Fantasy Baseball

Biggest Changes To Baseball In 2018

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The Major League Baseball has been around for decades now, with a very long history in fantasy sports, and while fans are utterly devoted to the sport and baseball leagues, the MLB announced a few tweaks to the sport for 2018, leaving quite an uproar in their trail. The purpose of the changes commencing in 2018 are all about speeding up the sport, as it’s feared that currently, it’s too laborious. While the MLB has a sufficient fan following, a lot of these changes come down to the fact that they want others to become involved in the sport. Many officials feel as though these changes are extremely beneficial to the baseball league, however many fans are divided and utterly outraged at the decisions. Let’s take a closer look as to why.

Biggest Changes To Baseball

Pitch Clock Installation

One of the main elements that set the MLB apart from other major sports was the absence of a pitch clock, however, the MLB have announced that a pitch clock will likely be installed onto the baseball pitch for 2018. It’s been stated by Ken Rosenthal that, regardless of what the players say, a pitch clock will likely be incorporated in the new season.

The pitch clock will last for 20 seconds and will aim to prevent pitchers from dawdling in the match. Having been used in the minors for the previous 3 seasons, the pitch clock is expected to cut the MLB games down by approximately 2 minutes. Many pitchers have made their voices heard about this decision, voicing many objections. The collective bargaining agreement means that it will be implemented this year no matter what.

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While pitch clock penalties are set to be implemented this year, ball-strike penalties aren’t likely to be put into play until at least 2019. It was mentioned by the MLB that the implementation of both sets of penalties will not be immediate and there will be an introductory process.

Changes To The Mound Visit

Another controversial change that’s set to be made to the MLB is the limits to the pitcher’s mound for game. Until 2018, coaches, managers and other players alike were able to confer with their fellow pitcher to their heart’s content, however, new strict regulations will put an end to this in 2018. As of this year, they’ll be limited to a grand total of just 6 mound visits per nine-inning game, but it doesn’t end there. The teams will now be allotted an additional mound visit for each extra inning, which could have quite an impact on games in the new season.

Generally, there is quite a blurred line between what qualifies as a mound visit, but we have you covered! The MLB have recently released the new mound visit rules, outlining what does qualify as a mound visit, and equally what doesn’t. Here, we have the exceptions to the new mound rule, including:

  • Discussions between pitchers and other position player(s) that occur between batters in the normal course of play and do not require either the position players or the pitcher to relocate
  • Visits by position players to the mound to clean spikes in rainy conditions
  • Visits to the mound due to an injury or potential injury of the pitcher
  • Visits to the mound after the announcement of an offensive substitution

By limiting visits to the mound, it’s hoped by Manfred that the process of the baseball matches will be heavily improved and sped up. Currently, mound visits are renowned for slowing down the baseball actions during the most exciting moments, so this is hoped to make the game much more appealing to outsiders. Having said that, there are a few concerns about limiting the amount of mound visits in a game of baseball to just 6. Without mound visits, there could be an increasing issue of sign stealing throughout the matches, making it difficult for teams to decipher the signals being given to them by fellow players during the game. As a result, teams are going to have to change signals much more frequently to prevent any confusion from occurring throughout the match.

If the new mound rules aren’t followed, there will be penalties put in place in order to punish the disobedient team, and this could have an impact not only on the sport, but it could also have an effect on its fantasy baseball counter-part, disappointing fans in the process. For example, for any players who consistently or flagrantly violate the time limits that have been put in place for the mound visits, there will be a progressive discipline system put in place.

Shortening Extra-Inning Contests

In order to build on the new mound rules, it’s also been mentioned by the MLB that extra-inning contests will be shortened, which will be achieved by starting an inning with a runner already on second base, speeding up the process of the match even more. This is expected to be put in notion during spring training in 2018, as well as at the All-Star game. Both the Cactus and Grapefruit League games are going to have the runner at the second starting in the 10thinning, and continuously for all future innings in the match. Alternatively, the Mid-Summer Classic’s rule change would begin in the 11th inning and so on.

For exhibition games like the ones mentioned above, this doesn’t appear to be such a controversial idea, as the purpose of these events are to enjoy the talent that’s present in the baseball industry as opposed to simply winning a league. However, it is speculated that this could be used as a test in these extra-inning contests, and thus will be expanded at a later date to future MLB games that actually count.

The Controversy Of These Changes

As already mentioned, not everyone is overly pleased with these rule changes for baseball in 2018, including both fans and MLB players alike. Andrew Miller has vented his frustrations with the rule changes, stating that he’s “very against it”, and that he “wished he was [we were] listened to a little more sometimes”. Naturally, many people understand that these changes are set to be made with the sport’s best interests in mind, however, a lot of these changes will take away the originality of what makes baseball such a favored sport.

However, the MLB and supporters of the new movement have been able to defend themselves against the critique, stating that elongated downtime is the most problematic area for the sport, and needs to be addressed in order to improve the fluidity of each MLB match. As previously mentioned, the 20-pitch clock isn’t set to be implemented just yet and, should the other changes to MLB rules prove heavily successful at shortening the down times, it might never come in to play at all!

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Changes are expected to be made with any major sporting event, with both the Super Bowl and World Series all facing challenges that changes have managed to tackle. Only time will tell whether these new baseball rules will impact the MLB in a positive way.


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Check out the rest of our great Fantasy Baseball content as the 2018 season approaches.

About Joe Bond

Not just another "Average Joe" when it comes to Fantasy Sports, he is the fantasy brain trust behind the up-and-coming FantasySixPack.net website. He has been spreading his love and addiction of fantasy sports there and many other sites including SoCalledFantasyExperts.com, FantasyPros.com, and FanDuel.com. Joe has finished as the No. 5 Fantasy Football Draft Ranker on Fantasy Pros in 2014, while being the No. 1 QB ranker for in-season during 2016. He has also finished in the top-15 twice for Fantasy Baseball Draft Rankings. You can find him on Twitter, @F6P_Joe, where he is waiting by the keyboard for your question.

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