Official press release courtesy of the Atlantic League:
Agreement to test experimental playing rules and equipment initiatives
Major League Baseball (MLB) announced today that it has reached a three-year agreement with the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) that will permit MLB to test experimental playing rules and equipment during the Atlantic League’s Championship Season. In addition to rules governing the transfer of players from the Atlantic League to Major League Baseball, the new agreement includes rights for MLB to implement changes to Atlantic League playing rules in order to observe the effects of potential future rule changes and equipment. MLB will work with ALPB to modify the experimental playing rules and equipment each season during the agreement.
MLB also will enhance its scouting coverage of the Atlantic League, installing radar tracking technology in the eight Atlantic League ballparks and providing statistical services to ALPB clubs.
The new agreement continues Major League Baseball’s longstanding practice of testing potential new approaches under game conditions. In recent years, MLB has utilized and evaluated experimental rules in its Arizona Fall League, the game’s top off-season developmental platform.
“We are excited to announce this new partnership with the Atlantic League,” said Morgan Sword, MLB’s Senior Vice President, League Economics & Operations. “We look forward to bringing some of the best ideas about the future of our game to life in a highly competitive environment.”
Atlantic League President Rick White added: “The Atlantic League prides itself on innovation. In that spirit, our Board of Directors, led by Chairman and Founder Frank Boulton, enthusiastically and unanimously approved this forward-looking agreement.”
Major League Baseball and the Atlantic League will announce the experimental playing rule and equipment changes for the 2019 ALPB Championship Season in the coming weeks.
About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
With eight teams in the Mid-Atlantic and Texas, the ALPB is a leader in baseball innovation and a player gateway to Major League Baseball. Through its exclusive partnership with MLB, the Atlantic League tests Major League Baseball rules and equipment initiatives. The Atlantic League has sent over 900 players to MLB organizations while drawing more than 40 million fans to its affordable, family-friendly ballparks throughout its 22-year history.
For more information, please visit www.AtlanticLeague.com.
It should be noted that the Atlantic League has been implementing various pace of play techniques for years. In 2015, Indy Ball Island covered some of these changes in: The Atlantic League – Leading the Way in Pace of Play or Publicity Stunt?
Baseball America’s JJ Cooper wrote about changes that could be coming to the Atlantic League this season.
While no one with the Atlantic League would confirm the changes, Baseball America has learned that that the rules tweaks are expected to include moving back the pitcher’s mound and using Trackman to call balls and strikes, both rules changes that have long been suggested but are significant enough to require plenty of in-game testing.
The entire article can be found at: Atlantic League Expected To Add Robo-Umps, Other Changes From New MLB Agreement.
Players interested in playing in the Atlantic League can check out our Tryout/Showcase information here: Atlantic League Player Showcase.