In case you have been living under a rock, you can appreciate (or maybe you don’t) that the Grand Old Game of Baseball is changing.
- Instant Replay has been implemented and will take an even more prominent role in the near future;
- You can’t kill the catcher or the guy at 2B anymore;
- Electronic Balls and Strikes are right around the corner;
- The Pitch Clock will speed up the pace of play;
- Visits to the mound by the staff or catcher will be limited;
- The DH is coming to the NL… sooner than later;
- Starting pitchers are a dying breed – teams are settling for 4 or 5 innings; and
- You are going to see more-and-more pitchers who can pitch multiple innings in relief.
Many old-timers don’t like it! You can always take up curling, I guess. Change is inevitable… well, unless you die, but that itself, is a change. I think the Dodgers will continue to be at the forefront of this change. Kenta Maeda is a classic case. He was a below-average starter, but in the pen he could pitch 1,2 or 3 innings and was lights out. What if you have 4 more guys like Maeda? Stewart is THAT guy. Walker Buehler might be that guy. Santana might be that guy. Cingrani could be THAT guy.
I think you are going to see more teams with an Ace like Clayton Kerhshaw, who can go 6, 7 or 8 innings and a stable of 3 to 5 more guys who can pitch multiple innings. The facts are clear: In the past 5 years, the Dodgers have had the best ERA in baseball for their starters, but three teams have had better ERA’s from their bullpens. However, during the past two years, the Dodgers have had better ERA’s from their pen. Change is in the air.
In September and October 2018, I could see Urias, Buehler, Stewart, Santana and Maeda in the pen – all capable pitching multiple innings. Change is in the air. Embrace it… or die!
- Joc Pederson is looking visibly different. I think the Dodgers have to keep him and see what he can do. Kids mature differently – maybe he’s just starting to realize how hard he has to work and how serious he has to take this. There is thunder in his bat, and if he is slimmer, stronger, faster and has more endurance, it just might play out very well.
- The Winter Meetings are over and the Dodgers didn’t blink. In Friedman’s first year he was called a fool for making all those trades. Now, he’s a fool for not making any. Some fans are calling for his head. How delusional can one get?
Baseball Photograph – Baseball Glove Evolution by David Bearden