Hitters and pitchers are getting increasingly familiar with the pitch clock, but the learning curve still figures to be a weeks-, if not months-long process.
The pitch clock has been around in the minors, so players just now breaking into the big leagues are familiar with it. However, players who have been at the MLB level longer are having to revamp some of their tendencies during an at-bat.
That includes Brandon Nimmo, the Mets center fielder and leadoff man.
"It’s fast. Where I actually lose track of the clock the most is the start of an AB when there is a runner on base,” Nimmo said Monday, as heard on Audacy’s Baseball Isn’t Boring podcast. “Your natural rhythm of the game says you have more time, but that clock man, the 00s to start the at-bat, that’s where I feel like I struggle most with the clock.”
Pitchers have 15 seconds to deliver a pitch with no one on base and 20 seconds when runners are on. Hitters are responsible for being in the box and looking at the pitcher by the eight-second mark.
While it didn’t involve Nimmo directly, the Mets were part of one of the weirder pitch clock violations already this season. On Opening Day, Pete Alonso was given a strike because of a violation, which was because Jeff McNeil took too long to return to first base after a pitch.
MLB later said that was the wrong call and apologized the Mets, but such hiccups are bound to happen with such a big change. Clearly, few are immune to the added challenges the pitch clock brings.