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Hypothetical rule change: remove DH when pitcher is removed

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#21 ashbury

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 06:11 PM

No, it's not a time of game issue. Feel free to ask for clarification before rebutting points not made!

But I was rolling!

 

animal-house.jpg

 

Anyhoo, if it's an aesthetic thing only, I find the cure worse than the disease by that metric as well.
 

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#22 spycake

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 07:53 PM

spycake, I think the title of this thread may be inaccurate. The title makes it sound like a team puts a new DH in the game with each new pitcher. Unless I read things wrong, my understanding of the proposal is that the DH rule would only be in effect while the starting pitcher is in the game. After the starting pitcher is removed there is no DH for the rest of the game.


There is no official proposal or anything. It’s just an idea. The idea in the tweet seemed to be as you described, but as I mention in my first post, it is considered in the tweet replies that the DH in general wouldn’t have to be lost, just that specific DH.

#23 spycake

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 08:02 PM

Anyhoo, if it's an aesthetic thing only, I find the cure worse than the disease by that metric as well.

Just curious: do you like the current pace of action? Meaning, high levels of strikeouts, and low levels of balls in play? If you don’t think there is any meaningful level of disease, then of course any kind of cure is going to be unnecessary.

I’m not prepared to quit the sport over it or anything, but I would like to see some efforts to address those issues. This seemed like a nudge in that direction, less extreme than other proposals, and it seemed like it complemented recent changes like roster expansion, limit on rostered pitchers, and even the 3 batter minimum and maybe even the attempt to get the DH permanently accepted in the NL. Plus the apparent reluctance to reduce time of game — what can we do to improve pace / increase action within that time of game?
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#24 spycake

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 08:28 PM

On a practical level, you figure that the union would go to bat for veterans like Nelson Cruz and oppose such a proposal. Although if it permanently expands the DH to the NL, and comes with an extra bench spot... maybe there is a point where they go along with it? I’m not even quite clear on what new rules need union approval.

But both players and owners probably have enough conflict right now without introducing any more! (I would still like to see a meaningful pitch clock though, even though I know that is just another aesthetic fantasy :) )

#25 nicksaviking

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 09:34 PM

 

This is a discussion more than a proposal, so you can contribute ideas and clarifying language if you want.

 

I certainly didn't mean to propose that the pitcher and DH would be joined at the hip. So maybe a better way to phrase the idea:

 

If you remove a pitcher from the game, the next pitcher will take the current DH's spot in the batting order. That pitcher would also be eligible to be replaced by another DH for as long as they are in the game. You can still freely substitute for the DH at any time with no effect on the pitcher.

 

I guess I didn't realize this part was your proposal, I thought it was something that was being discussed league wide. 

 

But I must be missing something, I assumed most of these replies were in response to that Tweet you included in the OP, not a direct rebuttal of your proposals. Mine was anyway.

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#26 Nine of twelve

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 05:07 AM

 

Just curious: do you like the current pace of action? Meaning, high levels of strikeouts, and low levels of balls in play? If you don’t think there is any meaningful level of disease, then of course any kind of cure is going to be unnecessary.

I’m not prepared to quit the sport over it or anything, but I would like to see some efforts to address those issues. This seemed like a nudge in that direction, less extreme than other proposals, and it seemed like it complemented recent changes like roster expansion, limit on rostered pitchers, and even the 3 batter minimum and maybe even the attempt to get the DH permanently accepted in the NL. Plus the apparent reluctance to reduce time of game — what can we do to improve pace / increase action within that time of game?

To answer your last question, the goal to me would be to have more playable balls hit by batters. My idea would have three parts.

One, a larger strike zone so batters would swing at more pitches. Two, a lower mound to negate the advantage pitchers would gain with a larger strike zone. Three, baseballs that are softer and/or have more air resistance to make home runs less frequent.


#27 shimrod

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 05:30 AM

"To answer your last question, the goal to me would be to have more playable balls hit by batters. My idea would have three parts..."

 

To address this issue, I'd start with the electronic strike zone. A fixed, consistent strike zone would give both batters and pitchers a steady baseline for balls and strikes. Right now, however accurate the pitcher or however good the batter's eye, neither can be confident in what they're seeing due to the variability between umpires and even pitch to pitch. 

