Sunday, 17 June, 2018

MiLB Pace-of-Play Rule Changes Aim to Speed Up Games

Starting in 2018 Minor League Baseball will reduce its pitch clock to 15 seconds when no runners are on base at the Double-A and Triple-A levels MiLB Pace-of-Play Rule Changes Aim to Speed Up Games
Shannon Reynolds | 15 March, 2018, 03:43

I'm okay with the mound visit rule and I am pro pitch clock if Major League Baseball wants to add it. Get that extra-inning rule outta here though.

The change was announced Wednesday as Minor League Baseball tries to speed up the length of games. Any mound visit resulting from a cross-up prior to a team exhausting its allotted number of visits shall count against a team's total number of allotted mound visits.

If the pitcher feints a pick off or steps off the rubber with runners on base, the timer shall reset and start again immediately.

Extra innings during minor league baseball games will now begin with a runner on second base.

And change is here in Oklahoma City.

Triple-A received the hardest cap regarding mound visits in all of Minor League Baseball. However, many won't be in favor of the changes, the players in particular.

The Sky Sox declined to comment on the new rules. The changes could be seen as testing grounds for future Major League Baseball changes and their initiatives in trying to speed up the game.

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If the pitcher doesn't meet the clock requirements, a ball will be called. Rookie leagues will not have a limit, The Washington Post reported. The other hope is to limit the need to shuffle rosters following a long night of baseball.

The procedures, created in partnership with Major League Baseball, aim to reduce the number of pitchers used in extra innings and the issues created by extra innings games, including, but not limited to, shortages of pitchers in the days to follow, the use of position players as pitchers and the transferring of players between affiliates due to pitching shortages caused by extra innings games.

Back to the runner starting at second base. This is a rule being adopted from softball, and it's likely to be the most controversial. The players' union agreed not to challenge MLB's decision to institute the rule. With the change, a runner will be placed on second base to start each extra inning, and then the inning will proceed as normal.

Who is the runner? The runner will be the player who made the final out and pitchers will not be charged an earned run if that runner scores. Double-A clubs such as the Portland Sea Dogs will be allowed eight mound visits per game by coaches or position players.

In Triple A, which features the Oklahoma City Dodgers, teams will be limited to the same six visits. Single-A clubs will be permitted 10 mound visits per game.

But a team without any mound visits left may ask the plate umpire for additional trips to deal with crossed-up pitch signals. Pitchers will be allowed 15 seconds to begin their wind-up or the motion to come to the set position when no runners are on base. The pitch clock will return to 20 seconds when runners are on the base.

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