Tag Archives: Baseball

How the MLB’s revisions improve the game

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At the beginning of September, Major League Baseball announced three new changes that will alter how the game is played. Starting next year, the MLB will implement a pitch clock, increase the size of the bases, and enforce limits on the shift.

The new pitch clock will make it so that pitchers must begin their motion within 30 seconds between batters, 15 seconds for batters with no runners on base, and 20 seconds for batters when there are runners on base.

Pitchers will have two disengagements (pickoffs and step-offs) per batter, and if a third pickoff is unsuccessfully attempted, the runners will advance a base. However, if runners advance, the pitcher will get 2 more “disengagements.”

With a similar pitch clock in Triple-A ball this year, the average play time decreased by about 21 minutes.

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The MLB has been trying to make the game shorter for years and, in trying to do so, has made the game worse with the implementation of runners starting on second base in extra innings.

However, they have finally figured it out with the new changes. The new pitch clock will only increase the pace of play while keeping traditional aspects of the game, and this simple revision will make the games quicker and more exciting.

The MLB will also increase the size of the bases from 15 square inches to 18 square inches. This adjustment should lead to fewer injuries and more stolen bases.

With bigger bases, the injuries to players as they run to 1st base or slide into 2nd or 3rd base should be less frequent. Bigger bases also mean that the distance between bases is less, so there should be more attempted and successful stolen base attempts.

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This adjustment can only be beneficial to the players and fans of baseball and is another great change made by the league.

The final modification made is the new limits enforced on the shift. Teams will now need four infielders, with two on each side of 2nd base. Teams can add additional infielders by moving outfielders to the infield, but they must have four players within the outer boundary of the infield and two on each side of 2nd base.

Whether or not the league should enforce limits on the shift or not has been one of the most polarizing debates in recent years. However, implementing a limit on the shift allows for pull hitters to be better.

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Being able to hit everywhere on the field is a special skill that makes some hitters special. This change is bad for the league as it encourages players to not work on the craft of hitting everywhere on the field and lowers the skill level of the league.

However, implementing these restrictions on the shift should lead to more hits, making the game even more exciting.

The three revisions by the MLB will make the league more exciting and safer and generally good for the league. While implementing restrictions to the shift will reduce the consequences of being a pull hitter and lowers the skill level of the league, the other changes are significant for the league as they make the games shorter, safer, and more exciting.

Jimmy Thomas is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

As the Fall Classic begins, which team has the upper hand?

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The World Series is set, featuring the Phillies from the National League and the Astros from the American League. Both teams handled their opponents with ease. The Astros pitching dominated the Yankees, who hit the most home runs this year. The bullpen has posted a 0.82 ERA in the postseason, an astonishing number. This Astros team has been one of the best in postseason history and seems unstoppable. However, the Phillies will be a challenge for them.

The Fightin’ Phils nearly missed out on the playoffs with a poor finish to the regular season. The team right behind them, the Brewers, somehow played worse. They miraculously beat the Cardinals in Game 1 of the Wildcard from an unusual collapse by closer Ryan Helsley. This is all they needed to spark their momentum. They swept the Cardinals and won a gritty series against the defending champions. In the NLCS, they were challenged by the Padres, who were also hot. The Padres bats were hot, but 1B Rhys Hoskins and RF Bryce Harper showed up, combining for 6 homers.

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Game 1 Prediction

The Astros are currently favored, but that doesn’t mean that the Phillies can’t make noise. Game 1 will take place on Friday at Minute Maid Park, home of the Astros. On the mound for the Astros is AL Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander. At 38, Verlander has had a record season, putting up a 1.75 ERA and 185 strikeouts. He had a rough outing against the Mariners but is expected to bounce back. The Phillies starter Zach Wheeler has also had a solid season. Wheeler has established himself as the Phillies ace, posting a 2.82 ERA and 163 strikeouts.

While the Astros have the better starting pitching, the Phillies bullpen edges the Astros bullpen. Relievers Seranthony Domínguez and José Alvarado broke out this year and have continued their success recently. Overall, the pitching is pretty even. It comes down to how the bats perform. While the Astros bats were better in the regular season, the Phillies bats have dominated the postseason. I expect multiple bombs this game considering we have two of the best home run-hitting teams in the league.

Game 1 will be close, but I think the Phillies will continue their hitting success against Verlander and win, 6-4 Phillies, with the player of the game being Bryce Harper.

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Impact player of the Series: Rhys Hoskins

Rhys Hoskins has had elite power in the postseason, cranking 5 homers and 11 RBI, but he is also hitting .182. When Hoskins is hot, he’s one of the best hitters in the league, but when he’s cold, he looks lost. Rhys will need better plate discipline, as well as timing his swing right. If he does those two, then we’re looking at Albert Pujols. If he doesn’t, we’re looking at a slumping Chris Davis. Rhys’ performance will significantly influence this series, making him the top-impact player for the Phillies.

Daniel Hurson is a freshman contributor to The Quill.

What’s in store for the Orioles this offseason?

