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Morning Mound Visit: sabermetrics news - 6/22/18

The way to actually fix pace of play (the strike zone); the speciation of players; the possible return of firemen

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Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

FanGraphs | Craig Edwards: You know what solve all the issues with strikeouts and pace of play? The strike zone! The zone has gotten significantly bigger since ten years ago, and in particular, the low strike keeps getting called more and more often. If it were shrunk to pre-2010 levels, it would force pitchers to throw closer to the heart of the zone, thus more contact, fewer strikeouts, and ultimately a faster pace.

Baseball Prospectus | Russell A. Carleton ($): Just like there is the process of speciation for animals as defined by Charles Darwin, there is also speciation for “roles” in baseball, from starter-to-reliever, and reliever-to-specialized-reliever; there comes a point where the two roles become distinct categories as they evolve. The same can also be said for pitchers-as-hitters, who started out as league-average hitters in the 19th century and are now about as talented as a person plucked off the street playing baseball would have been in the past.

The Athletic | Eno Sarris ($): Is the bullpen fireman coming back? It’s possible... but there are a lot of structural problems to deal with. Innings pitched per appearance seems to have increased from 1 lately, but you can’t imagine it going back to the days of the 70s and 80s as pitchers, now dependent on velocity, have voiced concerns over rest and the inability to go over 85 innings when coming out of relief.