MiLB announces new pace-of-play initiatives
Minor League Baseball has become a test subject for Major League Baseball’s effort to improve pace of play. This season will be no different.
MiLB announced new pace-of-play initiatives Friday morning for the upcoming season, including requiring pitchers in Triple A and Double A to pitch to a minimum of three batters or until the end of the inning.
It’s that rule MLB will implement in 2020.
“Pitchers facing a minimum of three batters at the advanced levels will limit the number of pitching changes and help keep the game moving at a steady pace, while also providing valuable data for Major League Baseball as they review the impact it has on the pace of play,” MiLB president and CEO Pat O’Conner said in a release.
At all MiLB levels, a runner will be placed on second base to open extra innings. A change to the rule involves National League rules. If the last batter of the previous inning was the pitcher, the player placed on second will be the player in the batting order before the pitcher’s spot.
“Placing a runner on second base in extra innings accomplished the intended goals and created instant excitement in extra innings, but in a few instances exposed pitchers to serving as baserunners, which was a concern of our partners at Major League Baseball, so this amendment to that rule is an easy and practical solution,” O’Conner said.
MiLB also decreased the number of visits by coaches and players to the mound. Triple A is now allowed five, down from six. Double A will be limited to seven, Class A to nine and there will be no limits for Short Season and Rookie Leagues.