Will MLB 2023 rule changes really help the Houston Astros?

Major League Baseball last week announced rule changes that will take effect from 2023. No, these are not rule changes. Changes implemented by Commissioner Rob Manfred. What will any of these changes mean for the Houston Astros in 2023? Glad you asked.

Al-Qaeda: With the bases empty, bowlers will have 15 seconds to get into the wind from the moment they retrieve the ball from the catcher. With the runners at the base, the pitchers will have 20 seconds to start connecting them. The hitter must be in the box with at least eight seconds remaining.

If the bowler is not about to finish in time, he will be charged with the ball; Likewise, if the hitter is not in the box in time, he will be charged with the hit. The rationale for this is to speed up the pace of play and get people home early.

Statcast’s Pitch Tempo data (which, admittedly, starts the clock earlier than the MLB clock will start next season), Ryan Pressly has the slowest field pace on the Astros, averaging 23.8 seconds between courts with empty bases and 25.9 seconds with the runners. . Ryne Stanek (26.7 seconds), Lance McCullers, Jr. And Rafael Montero (27.0 seconds), and Luis Garcia (27.3 seconds) all have the Astros’ slowest tempo and will need to raise it a bit. One benefit to Luis Garcia is that his seal is so bent that he may not actually have to make any adjustments.

Even with the rules empty, the fastest Astros bowlers Seth Martinez (15.6 seconds), McCullers and Jose Orchidi (16.4 seconds), and Brandon Bellack (16.5 seconds) are closest to the cut. With the rule that the bowler must have received the ball from the catcher and must be at the end by the appointed time, it may not end up being a very big deal for Astros bowlers.

Limit pickups

Al-Qaeda: The jugs can only separate from the rubber twice per plate appearance. This includes throws of the blade (both real and fake), stepping down the rubber, or having a position player ask the referee for time. After the third disengagement, the shooter is charged with shock unless a runner advances to base.

Combining this with the pitch clock means the Astros – and every other team – will try to steal more bases. Kyle Tucker is currently 22 for 24 in loot base attempts; Jose Altove is 16 to 17. No one else on the team has reached a double digit for stolen bases this season. Likewise, catcher Martin Maldonado has cast 13 of 50 potential stealers, and his 26 percent success rate is just above the league average of 25 percent. Given that Jose Altov is one of only two AL players to break 50 stolen bases in the past dozens of years, and finish 56th in the league during the 2014 season, this rule is meant to create more excitement on the base lanes.

basic sizes

Al-Qaeda: Bases will expand from 15 inches to 18 inches.

Well you barely We will notice this. But the elements of these three rules go hand in hand: increasing the size of the bases will make sliding into the base easier with less chance of injury. It will also increase base loot attempts and increase game movement, since there is a shorter distance to move between bases. Even if the distance is minimal, the extra inch makes a big difference.

Shift ban

Al-Qaeda: When the field is thrown, there must be two players – standing on the playing field – on either side of the second base. Once the ball leaves the bowler’s hand, they are free to move. If the defensive team breaks the rule and the offense takes a hit, anyway, whatever. If the offense does not take a hit, they can accept a penalty kick and add a ball to the hitter’s count. Or they can refuse it.

This is where the pace-of-play initiatives covered earlier in this article can start to get skewed, just by challenges and penalties. But the point is the same: increase the attack. When the Astros joined the MLS in 2013, their average BABIP (in-play hit rate) was 0.298. In 2022 their number was 0.289. For the Astros, BABIP in 2013 – when the team was verifiably bad – was 0.303. Now they have an AL-leading record of 90 wins, 50 losses despite having a .276 BABIP, the 25 worst marks in all of MLB.

The shift – referred to when three players are on the same side of second base, which will be banned next season – will have a marginal effect on the Astros’ defensive alignment. Again using Statcast data, the 2022 Astros perform a turn against the right-handed hitter 26.5 percent of the time — the sixth highest in the MLB and above the league average of 20.2. percent. Against left-handed hitters, though, the Astros have put three players on the same side of the bag 80.8 percent of the time—much higher than the next most bout team, the Dodgers, who do so 70.6 percent of the time.

Yes, the Astros would likely benefit from eliminating the shift in attack—the Mariners, Rangers and Angels all rank in the top half of the MLB in the number of turns taken—but they’ll give up more hits, like we would.

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