Jump to content
  • Create Account

Is it time to eject pitchers for HBP?


What should MLB do about the HBP?  

52 members have voted

  1. 1. Should pitchers be ejected for hitting batters?

    • No, the HBP is part of baseball, even if the number continues to rise
      24
    • Yes, eject immediately, keep batters safe, and hopefully increase offense at the same time
      1
    • Eject the pitcher after two HBP in one appearance
      14
    • Eject the pitcher after two HBP in one inning
      4
    • Award the batter two bases for a HBP
      9


5 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

The Buxton incident only prompted the creation of a poll/thread about it. The conversation at large has been happening in baseball circles for a few years now as HBP numbers have been on the rise year after year.

The second part of my post still applies and unfortunately is probably a result of the way the game has evolved to more and more of a power game on both ends. Compounding that is how many pitchers are used in every game and how many pitches a batter sees in every at bat with foul ball after foul ball and high pitch counts if a ball is even put in play(I think the Twins used 7 pitchers last night.) and they all throw hard and they all can't be in total command every game.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let’s see? We have an emphasis on velocity by the pitchers. Control artists and crafty lefties are being left in the lurch. Everyone wants triple digit pitchers, especially relievers. 
Then we have the majority of hitters selling out on every swing. In a manner this leaves them somewhat less protected. And many seem to stand on top of the plate. These two situations have to lead to more instances where guys get nicked. 
The last thing baseball needs is yet another Mickey Mouse rule to confuse the players, umpires and fans. 
As for the Reds and Buxton. The two teams seldom play so why exactly would the Reds be headhunting a player they see less than ten times a year, if that. There is no rivalry there such as the Twins White Sox. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the idea of giving two bases for a HBP, but agree it has to be accompanied by more severe and/or enforced rules for players leaning into pitches. Is the current rule only that a batter can't move into the way of a pitch in order to get hit intentionally, or is the current rule that a batter must attempt to move out of the way of a pitch?

Super-crazy, half-baked idea off the top of my head: if balls and strikes start being called automatically by robo umps, could you incentivize less inside pitching by making a called strike that ends up middle-middle (in the nine box grid often seen in strike zone graphics) be worth two strikes? Incentivizes pitching to the heart of the zone, which means less HBP, less walks, more good pitches for batters to hit, which increases offense and means less pitches per at bat, starters can go deeper into the game, less pitching changes, and faster pace of play. Incentivizes batters to be more aggressive early in the count, since called strikes down the middle are now worse you better make sure you're swinging at them. De-incentivizes selling out for power as one whiff means you're now one pitch away from a strike out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

People did worry about it. MLB banned some arm and elbow padding to get hitters off the plate.

20 years later, we're back at the same point again, except now pitchers throw ~5mph faster.

Maybe Buxton should sue MLB?  Had he been able to use more arm padding maybe he doesn't fracture his wrist?  This injury could possibly rule out a 30 million dollar per year contact for him.  All because MLB banned some extra padding?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would prefer the first option without the second half of it.  I'd leave it as of now, but a continuing trend endangers players and at that point something has to be done.  You can't allow your product to be harmed because pitchers are indifferent to how many people they hit.

I feel like we need a megathread - Baseball: All the Ways It's Bleeding to Death.  (hemorrhaging may be better....)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lots of good ideas here, but no clear solution. I like the idea of allowing more padding, and the idea of counting a pitch down the middle as two strikes is creative and intriguing.

Another idea would be to require a pitcher to bat in the following inning after the pitcher hits someone if the batter is injured. 😉

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The reasons the number of HBP have risen are varied and have little to nothing to do with pitchers taking liberties. Pitchers throw inside way less than they used to and also throw way fewer ‘purpose’ pitches. But they throw harder and have less control.

Meanwhile, in the modern game, the batters stand right on top of the plate wearing high-tech body armor so that they can pull and launch pitches on the outside corner of the plate. It completely different than how the game was played until relatively recently.

If deemed intentional or retaliatory, eject. If not, no new consequences. That’s not perfect, but it’s better than dealing with the laws of unintentional consequences that the other options would render.
 

