MLB: The “Price Rule” Helps Umpires and Takes Effect in 2017

Starting in 2017, David Price and several other MLB pitchers will be required to notify the umpire when they are in their windup or set position.

Behind the Spring Training scenes of Pablo Sandoval regaining a full-time job or the first taste of Chris Sale, another headline recently hit the Boston Red Sox. After nearly 10 years in the major leagues, baseball is addressing David Price‘s unusual pitching style with a new rule, fondly called the “Price Rule.”

Since his rookie season in 2009, Price’s windup is nearly identical to when he is throwing from a set position. As a left-hander, this style does not become an issue until there is a runner on third. In that case, umpires are unsure if Price is in the windup or pitching from the stretch.

For a visual example, the video below clearly shows the similarity between Price from the windup and set position.

Although the specifics are yet to be determined, ESPN’s Buster Olney provided an overall picture of how it will look:

“If a pitcher takes the rubber and his back foot is parallel to the mound and his other foot is in front, it is assumed he is in the set position and will stop,” Olney said. “This does not matter with no runner on or first and second. But when there is a runner at third, pitchers need to inform the umpire if they are going to stand that way and not stop – i.e., pitch out of the full windup.”

While this rule helps umpires distinguish between a pitcher’s windup and set position, the timing of it is unusual. Price has pitched this way for his whole career and league’s sudden interest in the issue seems strange.

Nonetheless, with several pace-of-game changes on the horizon, this rule could easily take a backseat.

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