With the new pitch clock rules in effect for 2023, the Pittsburgh Pirates will have a few arms affected by the new implementation next year.
Major League Baseball will implement a pitch clock in 2023. When the bases are empty, pitchers have 15 seconds once the ball is ready for play, and they start their motion. If there are runners on base, they are given 20 seconds to get set. It’s a rule change that I personally am not opposed to. After watching many minor league games this year on MILB TV, it’s a rule that you will notice only if you specifically look for it. Regardless of fan opinion, the Pittsburgh Pirates have a few pitchers who will be affected by this change.
The biggest offender when the bases were empty was Robert Stephenson. Stephenson was a waiver claim by the Bucs in late August and looked quite good for the team down the season’s home stretch. When the bases were empty, Stephenson took about 15.4 seconds. However, he was well within the time limit when there were runners on base. With men on, Stephenson only took 16.7 seconds, giving him more than enough time. Stephenson will need to shave down his time when no men are on base but should be fine otherwise. Even then, he only needs to cut a half-second off his average time to be below the limit.
Only Manny Banuelos has an average 20+ second time when there are men on base. Banuelos was purchased from the New York Yankees this past season. He was an effective left-hander in the second half of the season and looks to continue his 2022 performance next season. Banuelos took 20.1 seconds when there were men on base, meaning he only needs to cut off about 0.2 seconds off his average to reach below the time limit next season. When the bases were empty, he took just 14 seconds to get ready.
The Pirates do have a handful of guys who work fast. Roansy Contreras, Mitch Keller, Luis Ortiz, and JT Brubaker all took less than ten seconds when the bases were empty. Ortiz was extremely fast, taking just 8.7 seconds to start his motion when there were no men on base. Chase De Jong, Colin Holderman, Yerry De Los Santos, Miguel Yajure, Bryse Wilson, Max Kranick, as well as Keller, Ortiz, and Contreras each took less than 18 seconds to get ready when men occupied a base. The fastest was JT Brubaker, who took just 14.2 seconds, which is even below the time limit for when there are no men on base.
A few other arms come in just under the time limit and might want to consider speeding things up, so they aren’t rushing to get their motion ready. David Bednar took 14.7 seconds when the bases were empty and 18.7 seconds when there were men on base. Luis Oviedo also took just over 18 seconds to get his motion started at 18.3 seconds. Zach Thompson also makes it close at 18.2 seconds with men on. While this trio of players are within the set limit, they are cutting it quite close.
Overall, not many of the Pittsburgh Pirates will be affected by this. Only Stephenson and Banuelos will need to speed things up, and only by a small amount. While a few others might want to speed things up a little, just so they have some breathing room with the pitch clock, no Pirate pitcher should be overly worried about the new pitch clock rules.