The pitch that hit Buxton was maybe 6 inches inside, but he was guessing something outer half and had started to move his hands to swing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, JW24 said:

HBP is part of baseball, except when done intentionally. There should be 0 tolerance for intentional HBPs.

If you want to up the ante for what happens when a batter is hit, which I don't think is necessary, how about having a HBP worth 2 bases? Significantly reduces the ability for a double play from the next hitter which theoretically makes the pitcher now have to work much harder. Flip side to this is umpires need to have some discretion for when a hitter is trying to get hit and act accordingly.

I kind of agree, but intent isn't a black/white issue. For example, if a pitcher has been relying on a sticky stuff 4-seamer and continues throwing it - less sticky - for the same purposes (not for hitting batters), that's still either reckless or negligent. Of course, an observer will rarely if ever be able to know and sanction that kind of grey area-behavior, and batters rarely get badly hurt by HBPs. Still, hitting heads, hands, or feet should perhaps be strictly protected, as in regardless of intent/knowledge/reckless/negligence on the pitcher's end. As in the case with Buxton, it just appears wrong that a pitcher should see no other downside than putting a guy with a .409 OBP on first when clunking him on the back of the hand, eventually putting him out of the game for god-only-knows how long.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Problem is that the pitch wasn't that far out of the zone, fact is that Buck started his swing and his hand hit the ball, penalizing the pitcher by ejecting him is dumb.  Pitchers that throw at hitters on purpose already get ejected so I don't see the problem.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

Literally not the point anyone is making but okay.

But in reality what everyone is saying is that because of the velocity of the pitches that now the pitchers have less control.  Since they have less control if they hit someone then eject them???  I mean on the roads and highways if all of the cars drove 100 mph then the drivers would probably have less control, with less control more accidents will probably occur.  What would we as a society do?? Lower the speed limit? Right?  

 

But that example in itself hits my point, there are also other factors at play here.  I really don't think the pitchers have a lot less control than Gibson or Ryan, but the hitters didn't stand on top of the plate when those guys were throwing.  So what responsibility are the hitters taking as far as getting hit by pitches??  Back off an extra inch or two and less guys get hit by unintentional pitches.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, Twodogs said:

First question is I wonder why there were so many hit batters in the late 90's early 2000's??  I wonder if some of it has to do with hitter's approaches?  I mean this is a little radical, but remember how close to the plate Barry Bonds used to stand?  Is there something that the hitters are doing differently that is not allowing them to get out of the way?  These are just things that cross my mind first before I start blaming pitchers for hitting batters. 

Good points. The mid-to-late-90s is the start of the PED era.

That same period is also the most recent expansion team era.

Also division realignment; maybe there is a little bit of “divisional rivalry / bad blood” hit batters in that data.

Also, and this idea is really out of left field (actually center field), but when did “batters’ eyes” in center behind the pitcher become a thing? Just one more disadvantage dealt to pitchers when may have led to pitching to hitters differently. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Twodogs said:

Problem is that the pitch wasn't that far out of the zone, fact is that Buck started his swing and his hand hit the ball, penalizing the pitcher by ejecting him is dumb.  Pitchers that throw at hitters on purpose already get ejected so I don't see the problem.

I don't know if that was directed at me, but I didn't come down any particular way, more thinking aloud. As to the ball that hit Buxton, the umpire obviously didn't fault Buck as if going after it, so it was a violation regardless of his movement. But what I was getting at, not very clearly, is that sometimes - for policy reasons, or for simplicity in application, or both - you let even unintended consequences factor into determining the penalty. For example, when I played hockey as a teen in Sweden, you'd get five minutes (instead of two) for otherwise minor stuff like accidental high-sticking, if it caused bleeding. It was easy to apply, and it probably worked as a deterrent against less accidental high-sticking, likely leading to fewer nasty eye-injuries in the long-run.

