Dodgers Team News

MLB Rule Changes Give Baseball Exactly What it Hoped For; Faster Games, Slightly More Offense

We’ve now watched the first two full weeks of the pitch clock era in MLB and the results are pretty shocking. The pitch clock was part of a series of new rules implemented in the offseason with the hope of making baseball more appealing to a wider audience. Faster games and more offense.

So far, actually so good for baseball as the league is getting exactly what it wanted.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan did the homework this week. On average, game times are 25 minutes quicker — which is huge for spring training baseball. And offense is up with more base hits, runs scored, and even more stolen bases.

The biggest number that jumps out is the BABIP stat. BABIP stands for batting average on balls in play. This change directly correlates to the restrictions on defensive shifts, another one of the changes to the rules this season. More baseballs are findings holes where there haven’t been holes in years. Left-handed batters are getting base hits on the ground to the right side of the infield. And more hits are sneaking through the middle of the diamond like the olden days.

Notably, these changes aren’t affecting the Dodgers too much on the offensive side of things just yet. So far this spring, LA has been slow to get things going, despite a winning record. Heading into play on Sunday, the club has a .242 team batting average, 26th best out of 30 teams. The team has stolen just 8 bases, third worst in baseball. And they’ve scored only 78 runs, tied for 16th most in baseball.

Surely the fact that the Dodgers have been missing Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Will Smith for the last week thanks to the World Baseball Classic doesn’t help. Plus Trayce Thompson and David Peralta are also away in the tournament.

These are all spring training numbers and spring training levels of importance right now. The true test of all the new rules and restrictions will take at least a month of regular season play. Wins and losses start to count in a few weeks and pressure situations late in games will have a lot more weight to them. Will games actually be lost on a pitch clock violation? Can baseball let that happen? Will players actually risk injury to steal bases more often?

The new rules have been a success so far, but the jury is still out.

Clint Pasillas

Clint Pasillas has been writing, blogging, and podcasting about the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2008. Under Clint's leadership as the Lead Editor, Dodgers Nation has grown into one of the most read baseball sites in the world with millions of unique visitors per month. Find him online on Twitter/X or his YouTube channel!

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