Tag Archives: MLB rule changes

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

Atlantic League Mound Movement Results Are Not As Noticeable As Expected

Earlier this year, there was an uproar in the baseball world when it was revealed that the Atlantic League would go ahead with MLB’s experimental movement of the mound.

When Indy Ball Island first reported the change in August, players were concerned about how much it would change the game and if the move would ultimately injure pitchers.

There were even a few players who ended up on the inactive list or were contemplating retirement over their concern and issues.

It was also rumored that if players or coaches were to speak out negatively about the changes, they would be banned from playing in the MLB or in any of the partner leagues. Clearly, the MLB was expecting a lot of outrage when they decided to continue with their experiment.

But as the New York Post reported, all of the concern was blown out of proportion as not much has really changed in the Atlantic League.

There are a few slightly noticeable differences…

Courtesy of Long Island Ducks & The New York Post

From the adjustment’s implementation on Aug. 3 through Sept. 19, as per MLB (reported by the NYPost):

• Run scoring is up by .22 runs per game.

• Slugging percentage is up 26 points, a by-product of home runs being up from 2.9 percent of all outcomes to 3.6 percent. “I think that’s probably the most meaningful thing that has happened,” Sword said. “Twenty points of slugging is not a lot, but directionally, it’s what we were hoping for.”

• Strikeouts are up a tick, from 18.3 percent to 18.4. “I couldn’t explain that one to you,” Sword said In conjunction with that, the batting average on balls in play has dropped from .324 to .320.

• There’s a “slight increase” in the percentage of fastballs thrown and a “very small decrease” in the number of sliders and curveballs thrown.

But overall, the one foot increase from the mound to the plate seemed to bring little changes and no directly reported injuries (that I have seen) – a big concern of a lot of players over a month ago.

Most players, pitchers and hitters alike, didn’t seem to notice.

Said Scott Harkin, who pitched six innings of one-run ball for the Ducks that night, picking up a 4-2 win over the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs: “Honestly, I don’t even notice it.”

Said Ducks outfielder LJ Mazzilli: “I think a lot of people got ahead of themselves before it actually happened. They really were opinionated early on, and I was just trying to take it in and let me see for myself. And then as soon as I got in, that first game, that first fastball I saw, it was like the exact same as what I’ve been seeing my whole life. I was like, ‘This is not as crazy as people were making it seem.’ ”

NY Post

And even when some pitchers reported a slight difference, such as Long Island Ducks RHP Joe Iorio, he was able to overcome it quickly because that’s always the goal of the game.

Ducks pitcher Joe Iorio, a native of West Islip, said he had to adjust his arm slot to throw his off-speed pitches: “I’m trying to get it to a different spot now, because he’s a foot back. The hitter obviously has a little more time to see it.”

Yet Iorio added: “It’s definitely an adjustment, but at the end of the day, we’ve been pitching our whole lives, so you feel like you can figure it out pretty quickly. But once you get in the game, it’s a constant adjustment, and that’s pitching, anyway. Whether it’s the regular distance or not, you’re always adjusting and trying to fine-tune your pitches.”

NY Post

If you would like to read more about the effects and responses to the movement of the pitcher’s mound or about the other rule changes put into place in the Atlantic League, check out Ken Davidoff’s in-depth article, MLB’s mound experiment an underwhelming minor league innovation, from the New York Post HERE.