Category Archives: Independent Ball

MLB Announces Experimental Rules For Atlantic League In 2022

As in the past, major league baseball intends to use the Atlantic League as a test for more experimental rules.

Official Press Release:

Major League Baseball (MLB) today announced two experimental playing rules for use during the 2022 Atlantic League (ALPB) Championship Season.  The rules are designed to create more action on the field, to reward athleticism and to raise the profile of starting pitchers.

        Other promising rules first tested in the Atlantic League, such as Automated Balls-Strikes (ABS), have been expanded to affiliated play in the Minor Leagues, while the ALPB continues to pioneer rules and equipment tests. The experimental rules below were previously tested in the Atlantic League on a limited basis. Below is a summary of the experimental rules that will be tested to start the 2022 Atlantic League season:

·        Double-Hook Designated Hitter Adjustment:  The double-hook designated hitter will be modified. In 2021, teams lost their designated hitter when they removed the starting pitcher from the game.  However, in 2022, if the starter is able to complete at least five innings, the designated hitter will be allowed to remain in the lineup for the entirety of the game.  This rule intends to place emphasis on longer outings by starting pitchers.

·        Dropped Pitch Rule: As in the second half of 2019, batters will be able to advance to first base on any pitch that is not caught in the air by the catcher, even with first base occupied by a runner.  Those who get to first base safely will be awarded a hit.  This rule will increase the importance of taking care of the baseball (e.g., pitching with command, receiving, and blocking pitches) and reward athletic players who are able to capitalize on wild pitches and passed balls.

         Michael Hill, MLB’s Senior Vice President for On-Field Operations, said: “Given the positive results of recent years, we are continuing to prioritize the kinds of experimental rules that many baseball fans routinely discuss and want to learn more about.  Testing in the Atlantic League and throughout the Minors will provide us with more valuable feedback and data that can be taken into consideration.”

        Rick White, President of the Atlantic League, said: “We continue to be excited about ALPB’s role helping Major League Baseball determine the future of the game. We are proud many of the tests pioneered in the Atlantic League are reaching a broader audience throughout all levels of professional baseball.”

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About The Atlantic League
The Atlantic League is the first Partner League of Major League Baseball, a player gateway to the Major Leagues, and a leader in baseball innovation.  The ALPB has sent over 1,000 player to MLB organizations while drawing 44 million fans during its 23-year history. Please visit http://www.AtlanticLeague.com.

Contact: Steve Shutt (336-970-7512) or Andrew Bandstra (515-664-6936), ALPB Communications

Frontier League’s Road Team Will Be Owned And Operated By The Empire League

When the Southern Illinois Miners ceased operations after last season, the Frontier League was looking at an uneven number of teams to compete for the 2022 season.

As in years past, the solution was to add an additional team that would play every game on the road.

This season, the Frontier League announced that they will partner with the Empire League to provide that final team.

FRONTIER LEAGUE WELCOMES EMPIRE STATE GREYS FOR 2022 SEASON

(Official press release)

The Frontier League of Professional Baseball announced a partnership with the Empire League which will own and operate the Empire State Greys as a participant in the Frontier League during the 2022 season. The Greys, based out of Tupper Lake, New York, will be playing all of their games on the road, but will field a team by adhering to the same roster and salary rules as all Frontier League clubs.

The Empire League began play in 2016 and features four teams in upstate New York and northern New Hampshire. The Empire League is owned by brothers Eddie and Jerry Gonzalez along with MLB outfielder Matt Joyce. Eddie Gonzalez played in the Frontier League from 2006-08, including participating in the 2006 Championship Series. Jerry Gonzalez played as an infielder in the Los Angeles Angels’ organization in 2007 and 2008. Matt Joyce has appeared in 1,400 MLB games over a 14-year career, and saw postseason action for Tampa Bay, Atlanta, and Miami.

The Empire League moved 34 players to MLB Partner Leagues during the 2021 season, including 10 to the Frontier League. Current Frontier League coaches Joe Gannon (Tri-City) and Jared Lemieux (New Jersey) plus former Frontier League and current Atlantic League managers Jamie Keefe and Mark Mason have worked with the Empire League.

“We are very interested in seeing where this partnership goes. The Empire League’s historical ties to the Frontier League plus their New York base made them an ideal partner,” stated deputy commissioner Steve Tahsler. “Eddie Gonzalez has impressive baseball experiences and we like what he brings in terms of his player development skills, network, and desire to compete.”

The Empire State Greys will hold spring training at their home base in Tupper Lake, New York, before starting regular season play at the Gateway Grizzlies on May 13. Empire State will play in the league’s Eastern Division. They will play one 3-game series against the eight Western Division clubs, three series against the three Canadian teams in the Eastern Division, and four series against the four United States teams in the Eastern Division. Their full schedule is available at www.empirestategreys.com.

“It is a great honor to be able to join forces with the Frontier League,” stated Empire League CEO Eddie Gonzalez. “For us at the Empire League, we take pride in providing our best available scouting and recruitment baseball service to help players advance their careers. Having a team in the Frontier League through this great partnership, will create huge opportunities for not only Empire League players, but also open more doors for the up and coming players pursuing a pro career. We look forward to filling a very competitive Greys roster this year in pursuit of a historic Frontier League championship” 

The Frontier League of Professional Baseball is an official Partner League of Major League Baseball and the largest of its kind in professional baseball. The Frontier League has moved over 1,000 players to MLB Teams in its 29-year history. The 2022 Frontier League season opens on Thursday, May 12. Please visit www.frontierleague.com.