Today, the Cubs DNA team weighs in on the new rule 3 batter minimum. The rule will go into place for the 2020 season. It will require any pitcher to face 3 batters or end the half-inning, effectively limiting or eliminating a one batter specialist relief pitcher. The thinking is that it will reduce the overall number of pitching changes and improve the pace of play.
Brooke: Fangraphs doesn't track the number of batters a relief pitcher faces (yet?!), but in 2019 only Chatwood, Wick, Montgomery, Norwood, Mills, and Caratini (does he count lol) were able to complete more innings than the number of games they appeared in relief. This is definitely going to change the bullpen roulette dynamic of the game! If you take away the long relievers and Caratini that really only leaves you with Wick (31 appearances) and Norwood (9 appearances). Stock up on the Tums now!
Matt: I'm not sure that I could hate a rule more. It limits the strategery (misspelled on porpoise (again)) of the manager and I think it's going to have the complete opposite effect. Games will be longer because ineffective pitchers will be forced to keep pitching. That'll mean more runs, more batters, longer games. Manfred is a complete dolt. I'd rather have Pronk as the MLB Commissioner and he likes microwaveable sushi!
Pronk: Hate it with a passion. Upon looking into it, there are far fewer 1 batter appearances for RPs than one would expect. So perhaps it's not going to change the game that much. Some LOOGYs will lose their job, all for the sake of pacing. But the real problems begin when you start thinking of individual scenarios.
-Watching a Carl Edwards Jr coming in with no concept of throwing strikes is going to get old fast. If an RP comes in and throws 8 balls in a row, are we really going to want to see him have to face yet another batter?
-Any RP that comes in will have to be capable of getting 3 outs. They "should" be able to begin with, but any pitcher having an off day could actually extend the inning by artificially being forced to face an extra batter or two.
-This would make me nervous bringing in a new RP with bases loaded. He'd have to face 3 batters, and that's the ballgame right there.
I think that the complaints start early in April. A few teams will blow winnable games because who they brought in just didn't have it. Then down the stretch it'll happen to a couple big market playoff contenders in critical spots. It will be overturned 2021
Staci: I hate this rule. HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE it. It will actively lose games for teams when even their best relief pitcher doesn't have it on a particular day but has to stay in a game because he can't come out before he faces the minimum 3 batters. It will be brutal. There will be gnashing of teeth. You will all hate it as much as I do by the All-Star Break. Trust.
Steven: I'm actually in favor of this rule but it does need a little work. I think a pitcher should be good enough to get multiple guys out. The one problem I have with this rule is that the offensive manager has a chance to change the lineup with a pinch-hitter but the pitching manager is forced to stay with his pitcher. I think the pitching manager should be allowed to change pitchers if a pinch-hitter is called upon. I think MLB will tweak the rule after the first season and it will speed the pace up. No more will a LOOGY be brought in just to walk the batter he was supposed to get out and be removed.
Tina: If a RP can't get his guys out, then what does that do to pace of play? Pass.