MLB established a few new rules this season, including one that pitchers are only allotted two pickoff throws during each at-bat.
Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. tested this new rule on Opening Day on Thursday vs. the Nationals. Acuña is known as a speedster—he finished seventh in the league last season with 29 stolen bases, and has 107 in his five-year career. Nationals pitcher Patrick Corbin was well aware of this, and made sure to keep an eye on Acuña in the top of the first inning.
However, Corbin used his two pickoff throws pretty quickly, and once Acuña noticed this, he took full advantage in order to make it to second base with relative ease.
Ronald Acuña Jr. realizes Patrick Corbin has already thrown over twice and he gets really excited about it! 😂— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) March 30, 2023
Easy steal on the next pitch though and Ronald is gonna steal a ton of bags this season if he stays healthy. pic.twitter.com/gsUZPW01aw
It’s worth noting that Corbin could’ve thrown to first base on one more attempt, but it would have had to result in an out. If Corbin wouldn’t have thrown Acuña out on the third pickoff throw, then Acuña would’ve been awarded a base.
This is definitely something to look out for this 2023 season, especially for Acuña, who was already successful with this strategy right off the bat on Thursday.