Pitch limits have always been part of the World Baseball Classic, but Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the WBC is decreasing the number of pitches allowed compared to the last tournament.
According to Morosi the new pitch limits are 65 in the first round, 80 in the second round, and 95 in the semi-finals and finals. During the last tournament those limits were 70, 85, and 100, respectively, so basically everyone is now allowed to throw five fewer pitches per outing.
Obviously a drop of five pitches isn’t a big deal and most pitchers participating in the WBC won’t be approaching those limits anyway, but no doubt the minor decrease was at MLB teams’ request.
WBC rosters for all countries will be officially announced Thursday.
The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.
Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.
In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.