Friday, 9 September 2022

Pitch Clocks And Big Bases

As many readers will know, this season has been a strange one for MLB betting.

Clearly the universal adoption of the Designated Hitter rule was always likely to have an impact on Totals betting, but the Money Line and Run Line markets also appear to have been disrupted.

It's going to get worse. News out today reveals that the 2023 season will see 'sweeping changes' as MLB look to shorten games as well as increase 'offense'.

Since these changes have been trialled in minor leagues, it's not a huge surprise, but the impact on data will be significant.

MLB will be adopting a pitch clock (15/20 seconds depending on whether the bases are empty or not). As The Guardian reports, in minor league trials, a pitch clock...
"has helped reduce the average time of a nine-inning game from 3hr 4min in 2021 to 2hr 38min this season. The average time of a nine-inning game in the major leagues this year is 3hr 6min; it was 2hr 46min in 1989, according to the Elias Sports Bureau." 
Violations will be penalised by the calling of a ball or a strike, depending on the violator.

There will also be restrictions on how a team can line up on defensive shifts as well as larger bases, which should mean more stolen bases, and thus more runs, since they will effectively be closer together. 

Larger bases were the only proposed change supported by the players, who were in the minority on the 11 man competition committee. Four player, one umpire and six management representatives made up the panel so there could yet be some pushback from players. 

Interesting times are ahead, and as I have mentioned before, with rule changes comes opportunity.

Before my time (just) but the NBA introduced a shot clock in 1954 which completely changed the game, as did the later introduction (1979-80) of the three-point shot:
In the last pre-clock season (1953–54), teams averaged 79 points per game; in the first year with the clock (1954–55), the average was 93 points, which went up to 107 points by its fourth year in use (1957–58).  The advent of the shot clock (and the resulting increase in scoring) coincided with an increase in attendance, which increased 40% within a few years to an average of 4,800 per game.

In the first year of the three point field goal, there was an average of 0.8 scored per game from 2.8 attempts per team, with this increasing up to last season's 12.4 scored from 35.2 attempts. 

Teams adapt to rule changes and bettors need to also.   

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