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MLB Games Are Slow Again, And It’s Helping Older Hitters

Atop the hitting leaderboards this season, you’ll find an unexpected — yet familiar — name: 40-year-old David Ortiz leads baseball in weighted Runs Created Plus, a full 12 points beyond wunderkind Mike Trout. Big Papi’s return to the ranks of the elite hitters corresponds with a de facto loosening of one of his least-favorite rules: a restriction on how much time batters can take to ready themselves for the next pitch. This season, the pace of play has begun to creep back toward 2014 levels, and older hitters such as Ortiz may be reaping the benefits.

Just before the 2015 season, new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred added new rules designed to speed up the game. And they worked: after the average game took an all-time high of 3 hours and 2 minutes the previous year, it fell by 6 minutes in 2015. Manfred’s tweaks had the desired effect, and his attention moved to other problems in the game, like the lack of offense. …

This post is from Features – FiveThirtyEight. Click here to read the full text

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