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MLB may shrink the strike zone in order to boost offense

If they want more offense (and they do), MLB doesn't need to fuss with relief pitcher rules, they could just tell umpires to quit calling the low strike.

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Major League Baseball is considering a change to the strike zone, due to concerns about offense having dropped to its lowest level in decades. Many believe that a decline in PED use is wat's led to the decline in scoring, and while it's possible that has been a significant factor, I think a larger factor has been the slow but steady expansion of the strike zone in recent years.

Go and read this article on the strike zone by Jon Roegele at The Hardball Times...

As you can see, the strike zone has gained about three extra inches below the knees over the last five years or so, and as pitchers have realized they're getting more calls there, they've been throwing more pitches in that area, accelerating the impact on things. Batters have been forced to swing at more pitches down low, but they're less likely to make good contact. The strike zone has gotten 10% larger, and most of that 10% is in a very difficult place for hitters to do anything about.

I love pitchers' duels, so I can't say I've minded the change all that much, but I understand why baseball would like to undo at least some of this change. Notably, during the late 90s MLB told umpires to start calling a lower strike, and it seems to me that directive was heard loud and clear. For that reason, I think it's fair to think that if (after monitoring things more closely in 2015) MLB does instruct umpires to lift the bottom of the zone for 2016, they (umpires) will do so.*

*I also think this means that if MLB told umpires to enforce the pace-of-play rules that are already on the books, we wouldn't have the debate the need for a stupid pitch clock. I believe umpires are capable of adding that task to their duties, it's just a matter of MLB emphasizing it.

MLB has routinely made small adjustments to the rules and how they're enforced, adjustments intended to boost or decline offense, in hopes of finding whatever it considers to be the happy medium. Rather than dropping the mound further, banning one-batter relief appearances, or moving in the outfield walls, I prefer they pursue this option. Force pitchers to work a little closer to the batter's wheelhouse.