Earlier this week, the LA Angels and the rest of the MLB were made aware of proposed rule changes by the MLB and Players’ Association.
How would this proposed changes effect the LA Angels? Well, the biggest proposed rule change doesn’t actually change anything drastic for the Angels. Apart of the proposition was the use of a universal designated hitter. The Halos, of course, already use this as apart of the American League. The only way this changes things for the Angels is during interleague play, or if they were to make a World Series.
The second possible change actually works in favor of the Halos. The rule would be for pitchers to have to face a minimum of three batters in hopes of speeding up baseball games. This rule hurts teams with relief pitchers who are used in extremely short stints, specifically lefties who go in to just strike out one batter.
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The Angels, for better or for worse, do not have one of those types. Their only lefty-specialist, Jose Alvarez, was traded for Luis Garcia halfway through the offseason. With their bullpen full of right-handed pitchers who do not specialize in attacking who type of hitter, the Angels have a slim advantage should this rule go into action.
However, the Angels also have a few relievers (Cam Bedrosian, Cody Allen) who can truly implode any given night. With the new rule, if Bedrosian comes in with two runners on, gives up a double to the first batter and then a home run to the second, he must stay on and face whoever the third batter is. That, my friends, is a very scary thought indeed.
There are also a few rules that do not help or hurt the Angels. The proposal of a single trade deadline obviously makes every team decide their contention or tanking earlier, something the Angels may be faced with this year.
There’s also the possibility of the current pitch clock being shortened to 20 seconds. This would be an adjustment for all players, batters and pitchers alike, but overall shows no positive or negative effect to the Angels’ staff.
A proposition to study the differences a lowered pitching mound would bring to the MLB has also been proposed. This would likely take a year, if not more, for the study to be done, and then for the league to decide on a ruling. The hope is that a slightly lowered mound would reduce the league-wide strikeout rate and put more balls in play, which leads to more excitement for the fan base. This one could actually benefit the current Angels if it could be used in 2019, as they don’t possess a strikeout master but do have one of the league’s best defenses.
One interesting rule is the push for two-way amateur athletes to be eligible for major league contracts (which means more money for the player). This is almost directly caused by the Kyler Murray situation, as baseball could lose a potential star player to the NFL. If this rule passes and Murray decides on baseball, the Angels will be facing him frequently, as the Athletics selected him fifth overall in 2018.
The last two rules are generally very interesting for the Angels. There is a proposition to reward teams who compete but fall short of the postseason, awarding them higher picks than teams who are tanking. This is a far-fetched idea, but with the Angels’ consistently falling short of the playoffs, this theory would help their draft capital in a big way.
Lastly, there is a proposition to extend active rosters from 25 to 26, with a maximum of 12 pitchers on the roster. With the Angels having three players (Pujols, Ohtani, Bour) strictly for first base and designated hitter, they could use another spot for a utility player. One interesting note is how the league would handle two-way players like Shohei Ohtani if this rule were to pass.
While these rules would have to be welcomed league-wide, there is no doubt the majority of them would help the Angels. And while there are reports these rules won’t be in affect anytime soon, it is encouraging to see the league making changes for the better, and these rules could join that list in the future.