Friday, June 12, 2015

Are Pace Of Play Rules Hurting Papi's Numbers?

(Getty Images)
Rob Arthur of has a fascinating article today questioning whether David Ortiz (and other older hitters) are disproportionately hurt by the MLB's new 'Pace Of Play' rules. The theory is that older players compensate for their reduced physical skills by relying more on the guile that comes with experience. That "guile factor" can be seriously compromised when the time between pitches is reduced. Basically, Ortiz and others have less time to gauge what the next pitch might be. In fact, according to FanGraphs, Big Papi has decreased his time between pitches by almost two full seconds between this year and last. That doesn't sound like a lot—but it really is in the grand scheme of things. He can't step out and do the "hand slap" thing that used to be his signature move—time that he took to figure out how to attack the next pitch. Of course, Papi's 2015 performance is way down. Could it be that the new rules are to blame—or is it just the inevitable decline of an older player? Maybe a little of both.