it should have been pushed back a week or two.

In my fantasy baseball and football league we have played with moving the trade deadline. And what we have found is if it is too early there are very little trades because nobody want to give up too soon and it if is too late there are a ton of trades and the top teams just stack up.

There is some sweet spot and I think MLB needs to find that.

    • DocBauer likes this

Why would players not like the August deadline? Don't they care about winning? Verlander leaving Detroit for Houston seems like a best case scenario for him.

Trade prices will not increase if more teams are forced into selling earlier. There will likely be more players available at the July deadline. Buying teams would have more options. Economics says that more sellers + less buyers = lower prices.

This won't have much of an effect on the off season. Veterans if anything will have a harder time than the last 2 off seasons due to increased fears of injuries. This did not help on that front.

This rule change benefits no one.


I don’t have the same assumption as you do when it comes to this making more teams sellers in July. By the same token it could also increase buyers. Less time for the pack to separate. Teams are closer together in July... time creates wider separation of the have and have nots.

Elimination of August will ramp up activity in July.... that can’t be argued.

Anyway... it’s the MLBPA who wants it. They must have reasons.

From my perspective the ump is an outsider, not part of the game. Their errors and sometimes their arrogance does not add to the game. And when they decide to squeeze rookies and expand for vets that too does nothing for me.


Preach it!
    • mikelink45 likes this

Why would players not like the August deadline? Don't they care about winning? Verlander leaving Detroit for Houston seems like a best case scenario for him.

Trade prices will not increase if more teams are forced into selling earlier. There will likely be more players available at the July deadline. Buying teams would have more options. Economics says that more sellers + less buyers = lower prices.

This won't have much of an effect on the off season. Veterans if anything will have a harder time than the last 2 off seasons due to increased fears of injuries. This did not help on that front.

This rule change benefits no one.


They care about knowing where they live. How would you like to be traded to another city? These are people, with families and friends and homes. Not widgets to be moved around as if they had no real value as humans

 

They care about knowing where they live. How would you like to be traded to another city? These are people, with families and friends and homes. Not widgets to be moved around as if they had no real value as humans

So you're flat out against all trades and not just the August deadline?

 

Its the final month of the season.People don't play baseball for location security.Travel and possible relocation is part of the job description.

 

The August deadline would buy them one more month in their "desired" location than if the teams just decide to trade them in July instead.

 

I like to imagine that somewhere, deep down, winning is important to professional baseball players. 

 

 

I don’t have the same assumption as you do when it comes to this making more teams sellers in July. By the same token it could also increase buyers. Less time for the pack to separate. Teams are closer together in July... time creates wider separation of the have and have nots.

Elimination of August will ramp up activity in July.... that can’t be argued.

Anyway... it’s the MLBPA who wants it. They must have reasons.

The 3 options teams face are buy, stand pat, and sell at the deadline.I am fairly certain that teams in the 5-10 games back range will no longer see stand pat as an option.Their choice will be do we buy heavily and try to catch the teams that are also buying (This risks losing prospects for what can very easily be a non playoff scenario)or they could sell while they have the chance and build for the future.

 

We have seen how teams view risk these days.We have also seen how teams view the importance of building for the future.I think there will be more sellers.

Baseball diehards aren’t going anywhere. Have to look at these changes from the perspective of the casual fan, who I presume actually represent a bigger share of the revenue and are more critical to long-term league success. In that lens (and even in general), I don’t see much negative here.
    • Mike Sixel and dbminn like this

 

They care about knowing where they live. How would you like to be traded to another city? These are people, with families and friends and homes. Not widgets to be moved around as if they had no real value as humans

Well, they make a great deal of money and this is the business they are in.

That said, I have often wondered why more contracts don't include a payout in the event of a trade. You have to move to another city and that seems like it should entail some compensation.

So you're flat out against all trades and not just the August deadline?

Its the final month of the season. People don't play baseball for location security. Travel and possible relocation is part of the job description.

The August deadline would buy them one more month in their "desired" location than if the teams just decide to trade them in July instead.

I like to imagine that somewhere, deep down, winning is important to professional baseball players.

I'm sure winning is important to them, but it's not necessarily the MOST important thing for most of them, I'd guess.

It's hard for us to realize, sometimes, because all of us have only ever played baseball for the joy of it. But this is a job to them, period. It's not a hobby or passion project.
It's no different than how most of us here pursue our careers, I'd guess. Being a part of the best "team" probably has some importance to all of us, whatever that means in our respective careers, but for most of us, it's just one factor on a long list of important factors we consider.

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