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The MLB Playoffs are in full effect, but the Orioles are not involved. The Orioles surprised many this year, going from an abysmal 52-110 record in 2021, to 83-79 in 2022. General Manager Mike Elias has the team going down the rebuilding route, but they seem ahead of schedule. Many top prospects have been called up, such as SS Gunnar Henderson and C Adley Rutschman. The rookies have become an essential part of the lineup, and a huge reason why the O’s have had recent success. The front office made some sneaky good pickups last offseason, like SS Jorge Mateo and SP Jordan Lyles. Both players were snagged on cheap deals and have been very productive down the stretch.

The O’s came alive during a 10-game winning streak in July, and have been consistently winning since. Unfortunately, the Mariners, Blue Jays, and Rays also kept winning, which made the playoff race challenging. Making the playoffs would have been nice, but finishing with a winning record is a huge success. Elias has said he wants to spend in the offseason, but who could he pick up? There are some big names on the market, like Dodgers speedster Trea Turner and Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, but they will likely head elsewhere. The O’s have never been a big spending team, but I expect them to make small additions to improve the team.

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The main focus should be a backup catcher. Starter Adley Rutschman can’t catch every day, and his backup Robinson Chirinos is 38 and on the verge of retirement. Current Rangers catcher Kevin Plawecki would be great for the role. Plawecki provides solid defense, as well as an average bat. The O’s have not had a serviceable backup catcher since Caleb Joseph, who left the team in 2018. Having a backup catcher would be crucial to winning games when Adley needs rest.

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The next concern has to be pitching. Top prospect Grayson Rodriguez is expected to be added to a rotation that overachieved this season. Rodriguez seems to be the long-term ace, but they need an ace now. Dean Kremer and Tyler Wells had solid seasons, but they weren’t consistent. 2022 ace Jordan Lyles will enter free agency and is not expected to return to the team. The pitcher market features some big names, like 3x Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom, and Giants All-Star Carlos Rodón. Those two aren’t impossible to acquire, but it will be tough. My choice among the many solid pitchers in free agency would be Michael Wacha of the Red Sox. Wacha has a decent ERA at 3.06, and has been reliable this year, pitching 123.1 innings. Sure, it’s not a flashy signing, but it will get the job done.

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It all depends on what Elias wants to do. He could spend big, or stay conservative. Prospects are what this organization is centered around, not free agents or veterans. The O’s are infamous for trading away big players for prospects yearly. These risky trades often don’t work out, but they have before. So let’s say the Orioles have one of these in the offseason. Who gets traded? The answer should be Austin Hays. While Hays is a great fielder and hitter, the O’s outfield is overloaded, and Hays has been slumping. A new change of scenery would be great for his career. OF Colton Cowser will likely take his spot anyway. It just doesn’t make sense to have a player like Hays on the bench. Hopefully, the front office makes decent decisions that can improve the team, and not hurt it like in past years.

Daniel Hurson is a freshman contributor for The Quill. This is his first published piece.

How are the Orioles’ prospects handling the pressure of a pennant race?

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Orioles top prospects Gunnar Henderson, DL Hall, and Adley Rutschman have definitely proven their worth in the minors, but some are struggling with the transfer to the big leagues. As many know, the Orioles are in a tight playoff race for the AL wildcard spot. With this being said, they need their young guys to step up. So, is the Orioles’ extent of young talent enough to keep them in the playoff race?

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Shortstop Gunnar Henderson is seeing the ball well at the plate, but is struggling with the fielding transition. His primary position is shortstop; however, to fit in the lineup, he has to adapt to other infield positions. Recently he has been playing second due to other SS Jorge Mateo having an insane fielding year. On Monday, Sep 5, 2022, The Orioles faced a doubleheader against the Blue Jays. This was a huge series for the Orioles which means every play counts. For the youngest player in the MLB, this amount of pressure can get to your head. He started the game at second and cost us a couple of runs. The Orioles had two first and third situations and got perfect double play balls to get out of it without giving up any runs. Gunnar was in his own head and bobbled the ball on both plays.

Original starting pitcher DL Hall, one of our top pitching prospects, played well in the minors with an ERA never exceeding 4. However, in the big leagues, he has an ERA of 8.68 in his MLB career. Hall is definitely struggling in the transition and is having trouble with locating his pitches. With the playoffs coming up and the Orioles needing pitching, DL Hall needs to be better, or he won’t start.

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On the other hand, Adley Rutchsman already looks like a veteran. Adley is batting .257 with 10 home runs in only 89 games. Most of his stats have come from his left side, batting .285 vs. Right handed pitching. However, Adley has been struggling from the right side batting .167. All of his home runs have been from the left side. On the other side of the ball, he looks like a veteran catcher. Very few errors and has been a brick wall behind the plate.

