FanPost

The Rule Changes and Finding Efficiencies


The rule changes don't necessarily produce greater opportunity for small market teams to compete. As this article in Sports Illustrated (https://www.si.com/mlb/2022/11/21/banning-infield-shifts-impact) points out, perhaps the biggest change in offense will be that left handed power hitters could gain, on average, about 10 points in batting average. Left handed power hitters tend to cost money and for the Brewers at least, there may have to be a focus on right handed bats this off season because of their woeful production against lefty pitchers.

So what is a small market team to do:

1. Focus on right side defensive range: If Wong regains form and/or Turang plays a lot of second base, this team could have very good range at second. The days of a third baseman's lack of range playing second well are probably over. Also, outfield, especially range in rightfield becomes a little more important, This could be part of why the Brewers were willing to let Renfroe go.

2. Base running: The Brewers will likely be a faster team in 2023. With the pitch clock, limit on opportunities for the pitcher to make pick off moves, and the larger bases coupled with more hits, there will be greater opportunity for stolen bases and taking the extra base. The Brewers look poised to focus more on stolen bases as part of the solution.

3. A greater focus on on base percentage: Although the banning of the shift may only account for directly one or two more hits in an average game based on exit speed analysis, it will also account for a pitcher throwing out of the stretch and first basemen more often holding the runner on base, which will in turn add to the number of hits. Runner on base creates a multiplier on the on base percentage. According to analysis of batted balls, may seem like there will be an 8 to 10 point rise in hard hit balls becoming hits, there may be an additional 10 to 12 points due to the multiplier affect.

4. Launch Angle Leveling: With more hits comes a greater likelihood that runs can be scored via other methods than the home run. Launch angle love may be fading away and replaced with a greater emphasis on hitting line drives. This could help a number of people on the team but may most greatly help Yelich and Tellez as left handed batters.

5. Relief pitcher rotations: More hits means more pitches thrown in an inning. This means starting pitchers may be coming out in an earlier inning than in 2022. One more hit per game, means 6 more pitches. And now those pitches are on a clock so three is no time to rest in between. Piggyback starters, middle relief pitcher and pitchers with options so fresh arms can be called up from the minors will be more important than ever. We see the Brewers stock piling arms with options for a good reason.