May 18, 2016
Researchers Simulate Effects of Pitch Clock

In recent years, Major League Baseball has been faced with waning fans and lower TV ratings. In a related challenge, the MLB has grappled with game lengths stretching to an average of 3.13 hours in 2014, an increase from 2004’s average of 2.85 hours.

According to an article from Science Daily, introducing a pitch clock is one way the MLB has considered addressing game length. The concept is being tested in the minor leagues, but has drawn its share of controversy.

By allowing 20 seconds to throw—2.6 seconds less than the current average—some fear the pitch clock will give pitchers less recovery time between throws. To test the effect, researchers at McMaster University used a computer model to predict muscle fatigue.

Pitching performance was simulated for 72 American League starting pitchers from the 2014 season, using both the 20-second limit and the players’ typical rest time between pitchers. The simulation’s results showed a seven percent increase in arm fatigue with the pitch clock.

“In a league where hundreds of millions of dollars are lost in a year to injury, every effort should be made to control known risk factors related to injury,” Michael Sonne, an ergonomics expert and post-doctoral research fellow in Kinesiology at McMaster University, told Science Daily. “That includes allowing for appropriate rest time between pitches.”

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