Buck Showalter is expecting to see quite an increase in stolen bases around the league this season. So much so that his ball club may be looking to take advantage.
This offseason Major League Baseball issued a rule change for right handed pitchers faking a pickoff throw to third base, then spinning to throw to first. It’s one of those annoying moves that seems to eat up 4.5 seconds of a game and never works. Now, it’s a balk.
Showalter talked with Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com about how this this tiny tweak to baseball’s rules will change to course of the 2013 season.
“Relief pitchers are really squawking about it,” Showalter said. “I chuckle when these announcers always say, ‘Oh, that never catches anybody. Why do they ever do it?’ The things that keeps from happening were huge. These guys sit up there and say, ‘Why are they doing that?’ It shuts down the first and third. A right-handed pitcher had to have that move. Otherwise, you’re giving up 90 feet all the time.”
Orioles catcher Matt Wieters threw out 38 percent of the runners attempting to steal on him last season, the best percentage in the American League. 83 runners ran on Wieters in 2012. While more will likely try to do so with the rule change, this may be an advantage for the O’s as they have one of the best defensive catchers in the league.
As a team, the Orioles stole only 58 bases last season, the fewest in all of baseball. With the rule change, the addition of Alexi Casilla and Nate McLouth on the roster for the entire season, I expect the Orioles to be much more aggressive on the bases in 2013.