These days, with a new rule in place, batters have to take their cuts more quickly. The so-called “pace of play” initiative instituted by MLB this season limits a hitter to no more than 12 seconds between pitches while at the plate. That figure dropped from 20 seconds last season and 30 before that. So far, it seems batters are adjusting well – but some questions remain about its ultimate impact on baseball games.
“But the thing about it is, when a hitter gets in the box, he has 20 seconds to get set and ready for the pitch. So what that means is all of those little rituals that you see from certain hitters — some of them more elaborate than others — are now going to be happening at a much quicker pace. We’re already seeing it play out on TV.”
The league also implemented rules this season that require batters to keep one foot in the batter’s box throughout their at-bats and not step back out after they take a swing or check their swing. This change follows years of players using these extended moments away from the plate as an opportunity to reset mentally or take another look at any signs being given by coaches.
These changes may seem small but could have big implications during crucial moments like extra innings games or playoff matchups where every second counts. The clock won’t just be ticking on pitchers trying to speed up their delivery; it will soon become part of every MLB game with consequences for both pitchers and hitters alike.
As the season progressed, it became clear that batters were being rushed to the plate more than ever before. Without the time they had been used to between pitches and at-bats, hitters found themselves having less time to think and less flexibility in their approach. This put a greater emphasis on having a plan of attack before each pitch was thrown.
At the same time, pitchers were also feeling the effects of this change as well. With fewer breaks throughout each game, many pitchers were having trouble finding their rhythm or maintaining it for an entire game. As teams adjusted by changing up their pitching strategies and tactics, it seemed like every inning brought something new from both sides of the field.
Hitting has been a challenge for some players as the shortened season has forced them to adjust their approach. “The hitters are having to think a little bit faster and make quicker decisions,” said ESPN analyst Jessica Mendoza. “They don’t have that extra pitch or two sometimes in an at-bat where they can really try and get set up for what they want to do with a certain pitcher.”
This struggle is being seen from amateur leagues all the way up through Major League Baseball, where teams are trying to find ways to give batters more time in the box without compromising pace of play. Strategies like limiting mound visits by coaches and managers are being implemented, but it remains unclear if those rules changes will be enough for hitters who may still be feeling rushed despite such measures.