Top Three Slowest Paced NL Hitters Last Season Were New York Mets

Under the new pitch clock rules entering the MLB this year, pitchers have 15 seconds between pitches when the bases are empty and 20 seconds between pitches when a runner is on base. If the clock expires before a pitch is thrown, the pitcher is penalized an automatic ball. 

Additionally, batters have to be in the box ready for the pitch within eight seconds of the clock starting. If the pitcher is late, the umpire adds an automatic ball to the count. If the batter is late, it’s an automatic strike.

The rule also limits hitters to one timeout per plate appearance and allows pitchers to step off the rubber (at which point the clock resets) twice per plate appearance. 

Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker believes that the rule change regarding the batter's box may pose a greater challenge to players than the changes for pitchers.

Players have become accustomed to stepping out of the box, fixing their gloves, and taking breaks as needed. However, this behavior has resulted in dead time during games, prompting MLB to enforce the new rule. As a result, batters must now adapt both psychologically and physically to the change, which may prove difficult given their previous habits.

Some of the players it could affect the most in the NL are Mark Canha, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Christian Walker, Brandon Nimmo and Miguel Rojas, as these players averaged the slowest pace among qualified hitters in the NL last season.

Slowest pace among qualified NL hitters last season:

1.) Mark Canha: 27.5 (NYM)
2.) Pete Alonso: 27.2 (NYM)
3t.) Jeff McNeil: 25.6 (NYM)
3t.) Christian Walker: 25.6 (ARZ)
5t.) Brandon Nimmo: 24.6 (NYM)
5t.) Miguel Rojas: 24.6 (MIA)

Four of those six players are New York Mets, so they will, along with the other players, have some adjusting to do ahead of this season.

Photo Credit: Larry Robinson-USA TODAY Sports