Major League Baseball is overhauling the look and pace of how the game is played with the new rules implemented at the big league level during Spring Training. Each team is adjusting differently, and the Los Angeles Angels are among the teams working PitchCom into their adjustments to the pitch timer.
PitchCom technology has sped up baseball and allowed teams to focus on the next pitch and not the sign-stealing element. The 12+ button keypad equips both the pitcher and catcher to communicate without the threat of flashing decodable hand signals.
Some pitching staffs didn’t make the transition to calling games via the keypad and tiny speaker in the cap combination that’s revolutionized a part of MLB, but it may be something more teams move to.
Now with the pitch timer hanging over the head of every pitcher, some teams are testing the process of having their pitchers call the game via PitchCom, rather than the catchers, via Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register:
Another adjustment to the quicker pace this season will be more pitchers using the PitchCom to call pitches themselves, rather than waiting to receive a sign from the catcher.
The Angels pitching staff dealt with their own warts from a performance perspective, but perhaps some of the errors can be fixed with quick communication between pitcher and catcher.
For how much pushback some changes to MLB are getting, PitchCom has received resounding positives from players and its usage is growing with the Angels roster:
Manager Phil Nevin said some Angels pitchers, including Shohei Ohtani, “are experimenting” with the system in bullpen sessions.
“At the end of the day, the pitcher is calling the game,” Nevin said. “I think it could benefit a lot of us.”
Ohtani is away from the team as he prepares for the 2023 World Baseball Classic that is set to begin, but the rest of the Angels’ arms will be having a trial by fire and hammering out all of the subtle benefits of how PitchCom can improve their play.
Angels starter Tyler Anderson adjusting to pitch clock
On Friday Tyler Anderson pitched two shutout innings while giving up no hits, but he did walk two batters. But this early in Spring Training, there’s not much more you can ask for from a result standpoint.
For the veteran left-hander, it was also his first time pitching with the pitch timer, which is what he was focused on most in the start to figure out how he would need to adjust to it before the regular season begins.
“For me, it was really just a chance to go out and pitch on the clock,” Anderson said. “Obviously, you want to go out and compete and get guys out. But I really wanted to see how I felt with this clock and if I felt like I was rushed, or out of breath, or had to hurry up, and if it changes game management type stuff. So for me, that’s kind of what the goal was.”
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