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Rule Changes to be Tested in Minors in 2021

rules minor leagues testing changes
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#1 Teflon

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Posted 19 March 2021 - 02:36 PM

Baseball will be testing some interesting and controversial new rules this year at various levels in the minors. Here is the article from MLB.com:

 

Rule changes to be tested in Minors this year

 

These rules will include:

  • Enlarging the bases from 15 X 15 to 18 X 18
  • Requiring infielders to be stationed touching the infield when the ball is pitched
  • Requiring pitchers to step off the rubber when making a pick-off throw
  • Limiting pickoff attempts to 2 per plate appearance
  • Employing 15-second pitch timer
  • Using an automated balls and strikes system

How do you feel about these? Any you like?

 

 

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#2 nicksaviking

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Posted 19 March 2021 - 05:13 PM

Without seeing the results, it’s hard to declare my feelings about these. At this time I’d guess I’ll be in favor of 50% of these rules.
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#3 Nine of twelve

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Posted 19 March 2021 - 06:34 PM

Enlarging the bases from 15 X 15 to 18 X 18 - Probably OK, but I need to know more about the placement of the bases. The baseball diamond is a 90' x 90' square. Home plate is entirely inside this square with the point of the plate nearest the catcher being the corner of the square. First and third bases are similarly situated, with the base fitting into the corner of the square, the entire base being inside the square. The center of second base is located at the other corner of the square, resulting in one-quarter of second base being inside the square and three-quarters of the base being outside the square. If this placement is used with the larger bases that means that first base and third base will be three inches closer to home plate. That has significant implications, especially at first base.

 

Requiring infielders to be stationed touching the infield when the ball is pitched - no.

 

Requiring pitchers to step off the rubber when making a pick-off throw - lefthanded pitchers will have probably their most important tool of holding runners taken away from them. Is that good or bad? I don't know.

 

Limiting pickoff attempts to 2 per plate appearance - no.

 

Employing 15-second pitch timer - yes, if you must, but only with the bases empty and only if there is a similar timer for batters to get in the batter's box.

 

Using an automated balls and strikes system - yes, yes, yes.

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#4 TheLeviathan

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Posted 19 March 2021 - 06:56 PM

Move the mound back.That should be step number one.

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#5 sampleSizeOfOne

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Posted 19 March 2021 - 07:41 PM

What happens after you try to pick off the runner twice?

 

Can they now take a 45 foot lead, as they just have to beat the pitcher back to 1st?

 

And what if there are runners at 1st and 3rd? Does a throw to 3rd and then to 1st count as 1 or 2 pick offs?

 

And does include the catcher?

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#6 Vanimal46

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Posted 19 March 2021 - 08:27 PM

I like the rule of having infielders touch part of the dirt before a pitch. I’m in favor of banning extreme shifts and I hope this generates more hits in the future.

Re: Requiring Pitchers to step off the rubber before making a pickoff throw. Hasn’t this always been the case? I guess that was my assumption because that was the rule when I played growing up.

Automating a strike zone should be the goal in baseball. Take away the horrific inconsistency of Angel Hernandez once and for all!

I also completely agree with Levi for moving the mound back. Throwing 100+ MPH is common occurrence now. The mound hasn’t moved in decades. Back when pitchers rarely threw 90. It’s time to give hitters a chance and reverse the three true outcome BORING baseball we’re seeing.
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#7 TheLeviathan

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Posted 20 March 2021 - 01:30 AM

Not only are they throwing harder but pitchers are 6'6 instead of 5'6.

#8 Richard Swerdlick

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Posted 20 March 2021 - 06:59 AM

I am glad to see MLB experimenting with some rules changes in the minors. They all probably won't work out, but that is the purpose of experimenting. The NFL almost always changes something at least every few years and their game is only growing in popularity. I would like to see the NBA experiment in their G league with an 11 foot or 12 foot basket. Times change, athletes change, the game has to change with the times, while maintaining it's core principles.


#9 The Wise One

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Posted 20 March 2021 - 08:08 AM

 

I am glad to see MLB experimenting with some rules changes in the minors. They all probably won't work out, but that is the purpose of experimenting. The NFL almost always changes something at least every few years and their game is only growing in popularity. I would like to see the NBA experiment in their G league with an 11 foot or 12 foot basket. Times change, athletes change, the game has to change with the times, while maintaining it's core principles.

The shooting percentages in the NBA are not that much changed from historical levels. It is still hard enough for them to hit a shot

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#10 terrydactyls1947

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Posted 20 March 2021 - 08:38 AM

I like the rule of having infielders touch part of the dirt before a pitch. I’m in favor of banning extreme shifts and I hope this generates more hits in the future.


