Everything in life changes and evolves with time in order to adapt to different needs.
MLB, and baseball itself, are no exception to this rule.
Hitters are better every year, more equipped to deal with MLB-caliber velocity and more alert to breaking balls.
As a result, the art of pitching has had to evolve in order to keep up.
The league has become more competitive, and everybody wants to be better because otherwise, they might not retain their status as major leaguers.
Adapt or go home seems to be the order of the day: MLB teams know they can find someone better for less money if a player’s performance diminishes.
Since hitters are beasts who can drill home runs left and right, pitchers have had to throw even harder and grasp concepts such as spin efficiency, riding fastball, sweeping slider, and such.
Since hurlers go max effort more often instead of pacing themselves for a full nine-inning game, complete games are few and far between.
Look at this nugget to see and understand how times have changed.
“Complete games in MLB in 2022: 36. Complete games by the 1980 A’s: 94,” Super 70s Sports tweeted.
Complete games in MLB in 2022: 36
Complete games by the 1980 A’s: 94 pic.twitter.com/nFcuktKbbG
— Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports) January 11, 2023
That doesn’t mean today’s pitchers are softer, like some people might lead you to believe.
Quite the contrary, in fact: their pitches are nastier, faster, and better.
It’s because today’s pitching is so demanding that they can’t complete nearly as many games.
Bullpens are much more important these days than in the past.
That Oakland rotation sure was talented, but the days in which the starer is required to complete the game are long gone in MLB.
And there is nothing wrong with that.