I'm just spitballing, but while pitchers that throws behind or hits guys on purpose (rightly) get ejected, other pitchers throws triple-digit fastballs with unknown intent/recklessness/control, regardlessly causes a serious injury to a player's hand, but gets [in our case] a slugger to first, and that's how it's gotta be? It would in most cases be impossible to assess the severity of the potential injury, but it wouldn't be hard to call what pitch hit the player where. And perhaps that should matter more than it currently does. That's all. And would it be so terrible to step up the penalizing of possibly accidental but bad head-/hand-/foot-hits, considering the possible implications? I can't see it incentivizing (sane) batters to take dangerous hits, but perhaps it would depress at least some hard inside pitches in high pitch count-situations, for example. Again, I don't know. But those hands and feet can be pretty pricey, as we know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, USAFChief said:

The more baseball strays from the traditional, the worse it gets.

Leave the HBP rule alone. 

 

Deadball was traditional.  I could take it you mean play like it was still 1950 baseball.  The traditional baseball of a different generation would be steroid enhanced players. Maybe traditional baseball is all white players

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Twodogs said:

But in reality what everyone is saying is that because of the velocity of the pitches that now the pitchers have less control.  Since they have less control if they hit someone then eject them???  I mean on the roads and highways if all of the cars drove 100 mph then the drivers would probably have less control, with less control more accidents will probably occur.  What would we as a society do?? Lower the speed limit? Right?  

 

I think there's an important distinction here that should be pointed out.  In my view many posters here, myself included, have referenced the max effort being the problem, not the velocity itself.  The loss of control comes from the max effort, not the velocity.  

Not that anyone should be tossed for max effort either, but there's a cause and effect situation here.  The implication being that if pitchers dialed it back a bit, they'd gain more control and thus hit fewer batters.  There's a similar situation with hitters too, but that's not hurting people as frequently.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

50 minutes ago, wsnydes said:

I think there's an important distinction here that should be pointed out.  In my view many posters here, myself included, have referenced the max effort being the problem, not the velocity itself.  The loss of control comes from the max effort, not the velocity.  

Not that anyone should be tossed for max effort either, but there's a cause and effect situation here.  The implication being that if pitchers dialed it back a bit, they'd gain more control and thus hit fewer batters.  There's a similar situation with hitters too, but that's not hurting people as frequently.

This. I've mentioned velocity a few times but I believe I only mentioned it on the context of "the faster a pitch is thrown, the more it will hurt someone".

But you're spot-on with the max effort part. Pitchers going 100% on every pitch is a relatively new phenomenon. In the past, there was little reason to go max effort on the #8 hitter, who was probably a .620 OPS shortstop. And pitchers were expected to go deeper into games or longer in relief appearances, which meant they needed to conserve energy and the easiest way to do that is to not give max effort on every pitch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

This. I've mentioned velocity a few times but I believe I only mentioned it on the context of "the faster a pitch is thrown, the more it will hurt someone".

But you're spot-on with the max effort part. Pitchers going 100% on every pitch is a relatively new phenomenon. In the past, there was little reason to go max effort on the #8 hitter, who was probably a .620 OPS shortstop. And pitchers were expected to go deeper into games or longer in relief appearances, which meant they needed to conserve energy and the easiest way to do that is to not give max effort on every pitch.

Agree completely.  Plus, in those situations that do call for something "a little extra", if you're dialed back a bit you still have that extra few MPH in the tank that might come in handy.  If you're already going all out, that little bit extra isn't there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

HBP happens too often, but it's worth pointing out that the graph in the OP is misleading.  We have more teams and longer seasons than 100 years ago.  

HBP per game (or HBP/9 for consistency) would be a more interesting view, and it might show the early years of baseball as being just as bad as the current game.  My guess tells me that the early years were worse.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

30 minutes ago, Dodecahedron said:

HBP happens too often, but it's worth pointing out that the graph in the OP is misleading.  We have more teams and longer seasons than 100 years ago.  

HBP per game (or HBP/9 for consistency) would be a more interesting view, and it might show the early years of baseball as being just as bad as the current game.  My guess tells me that the early years were worse.

Maybe not misleading, but certainly could have more context to clarify.  You bring up some interesting points.  The curve on the graph you provided is interesting, for sure.

