“The starting pitcher’s star quality has declined… It can’t continue like this” ML is considering another drastic change, will it limit the number of pitchers to 12?

This year, the Major League began making major changes to regulations, such as the pitch clock, which refers to the time limit for pitching, expanding the base size, and limiting defensive shifts. The average game time was shortened by 24 minutes compared to the previous year, and the number of in-plays such as batting average, runs scored, and stolen bases increased, resulting in a more exciting baseball game. It was a box office success with a 9.5% increase in audience compared to the previous year. 스포츠토토

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, who brought about this change, is considering another drastic rule change. In the current 26-man roster, a maximum of 13 pitchers can be registered, but a plan has been proposed to reduce the pitcher by one more and limit it to 12. It has not been confirmed yet, but if Commissioner Manfred is the driving force, it could be implemented soon. 

‘The Athletic’ reported on the 28th (Korean time) that ‘Commissioner Manfred is open to reducing the number of pitchers to a maximum of 12,’ and ‘In the past, the starting pitcher’s price was high. However, velocity dominates baseball, and as starters use more power, the number of innings pitched is decreasing. “The fun of watching the starting pitcher every night is disappearing,” he said. 

Commissioner Manfred, who met with reporters at Globe Life Field in Texas, where Game 1 of the World Series was held that day, said, “The star quality of some starting pitchers has declined due to the current pitching method. I think this is an issue we need to talk about. “There are many fans who feel that the change from ‘What is the pitcher matchup today?’ to ‘Who is the starter today?’ is not positive,” he said. 

Commissioner Manfred continued, “The limit of 13 pitchers alone is not enough to bring out much from the starting pitchers. We didn’t get the effect we wanted. “I’m thinking of 12 people or even less,” he said. 

The Athletic, which saw the possibility of implementation as early as 2025, said, ‘If there are fewer pitchers, theoretically both the team and the pitcher should be more careful every time they throw the ball. “Each player needs to pitch more innings,” he said, predicting that roster moves and new pitcher recruitment will become more active than now. 

In the major leagues, the influence of starting pitchers is not what it used to be. As the division of labor for pitchers became more and more detailed, and various strategies that broke common sense emerged due to the development of sabermetrics, the proportion of the bullpen increased. Starting in the late 2010s, a tandem strategy emerged in small market teams where a relief pitcher pitches 1 to 2 short innings as an opener and two 4th to 5th starting pitchers are used as ‘1+1’. We live in an age where bullpen days are common for teams without a pitcher. 

As the importance of pitcher protection and management is highlighted, the number of starting pitchers throwing long innings is decreasing. There were 36 pitchers who pitched more than 200 innings in 2013, 10 years ago, but there are only 5 this year. As the influence of starting pitchers has decreased, attention has fallen, and new national baseball stars are rarely being born on the pitching side. Considering the success of the league, there should be more young, star-filled starting aces. In addition, the side effect of shorter game time is expected as the number of pitcher replacements is reduced. 

Although the direction for nurturing star pitchers is understandable, there are realistic difficulties. The risk of injury to pitchers has already increased due to the velocity revolution, and in an era where innings digestibility is low, overload is inevitable if the pitcher roster is reduced to 12 players. More pitchers than now are exposed to the risk of injury, and the overall pitching depth is weakened, so there is a high possibility that there will be a severe loss of pitching. Some say that careful discussion is needed because it could reduce the quality of baseball and harm diversity.

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