Kyle Tucker thinks the pitch clock should be longer
The pitch clock has been the hottest topic of Spring Training. Some fans love it. Others think it’s a load of crock. Some players are advocates for the clock. Others are not a fan.
Count Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker as one in the “not a fan” category.
Throughout his career, Tucker has stepped out of the box and reached down into the dirt, running it into his bare hands. As one of the rare big leaguers in the game that does not wear batting gloves, his routine is likely borne out of some combination of superstition, comfortability and the simple need to grip the bat.
Under the new rules, if a runner is not on base, the 15-second pitch clock begins ticking as soon as the pitcher receives the ball. The batter must be in the box and “ready” to hit before the clock reaches the eight-second mark. That leaves all of seven seconds for the batter to step out and ready themselves between pitches. If they aren’t ready at the eight-second mark, they receive an automatic strike.
While Tucker did reach down into the dirt yesterday between pitches, he was far more rushed than years prior, in order to be “engaged” within those seven seconds.
Tucker said this postgame:
"These pitchers are the best pitchers in the world and you’re giving them more of an advantage and you have to rush in the box, it takes away some of the thought process that goes into hitting. I think it could be maybe a little longer, instead of just stepping out and stepping back in."- Kyle Tucker
He believes it is a big advantage to the pitcher as doesn’t allow the batter the necessary time to step out of the box and think through potential adjustments and what pitches may be next.
Jose Altuve made his spring debut today and was 0-3 with three strikeouts. Altuve has stepped out and fiddled with his gloves between pitches throughout his career. No longer will his pre-pitch routine fit within the pitch clock.
Two of Houston’s best hitters will have to adjust to the new rules quickly, as Tucker himself conceded.
"If that’s how it’s going to be, you’re just going to have to figure out a way, but it’s a little tough right now."- Kyle Tucker
The insistence that a batter be "engaged" by the eight-second mark is both arbitrary and pointless. If the batter is in the box and the pitcher throws a fastball by them, they throw the ball by them. Whether the batter is standing still, rubbing the dirt, waggling their bat or doing a handstand, it's on them to be ready. The automatic strike rule needs to go.