Major League Baseball’s “Pace of Game Committee” initiated several rule changes to the Arizona Fall League for the 2014 season. Several rule changes were enforced during the AFL season, including the controversial pitch clock, which managed to shorten AFL games by 10 minutes last season. As a result, MLB has decided to implement these changes at the Triple-A and Double-A levels of Minor League Baseball.
These changes included a 20 second pitch clock, a limited number of mound visits, eliminating intentional walk pitches, requiring the batter to stay in the box throughout the his at-bat, and setting a limit for pitching changes. AFL games were shortened, on average, by ten minutes as a result of these rule changes. It was a mild success that made MLB decide that moving forward with its experimentation on these rule changes needed to move forward.
That’s why there was almost no surprise when Robert Murrary — of MLB Daily Rumors — broke the story that MLB was planning on implementing these rule changes at the Double-A and Triple-A level. It’s widely believed that the pitch clock will be implemented at the major league level within a couple of years.
Pitchers will have 20 minutes to come to the set position (ready to throw the next pitch) after they have received the ball. If the pitcher doesn’t come set by the end of the pitch clock, a ball is added to the batter’s count. The idea is that he pitcher will rather get he ball out of his hand quickly than continue to sit on it and risk giving the batter an advantage.
According to Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal, most players and managers don’t seem to mind the pitch clock. And actually believe that it will help speed up the pace of the game.
“The introduction of the pitch clock would be the most significant innovation in the minors, one that baseball ultimately may adopt at the major-league level.
Multiple players and coaches told FOX Sports recently that they found the pitch clock to be effective and not disruptive to the flow of the game.”
This means that there probably won’t be any opposition to these rule changes from the players’ union; which will only make implementation easier for the league.