 

I'm also in favor of eliminating the DH in both leagues rather than complicating the rules. When a hitter's too old or slow to field a position they don't belong in the league. To put it another way, rather than make managers choose between hitting and pitching game to game with DH contingencies, make them choose between hitting and fielding during roster construction. 

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#28 AceWrigley

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 07:17 AM

No. I'd rather see the Free Hitter Rule where each team gets a "free" pinch hitter once a game where the player being pinch hit for can stay in the game after and the "Free Hitter" returns to the bench where he can be used again.


#29 spycake

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 07:30 AM

 

I guess I didn't realize this part was your proposal, I thought it was something that was being discussed league wide. 

 

But I must be missing something, I assumed most of these replies were in response to that Tweet you included in the OP, not a direct rebuttal of your proposals. Mine was anyway.

Sorry, I didn't mean to mislead. I edited the thread title for a little bit of clarity, maybe?

 

As far as I know, there is no ongoing discussion about this. Jayson Stark called it "one possible wrinkle that has been kicked around in behind-the-scene brainstorming sessions" last winter, but that's about the extent of it.

 

https://theathletic....of-this-decade/

 

FWIW, my proposal is basically the same as the tweeted one, except I add the wrinkle that you can PH for the pitcher and that PH can stay in the lineup as long as that pitcher stays in the game. 

So you could still do openers, and have long relievers, etc. Although when you have a succession of 1-inning relievers, like at the end of many games today, that wouldn't matter much. (For all we know, this could have been part of the "wrinkle" last winter that simply wasn't relayed to or reported by Stark.)


#30 spycake

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 07:41 AM

 

To answer your last question, the goal to me would be to have more playable balls hit by batters. My idea would have three parts.

One, a larger strike zone so batters would swing at more pitches. Two, a lower mound to negate the advantage pitchers would gain with a larger strike zone. Three, baseballs that are softer and/or have more air resistance to make home runs less frequent.

I'm open to those ideas too! And I think they might be reasonably achievable:

 

1. As noted by another poster, maybe a fully automated strike zone would effectively be a larger zone. This seems like a realistic goal.

 

2. There is at least precedent for lowering the mound height, although I am sure pitchers would object.

 

3. Explicitly changing the baseballs would probably cause a lot of controversy -- but like the strike zone point above, standardizing the quality control around such a ball would probably be welcomed after the ball issues of the past few years, and might achieve the same objective.

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#31 spycake

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 07:58 AM

 

I'm also in favor of eliminating the DH in both leagues rather than complicating the rules. When a hitter's too old or slow to field a position they don't belong in the league. To put it another way, rather than make managers choose between hitting and pitching game to game with DH contingencies, make them choose between hitting and fielding during roster construction. 

I think I've felt this way at times, but gosh, pitchers are so, so awful at hitting in MLB. There's the occasional sac bunt that seems okay, but the vast majority of plate appearances just aren't competitive in any way, shape, or form. I know that pitchers used to be treated like any other position on the field, but it's impossible to ignore how they developed into a specialized separate category.

 

Plus, the DH isn't some new-fangled gimmick anymore. It's in the minors, colleges, etc. I guess Japan's Central League is still a holdout like the NL, but the genie is out of the bottle. The DH isn't going away. Best case for traditionalists like yourself, if there is room to compromise to get it adopted by the NL, maybe you can get some concessions that lower the impact of the DH, and incentivize teams to use more well-rounded players in that roster spot (and not round like physical shape :) ).

 

Edit to add: if you want to incentivize teams to have more well-rounded players (hitters who can also play the field), you could even allow teams to shift their DH to the field when the pitcher is removed. So Donaldson could start at DH, then shift to 3B when the starting pitcher is removed in the 6th inning or whenever, with the new pitcher/DH taking the spot of the removed Gonzalez or Adrianza.

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#32 sdangus

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 08:04 AM

I think it is a good way to ruin baseball when some guys that are only interested in forcing the game to be 3 minutes shorter try to make rules that decide the strategy of the game artificially. 

