The MLB rule changes for next season have been a hot topic since they were announced a few weeks ago. A pitch clock, limits on defensive shifts, and bigger bases are among the major changes coming in 2023.
A few players have made their thoughts known on the issue, including some that experienced similar rules in the minor leagues.
While Matt Strahm and Zack Kelly have offered a pitcher's perspective on the rules, Red Sox prospect Alex Binelas brings it from the other side of the plate. The third baseman hit .206 with Double-A Portland this season.
Binelas joined the Audacy Original Podcast “The Bradfo Show” and shared some of his firsthand experiences with the pitch clock.
“Everyone’s talking about pitch clock, pitchers, but hitters it’s the same way,” Binelas said (23:28 in player above). “For me, I liked it this year. The games went pretty quick. I didn’t like it in the beginning. I wasn’t a fan of it. It was a lot of rushing.”
Binelas shared something rather interesting about how umpires managed the pitch clock and batter’s box in the minors.
“Once I step out of the box, the umpire’s counting down, ‘Binelas, you got 10, 9, look up, look up.’ … If it starts coming down to it, the umpire will be like ‘You got one second, look up,’ because you got to be looking up by nine seconds,” he said. “Some umpires will say that. Once he says that and you’re looking up, you’re all rushed and haven’t gone through your routine – baseball guys are huge with their routine –, you’re in your head and it’s not good. There’s got to be a way where some guys can sit down with whoever’s implementing these rules and just talk about pros, cons, what the players like, what the players didn’t like.”
The lack of communication in making the new rules is something that Strahm was rather pointed about. It only makes sense that the rulemakers would get the players’ input on things.
But overall, the pitch clock did what it was intended to do in the minors.
“For me, the pitch clock, it worked. The games went by really quick. There wasn’t really much stepping off the mound, rubbing up the ball, looking around, all that stuff,” Binelas said. “You get the ball, take a breath, and go.”
However, Binelas noted that “it’s going to make a lot of guys frustrated.” MLB has instituted new rules in the past that they’ve loosened on, and the pitch clock could be another one of those instances.
“It comes down to the point where what umpires are really going to enforce it? There are sometimes where as soon as that nine hits and you’re not looking, strike. But then there’s sometimes they’ll let it get to eight, and they’ll be like looking around, and it’s like come on,” Binelas said. “I’ve seen a guy get a strike called and it’s not fair… It’s got to be the same.”