I would expect a time when mechanics aren't as well understood to show what your graph shows.  You'd think that in a time where mechanics and coaching of them are so predominant, that the rate would be lower but they're not.  HBP at 1900 aren't as likely to be as damaging either.  Few, if any, guys were throwing as hard as the typical pitcher does today.

Definitely interesting to see things in this perspective too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

34 minutes ago, Dodecahedron said:

Adding to what I said in my last comment, I found this on Fangraphs.  This approach accounts for the increase in games played.

  BP-Hit-by-Pitch-per-PA.png.715ce1f1aff4efa8c05e344785af9134.png

Thanks for digging this up. This is roughly what I expected the more accurate graph to look like, actually. There's still a significant increase but not quite as pronounced as the earlier graph.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, RiddarCarpo said:

I kind of agree, but intent isn't a black/white issue. For example, if a pitcher has been relying on a sticky stuff 4-seamer and continues throwing it - less sticky - for the same purposes (not for hitting batters), that's still either reckless or negligent. Of course, an observer will rarely if ever be able to know and sanction that kind of grey area-behavior, and batters rarely get badly hurt by HBPs. Still, hitting heads, hands, or feet should perhaps be strictly protected, as in regardless of intent/knowledge/reckless/negligence on the pitcher's end. As in the case with Buxton, it just appears wrong that a pitcher should see no other downside than putting a guy with a .409 OBP on first when clunking him on the back of the hand, eventually putting him out of the game for god-only-knows how long.

Pitchers don't use sticky stuff for the purpose of not hitting batters; they do it to make their stuff as nasty as possible so they can get to and remain in the big leagues. The excuse they use, to not hit batters, is eyewash for MLB to continue to look the other way on this issue.

Intent behind a HBP is pretty obvious. There are not a whole of instances where someone gets thrown at and you have to scratch your head as to if it was on purpose or not.

HBP is a part of the game. Not every negative action/result needs to come with punishment. It is awful Buxton is out again, but he was not hit purposefully.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How much more grief do pitchers need to be subjected to. Batters get hit, it’s part of the game, but automatic ejections is going to far. Constantly checking pitches for foreign substances goes too far also. Let them play, if they violate the rules take the appropriate action, but stop with all the inspections.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, JW24 said:

Pitchers don't use sticky stuff for the purpose of not hitting batters; they do it to make their stuff as nasty as possible so they can get to and remain in the big leagues. The excuse they use, to not hit batters, is eyewash for MLB to continue to look the other way on this issue.

Pitchers don't use grip enhancers to avoid the HBP but a stickier ball has the side effect of being easier to control. Ergo, fewer errant pitches. Ergo, fewer hit batters.

I agree that it's eyewash to claim they use sticky substances to avoid the HBP, pitchers use sticky substances to add spin and control while maintaining velocity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, LVTwinsfan said:

How much more grief do pitchers need to be subjected to.

Pitchers could have easily avoided this situation by, you know, not cheating constantly and egregiously.

The 2021 version of baseball is the worst I've experienced since I began watching close to 40 years ago. A large reason it's so bad is because pitchers have used illegal substances to gain an even larger advantage over batters than they already had in the modern game.

I don't have much sympathy for their bitching and moaning right now. It's their own damned fault they're in this position (MLB also gets their fair share of blame for allowing it to become this bad and widespread but I've numbed myself to the fact MLB is feckless when it comes to the quality of the game).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

Pitchers could have easily avoided this situation by, you know, not cheating constantly and egregiously.

The 2021 version of baseball is the worst I've experienced since I began watching close to 40 years ago. A large reason it's so bad is because pitchers have used illegal substances to gain an even larger advantage over batters than they already had in the modern game.

I don't have much sympathy for their bitching and moaning right now. It's their own damned fault they're in this position (MLB also gets their fair share of blame for allowing it to become this bad and widespread but I've numbed myself to the fact MLB is feckless when it comes to the quality of the game).

Sergio Romo got it right last night.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Twins Daily Video

  • ×
    ×
    • Create New...