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Rule Changes to be Tested in Minors in 2021

rules minor leagues testing changes
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#21 wsnydes

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Posted 22 March 2021 - 06:30 AM

 


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.
 

Not always. The most common occurrence where this doesn't happen is with a LH pitcher and a runner on first.The pitcher can keep their foot on the rubber, pick up their front leg as if in a pitching motion and still throw to 1B as long as they don't make a movement towards home (i.e. they step towards home instead of 1B). This also applies to a RH pitcher with a runner on 3B.

 

Also, if the pitcher picks up his front leg as they would in a typical pitching motion, as long as the front foot doesn't cross the back leg, they can still throw to the base as well while their plant foot is still on the rubber.That's why you'll see pitchers pick their front leg straight up regardless of where they intend to go with the ball.

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#22 spycake

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Posted 22 March 2021 - 12:19 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?

From the article:

 

This rule will limit pitchers to just two “step offs” or pickoff attempts per plate appearance. On the third attempt, if the runner is not thrown out, the move is ruled a balk and any runners are automatically awarded the next base.

 

So to answer your questions:

 

No, the runner couldn't take a crazy lead after two throws, as the pitcher could still throw over a third time -- the defense would just have to record an out on the play or it would result in a balk.

 

It's per plate appearance, so each throw counts toward the limit, even if the throws go to different bases.

 

And this is specifically pitcher pick-off throws -- catcher pick-off attempts would not be affected.

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#23 Dave The Dastardly

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Posted 22 March 2021 - 03:58 PM

Experimenting is the easy part. Collecting and analyzing the data will be more difficult. Implementing any changes based on the analysis will be the most difficult and will require quite a bit of PR. Change of any kind is an anathema for many.

 

I applaud MLB for giving it a try.

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#24 ashbury

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Posted 22 March 2021 - 05:15 PM

Experimenting is the easy part. Collecting and analyzing the data will be more difficult. Implementing any changes based on the analysis will be the most difficult and will require quite a bit of PR. Change of any kind is an anathema for many.

 

I applaud MLB for giving it a try.

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#25 DocBauer

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Posted 22 March 2021 - 07:45 PM

I'm in favor of anything that makes the game actually better. And I'm almost surprised MLB is even trying to make changes as they are so slow for any change. So I applaud any effort that doesn't dramatically "change" the integrity of the game to an extreme. But as to these ideas:

1] Enlarging the bases and changing their composition prevents contact injuries potentially? Do it yesterday! Look, replacing a 15" square base with an 18" base...as long as said square is placed in the same central location...puts 1B 1 1/2 inches closer to home and the batter gaining 1 1/12 inches closer to being safe. But the 1B is also an 1 1/2 closer to any throw he receives. There is NO difference/advantage! If it increases safety, just do it.

2] Requiring infielders to be touching dirt, to me, and opposed to the article speculating more hits, is maybe more about being able to cheat in for a potential bunt. This, potentially, would have more affect in the NL with pitchers. But we all know/speculate a universal DH is coming anyway.

You want a change? Shifts should be limited to TWO players on either side of 2B, no matter how close they may play to the bag. You want to bring an OF close to the infield, that's up to you.

3] Stepping off and number of throws is ridiculous to me. CRUNCH TIME in a game with a SB threat at 1B...think Buxton there...a game within a game is fascinating and keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. You are messing with the pitcher, the defense, and messing with any drama the situation could provide. Just stupid.

4] I'm in favor of a 20 second pitch clock with nobody on base. And I get the idea of stepping off the rubber re-starts the clock. But can't there be some compromise that doesn't allow the batter to spend an extra 20 seconds to adjust everything on their body?

5] I can't honestly comment on the robo-umpire. It sounds so easy. But the experiment they tried previously had mixed results from both hitters and pitchers both. So can someone create an algorithm that is so perfect that everyone is OK? And are we ready to accept that?

For a moment, think about a human being writing an amazing algorithm for balls and strikes. Do we, are we ready, to accept that as PERFECT? I'm serious. If Maeda throws an amazing pitch 1" out of the robot zone and it's called a ball, how do you complain?

Replay should NEVER be about EVERY play. But it's a good tool to get things right. But for me, I'd rather keep the human element still involved with much greater grading systems for umpires who just don't deserve to have the status they have obtained.
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#26 nicksaviking

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Posted 22 March 2021 - 08:30 PM

I think my favorite change here is actually the implied one. Minor League ball will now be made a laboratory to better study impacts on the Major League game.

 

Also, Bill Veeck is cheering somewhere at the sign that the sport is veering out of it's comfort zone and trying something new.

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#27 spycake

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Posted 23 March 2021 - 12:27 PM

 

1] Enlarging the bases and changing their composition prevents contact injuries potentially? Do it yesterday! Look, replacing a 15" square base with an 18" base...as long as said square is placed in the same central location...puts 1B 1 1/2 inches closer to home and the batter gaining 1 1/12 inches closer to being safe. But the 1B is also an 1 1/2 closer to any throw he receives. There is NO difference/advantage! If it increases safety, just do it.

Enlarging the bases also slightly reduces the distance between them, encouraging more of a running game.

 

3] Stepping off and number of throws is ridiculous to me. CRUNCH TIME in a game with a SB threat at 1B...think Buxton there...a game within a game is fascinating and keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. You are messing with the pitcher, the defense, and messing with any drama the situation could provide. Just stupid.

If you like the excitement of the running game, you should be in favor of this rule change. As it is, offenses are largely ignoring the running game now, preferring instead to move baserunners station to station while batters swing for the fences. Buxton attempted 3 steals for all of 2020, for example.

 

Putting a limit on pick-off throws (combined with larger bases and shorter distances between bases) could encourage more teams/players to run again.

 

Here's what the linked article had to say about the potential effect of these rule changes:

 

When this rule was tested in the Atlantic League in 2019, runners were more ambitious with their leads and more successful with their stolen-base attempts.

Conceivably, this change could have an impact on the pitcher-hitter dynamic, as well. If the pitcher is more mindful of the running game, he may throw more fastballs in the zone, leading to more offensive action.

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