Does the rule change say that infielders must touch the infield or touch the dirt? There is a difference. If it says touch the dirt, then infielders can't play on the grass when anticipating a bunt. That is a different outcome than the rule intends (I think).
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#11 The Wise One

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Posted 20 March 2021 - 08:40 AM

Bigger bases. Why?

Infielder positioning rules. Ifthey are going to do that why not put 7 x marks on the field and say this is where you must be for all position players

If they do not want pickoff moves insist the runner has to be standing on the base at the start of the pitch

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#12 The Wise One

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Posted 20 March 2021 - 08:45 AM

From the New York Times

 

In Class AAA, the size of first, second and third base will increase to 18 inches square, from 15.

In Class AA, at least four defensive players must be positioned on the infield, each with both feet completely in front of the outer boundary of the infield dirt. In the second half, M.L.B. may require two infielders to be positioned entirely on each side of second base.

In high-Class A, pitchers must step off the rubber before attempting a pickoff throw, and in both low-Class A leagues, pitchers will be limited to two step-offs, with a third resulting in an out or a balk.

In the low-Class A Southeast League, umpires will use an automated ball-strike system (A.B.S.) to call pitches.

In the low-Class A Southwest League, on-field timers will enforce the time between pitches, innings and during pitching changes.

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#13 ashbury

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Posted 20 March 2021 - 09:18 AM

The article linked by the OP answers some of the questions being raised here regarding pickoffs, infield dirt, and the reasoning behind making the bases larger.

 

The scientifically minded will appreciate that they are implementing each of these rules (except the two-pickoff rule) in one league classification at a time. Not that there is a lot of interplay between rule changes, but the consequences will be easier to identify.

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#14 Nine of twelve

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Posted 20 March 2021 - 05:42 PM

 

 

The scientifically minded will appreciate that they are implementing each of these rules (except the two-pickoff rule) in one league classification at a time. Not that there is a lot of interplay between rule changes, but the consequences will be easier to identify.

This may not be a scientific response but I hope the changes that I think will be bad turn out to be so.

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#15 ashbury

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Posted 20 March 2021 - 05:45 PM

This may not be a scientific response but I hope the changes that I think will be bad turn out to be so.

We're each entitled to our own scientific hypothesis. And since none of us is in charge of testing those hypotheses, there is no harm done! :)

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#16 Shaitan

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Posted 20 March 2021 - 08:22 PM

It seems like a lot of these would increase base stealing, which has is basically irrelevant in the modern game. So I like that aspect.

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#17 Shaitan

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Posted 20 March 2021 - 08:23 PM

 

Bigger bases. Why?

Infielder positioning rules. Ifthey are going to do that why not put 7 x marks on the field and say this is where you must be for all position players

If they do not want pickoff moves insist the runner has to be standing on the base at the start of the pitch

 

One benefit is that is potentially reduces player collisions. A bigger bag means fewer players tripping on the first baseman's foot, etc.

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#18 Nine of twelve

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Posted 21 March 2021 - 08:56 AM

 

 If this placement is used with the larger bases that means that first base and third base will be three inches closer to home plate. That has significant implications, especially at first base.

 

Upon further review, this is probably of very little significance. On an infield ground ball the batter-runner will get to first base slightly faster. However, the first baseman will also be slightly closer to the infielder making the throw. The two factors probably essentially cancel each other. Assuming that the point in time at which the throw from the infielder is made would not change the larger base may be a slight advantage for the fielding team because a thrown ball travels much faster than a running human.

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#19 benchwarmerjim

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Posted 21 March 2021 - 04:45 PM

The infield shifting is an interesting one.

 

Say you have an left handed batter who is an extreme pull hitter. Would a manager take the LFer and put him in the deep INF position in RF.

 

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#20 jkcarew

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Posted 21 March 2021 - 08:06 PM

 

The infield shifting is an interesting one.

 

Say you have an left handed batter who is an extreme pull hitter. Would a manager take the LFer and put him in the deep INF position in RF.

Exactly. The rules limiting fielder positioning SCREAM ‘law of unintended consequences’. Hate it.

 

Shifting isn’t new and isn’t the problem. The problem is that practically all batters have the same approach: take strikes until they get a pitch they can pull and launch or until they strike out. Giving them an occasional extra single when this miss by a little instead of missing by a lot does nothing to fix the issue long term. It makes it worse.

 

It’s up to the computer apparently on how low batting averages and OBP are going to go. At any time batters can decide to give in and take a pitch on the outer half early in the count and hit the ball the opposite way. Problem solved. It’s worked for 130 years or so and will work again when the tipping point is reached.

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