Strategies in the game come and go. If you are going to try to dictate the strategy in the game by changing the rules, it will become a never ending mess.

I say nix the 3 batter rule as well. 

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#33 spycake

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 08:07 AM

I know this proposal -- remove the DH when a pitcher is removed -- seems weird and complicated compared to the current AL rule, but there is some simple elegance to it too! A couple ways to think of it:

 

- The DH is just a PH who gets to stay in the game, only for the current P. (Even the letter abbreviations fit together :) )

 

- Instead of being designated for the whole team, the DH is just designated as hitting for the current pitcher.


#34 Seth Stohs

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 08:25 AM

Nelson Cruz votes "No." 


#35 spycake

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 08:42 AM

 

I think it is a good way to ruin baseball when some guys that are only interested in forcing the game to be 3 minutes shorter try to make rules that decide the strategy of the game artificially. 

Strategies in the game come and go. If you are going to try to dictate the strategy in the game by changing the rules, it will become a never ending mess.

I say nix the 3 batter rule as well. 

First off, this isn't about shortening the game by 3 minutes, as I explained above.

 

Secondly, baseball is a man-made game, not something handed down on stone tablets from a higher power. By its very nature, it is subjective, and sometimes its "natural evolution" makes for a less interesting game.

 

Like, in its original "natural state", pitchers were more or less just like the other 8 fielders. But quickly they became specialized and their hitting prowess deteriorated. Now they've become even more specialized, to the point where offensive outcomes tilt toward strikeouts more than ever before.

 

Other sports have seen this too -- the shot clock, changing rules when teams realized intentional penalties and fouls could be advantageous, etc.

 

There's nothing wrong with opposing a potential rule change -- we all do -- but I would recommend to keep criticism focused on the rule change itself, and not simply sanctify the existing rule set, whatever it is.


#36 spycake

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 08:48 AM

 

Nelson Cruz votes "No." 

Nelson Cruz is not currently employed by any MLB team, so maybe this is the time to sneak it through! :)

 

I know a rule like this would hurt guys like Cruz -- but how many guys like Cruz are there? Very few? I'm sure the MLBPA would stick up for his interests to some degree, but hypothetically, if this rule came with an extra roster spot or some other concession that players wanted, I'm not sure the union would hold out too much. (Of course, I don't know that MLB would want it enough to give that concession to players either!)


#37 Original_JB

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 01:40 PM

I don't think it would fly; think about it, in games where your pitcher is getting knocked around (and getting pulled early), you lose your best DH (assuming you start your best 'hit only' guy) making it even more difficult to make a comeback. Or would it only come into play if your team was tied or winning at the time (since it seems this rule is purely to penalize teams for using analytics (not letting the SP go through the order a third time)?


#38 Original_JB

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 02:26 PM

Your home SP could get knocked around or injured in the 1st and your lineup card DH would need to be pulled without even getting a PA?

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#39 spycake

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 02:33 PM

 

I don't think it would fly; think about it, in games where your pitcher is getting knocked around (and getting pulled early), you lose your best DH (assuming you start your best 'hit only' guy) making it even more difficult to make a comeback. Or would it only come into play if your team was tied or winning at the time (since it seems this rule is purely to penalize teams for using analytics (not letting the SP go through the order a third time)?

I wouldn't say it's "purely to penalize teams for using analytics". I think the origin of the idea may have been trying to get a compromise DH rule with the NL last winter. Although I have noticed that it could also help reduce the parade of hard-throwing short relievers that seem to be helping with the strikeout boom.


#40 spycake

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 02:42 PM

 

Your home SP could get knocked around or injured in the 1st and your lineup card DH would need to be pulled without even getting a PA?

Not necessarily. The beauty of it is that it's just an idea -- if there's an circumstance that we want to avoid, we can refine the idea.

 

In this case, we could say the pitcher technically occupies the spot in the batting order at the start of the game -- and the DH effectively pinch-hits for them the first time up. So you could use an opener, or pull a pitcher in the top of the first, or make as many pitching changes as you want before the P/DH spot comes up for the first time.

 

Could be interesting if you don't actually have to put the DH's name in the lineup card, but instead get to insert him as a pinch hitter. So the other team doesn't know who you're starting.