Tyler Martin is a junior member of the Multimedia Journalism class

With just a few weeks left in the season, the O’s control their destiny

Can the Baltimore Orioles pull off one of the greatest team turnarounds in Major League Baseball? After a poor start, as usually expected by the franchise in past years, a smooth winning streak hit the Birds pushing them to a possible Wild Card spot. Before the midway point of May, the Orioles were up to another season of what has been seen as normal for the club in recent years. The Orioles started their season with losing streaks and dropped multi-game series throughout the first month of the season. Baltimore fans expected another losing season for the Birds. Now the O’s are climbing their way up amongst the challenging American League East.

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The AL East is often seen as one of the toughest divisions in Major League Baseball as it holds powerhouse clubs such as the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Tampa Bay Rays. Within this division, the Orioles have been seen as lower caliber. In the previous years games against the Yankees and Red Sox were almost a definite loss, but in the 2022 season, the birds have turned it around. Since May 18, the Orioles have been on a tear with a record over .500. Every game has been a sight to see as the Birds fight their way to the top of the division. Many wonder how this incredible streak started for the Orioles that turned a team that was out of contention into a possible Wild Card. 

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This shift can primarily be credited to the payoff of a very long rebuild by the Orioles since the times of the previous manager Buck Showalter. One of these great payoffs being the extremely talented prospect Adley Rutschman that burst onto the scene in the early parts of the season and quickly became the best catcher in baseball. On May 21, 2022, Adley was called up to the Major Leagues to be the O’s starting catcher. The switch-hitting bat and gifted defensive presence created a young powerhouse in Adley. The Orioles also remade their bullpen, shifting right-handed pitcher Felix Bautista into the closer spot. Bautista has been lights out for the Birds and is seen as one of the best in the league. Finally, the Orioles called up their top infield prospect Gunnar Henderson in August. Henderson started his big league career off strong showing that he’s a stud amongst the top in baseball. His glovework and bat are big pieces of the O’s lineup that are leading them to more and more success.

The talent showcased by the Orioles is unprecedented. This puts the O’s in great contention for a Wild Card spot and possibly an October appearance after many years of missing the playoff. This could bring the big stage to Baltimore and many more cheers to Camden Yards. These are the hopes of any fan of the O’s! All we can ask now is, will the Orioles pull off this comeback? They have it all in front of them; now they just have to execute.

Braylon Sims is a Senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

The current state of the MLB during the lockout 

There hasn’t been a lot of news from the MLB and baseball recently. The reason for this is the MLB lockout. The lockout is a disagreement between the players and the MLB. A lockout in professional sports isn’t unheard of, but there is no actual date when their lockout will be over. The lockout occurred because the collective bargaining agreement, also known as the CBA, which governed the 2017 through 2021 seasons, has expired without a new CBA agreed upon. The MLB entered a lockout without a CBA agreement between the MLB and the players. On December 2nd, 2021, all transactions and communications between players and teams were stopped, which resulted in one of the most frantic MLB free agency periods.

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The lockout’s impact is more internal with baseball, as baseball has several issues, such as the entire sticky substance debate. Over the early months of the season, baseball was dominant for pitchers, as the MLB record for most no-hitters in a season was broken this year with nine. The sticky substance issue is where several pitchers used some substance, which helped improve their grip on the baseball. The MLB launched a crackdown on the sticky substance problems, as umpires checked players after pitching an inning. As the season progressed and the crackdown began, pitchers’ numbers began to rise and worsen over the season, but it might not have totally been because of sticky substances. It was revealed later that the MLB had been switching baseballs to a heavier ball which was more prone to home runs. So how did this impact free agency?

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Free agency begins five days after the conclusion of the World Series. Free agency started on November 7th, but the first move was made on November 16th. Teams had two to three weeks to sign players. Typically free agency is a three-four month period, but with the lockout making it where teams cannot have contact with any players. Max Scherzer signed the highest-paid contract in MLB history this offseason, earning $44 million a year. Should Max Scherzer be one of the highest-paid players in the MLB? Yes, but being paid $44 million a year at age 37 is something that has never been seen before. Contracts like that make it impossible for small market teams to afford elite players. The Texas Rangers are also a great example of how the lockout impacted free agency. In 48 hours, the Rangers committed more than a half-billion dollars to four free agents, shortstop Corey Seager, second baseman Marcus Semien, outfielder Kole Calhoun and right-hander Jon Gray.

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 Free agency in the MLB is different compared to other major sports leagues such as the NFL and the NBA because of the salary cap. In the MLB, the salary cap is non-existent, allowing teams to sign players if they can afford it. This is why big-market teams such as the Yankees, Dodgers, and Mets can afford big-ticket players, and smaller market teams such as the Orioles, Rays, and Athletics aren’t able to. To put this into perspective, the entire Orioles team salary is a total of $61 million. Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton combined are being paid $65 million a year, so two players on the Yankees are being paid more than everyone on the Orioles MLB roster. 

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The MLB lockout has impacted the MLB free agency as it rushed teams to sign players, but the lockout needed to happen. Hopefully, this lockout will fix some of the significant issues and controversies in baseball. Unfortunately, this lockout won’t really impact the salary cap but hopefully can resolve some of the other vital issues that have occurred through the MLB season.

Joshua Sheppard is a junior member of the Multimedia Journalism class