Ever wondered what the MVR stat on the scoreboard means?
In baseball, the MVR stat stands for Mound Visit Remaining and as you can guess, it refers to the number of times managers, coaching staff, and other players on the offensive team are allowed to approach the mound to meet with their pitcher.
Of course, it’s a bit more nuanced than that. Since 2016, a limit has been set to how many mound visits are allowed in MLB. If you’re new to baseball or you’re a life-long fan just tuning in, stick around and we’ll fill you in on all details about the MVR baseball stat.
What are mound visits for?
For all teams, It’s all about strategy. During a mound visit, the pitcher convenes very briefly with the coach and other teammates to discuss what’s the best way to go about playing against the hitter and whether or not the pitcher needs a substitution.
From the team’s standpoint, mound visits are key for their game plan, but for the MLB, it is more about making games shorter.
Before 2016, mound visits didn’t have an official time limit, so, in addition to pitch clocks and 7-inning games for doubleheaders, they’ve cut mound visits down to a few 30-second windows so that games would last approximately 2 hours, 45 minutes instead of 4 hours or so.
Can’t drop those World Series TV ratings now, can we?
On that note, you ought to know that teams have a limited number of visits, but not every meeting at the hill counts against the total allowed to each team. It will depend on who visits the pitcher and for what purpose. Let’s go over the rules, so you’ll know what I mean.
Pitchers rely on good footing. They may expend one of their visits to have the gunk cleaned out of their cleats.
So how many mound visits are allowed in MLB?
As of 2020, each team has 5 mound visits in a nine-inning game. They get additional visits once for every extra inning.
If a team is out of mound visits, the umpire may grant a quick one to allow the catcher to clarify a cross-up with the pitcher. That’s more of a safety concern than anything else. If the catcher expects a low pitch and the pitcher goes high, it could result in an injury.
The coaching staff may approach the mound only once per pitcher and once per inning, or twice if they mean to substitute the pitcher.
In other words, the coach or the manager can go and check on their pitcher, and if a substitution is needed, they can leave the mound, tell the umpire, and go back to the hill to bench the pitcher. They’ve been to the mound twice in the same inning, but it still counts as a single visit. If they were to visit the pitcher a second time without calling for a substitution, the pitcher might be benched for the rest of the game.
Once granted by the umpire, visits start the moment the coach steps out of the dugout. Then, they have 30 seconds to go to the mound and talk to the pitcher. If they return to the dugout before the time’s up, the visit is considered to be over when the coach exits the circle around the pitcher’s mound.
A couple more MVR exceptions
We’ve already described a couple of cases that don’t count as mound visits:
- Switching pitchers in case of injury or exhaustion
- Catchers refreshing signs with the pitcher in case of a cross-up
However, there are other cases where free visits may be granted, for example, when the opposing team switches their batter for a pinch hitter. Then, the umpire may grant a quick free exchange between the catcher and the pitcher.
Infielders may also approach the mound to use the scraper to clean the gunk off their cleats, and it won’t count against their MVR stat, especially during the rainy season.
A quick mound visit may be granted during an unanticipated halt of play without expending one of their mound visits, most commonly whenever a fan makes it to the field. While the security team gets everything under control, the coach may quickly discuss strategy with the pitcher and other players.
Where did the MVR system come from?
Mound visits have always been around, but until 2016 they were pretty much unlimited. Visits would only count for coaches and managers, and since no limit on the amount or duration of the had been established, any player could halt the action indefinitely to check on the pitcher, and it would still not count as a visit. The only limitation was that if a coach or manager made a second mound visit in a single inning, it had to be with the sole purpose of substituting the pitcher.
Naturally, that means longer games, so as of 2016, to keep the game going, visits can only be 30 seconds long, and exchanges between the pitcher and anyone teammate count as a visit, not just coaches and managers; thus making teams choose their visits more carefully.
Forward to a post-2018 world, and now teams have a maximum of 6 visits to the mound in a nine-inning game and one extra visit for each additional innings. A year later, they brought it down to five and allowed free visits between the pitcher and one infielder at a time so long as it didn’t incur into a substitution.
Here’s the rub though, limiting mound visits hasn’t shortened games the way the MLB expected, if anything ‒ they’re longer. Baseball-Reference estimated the length of a full baseball game to be two hours and fifty-eight minutes back in 2001. 20 years later, your average baseball game can last up to three hours and eight minutes approximately.
The Last Inning
So, what does MVR stand for in baseball? It stands for Mound Visits Remaining, and it refers to how many mound visits are allowed to the coaches, managers, and other players to talk to the pitcher. This system was meant to make mound visits less disruptive.
The rules on the MVR stat have been amended a couple of times since 2016, and some exceptions apply, but we can sum it all up as five 30-seconds visits per nine-inning game for each team, plus free visits for each extra innings. Substitutions and getting cross-ups straight are granted as free visits and don’t count against the team’s MVR stat.
That’s pretty much it. Another stat to keep in mind during every baseball game you go to from here on in.
If you’re watching from the bleachers, it’s a nice piece of information to have. Now, If you’re playing, you best keep track of your team’s MVR, though. You’ll want to use them sparingly and strategically!