🚨 ALERT COOKIE🚨 – March 14th

major deal – rule changes

A BIG DEVELOPMENT HAPPENED TOAY: Jeff Passan of ESPN announced several changes to the game we love. In a rare mid-CBA agreement, MLB and the Players Union came to the agreement that three majors things will happen: 3-batter minimum, single trade deadline, and changes to All-Star weekend including bonuses to the winner of the HR Derby.

Steve Adams from MLB Trade Rumors gave a great concise update to what is happening now, and in 2020:

Effective Immediately

  • There will be no trades after July 31. August trade waivers have been eliminated, though players can still be placed on and claimed from outright waivers, as they would throughout the rest of the year.
  • All-Star voting will still be conducted by fans online, but the top three players at each position, in each league, will now participate in an All-Star Election Day. The top three vote-getters at each position, in each league, (top six in the case of outfielders) will receive bonus payments.
  • The Home Run Derby will now come with $2.5MM of prize money, including a $1MM prize for the winner.
  • The maximum number of mound visits per game will be reduced from six to five.
  • Commercial breaks between innings are reduced to two minutes in length for all games.
  • The MLB and MLBPA will form a “Joint Committee” to discuss further issues and rule changes.

Effective Beginning in 2020

  • The standard roster size in regular season games and postseason games will increase from 25 to 26 players. Beginning on Sept. 1, roster size will expand further to a 28-player maximum (as opposed to the current 40). A maximum number of pitchers will be designated by the Joint Committee. (Passan reported that the league has proposed no more than half a team’s players can be pitchers.)
  • Position players are only eligible to pitch in extra innings or when a team is leading or trailing by seven or more runs. Certain position players may be designated as “two-way players,” but to be eligible, they’ll need to have accrued at least 20 innings pitched and started 20 games as a position player/designated hitter in the current season or the preceding season (including at least three trips to the plate in each of those lineup appearances).
  • A pitcher must face at least three batters per appearance unless he is removed due to injury or the half-inning in which he is pitching ends before three batters have come to the plate.
  • The minimum length of stay for pitchers who are optioned to the minors or placed on the injured list will increase from 10 days to 15 days. This change is still “subject to input” from the newly formed Joint Committee.

Michael Fulmer – Injury

After last fall’s surgery to repair his knee, today Manager Ron Gardenhire announced that they will be shutting Fulmer down to revamp his lower half mechanics. He had drastically lower velocity so far this spring, so it’s apparent that the Tigers see something different, or new in his mechanics which could be surgery aftermath, or that is just now exaggerated after his knee getting repaired.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – sent down

Today the Blue Jays officially sent down top prospect and phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to minor league camp. While it was expected that he would not begin the year in the majors, due to service time issues; because of his oblique injury, it is a bit sooner than anticipated.

Stat of the Day – Pop Time (POP)

On steal or pickoff attempts by a catcher, Pop Time represents the time elapsed from the moment the pitch hits the catcher’s mitt to the moment the intended fielder is projected to receive his throw at the center of the base.

When a throw’s flight path ends in front of or beyond the base’s midpoint, Statcast accounts for the thrown ball’s speed and projects how long the throw would have taken to reach the center of the intended base.

Pop Time is a combination of a catcher’s footwork (getting into throwing position), Exchange (glove to release), and Arm Strength (velocity of throw). Pop Time is a much better assessment of a catcher’s ability to throw out baserunners than the strength of his arm alone. A catcher with a great arm isn’t going to throw out many baserunners if it takes him a while to transfer the ball to his throwing hand and then release the throw.

A catcher with a good Pop Time doesn’t always throw out baserunners, however. A large part of his success is dependent upon the runner’s speed, the throw’s accuracy and the pitcher’s delivery length. But with a quick Pop Time and an accurate throw, a catcher is doing what he can to stop the opposing running game.

Below are the five best average pop times to second base on stolen-base attempts (min. 15 SB attempts at 2B) from the 2017 season. The MLB average in 2017 was 2.01 seconds.

TLDR: Pop time measures how fast the catcher received, and then got the ball to the intended receiver. Anything below 2 seconds is above average, and anything below 1.9 seconds is considered elite.

Stat of the Day Curtesy of MLB.com

Header Photo Curtesy of Cubs Insider

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