Want to see what the future of baseball looks like? Well, just take a time machine back to the 1970s and 1980s when everybody was on uppers! Instead of performance-enhacing drugs speeding up the game, though, the modern era will feature the pitch clock. Booooring!!
Or is it? On Thursday afternoon, New York Yankees reliever Wandy Peralta finally gave us a lovely preview of how the pitch clock can positively affect the game without nonsensical controversy. Well, depending if you like a faster game or not.
Peralta took the mound in the second inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates and struck out the side in a scoreless frame. One of those strikeouts featured Tucupita Marcano as the victim ... and it only took 20 seconds. Peralta's always had a reputation of working relatively quickly, but this is a completely different stratosphere.
Props to Marcano for playing along when he didn't necessarily have to batters have eight seconds to get set), but at least he learned that approach may not be for him.
As for Peralta, maybe he should start testing out the opposition by assuming his position the moment he receives the ball back from the catcher. It'd sure be nice if some of those late-inning Yankees contests were dulled a bit by play that isn't lagging on or being drawn out.
Yankees' Wandy Peralta has pitch clock highlight of spring training so far
That half-inning featured 14 pitches (10 for strikes). Quite the turnaround from Peralta's laborious spring debut against the Tigers that kept him on the mound for 22 pitches (13 strikes) thanks to two Detroit hits. But as far as we know the left-hander wasn't pitching at Mach 3 speed for that one.
In 2022, Peralta's 16.7-second tempo with nobody on base ranked 104th in MLB and his 21.5-second tempo with runners on ranked 57th. According to Baseball Savant, that should translate to 10.7 seconds and 15.5 seconds in 2023 with the pitch clock controlling the pace. In summation, he's one of the faster relievers in the league.
As one of the most important figures in the Yankees' bullpen, any sort of edge Peralta can possess will be that much more of an advantage (and apparently wildly entertaining). He was arguably the team's most consistent reliever last year and can stand to benefit from an altered approach.
Maybe highlights like these here and there can pleasantly distract Yankees fans from the closer discussion, Michael King's health, and Clarke Schmidt's usage. Yeah, more of these and Anthony Volpe home runs.