Minor League Baseball announced some significant rule changes today that will affect Double-A and Triple-A clubs.
For starters, they announced that Double-A clubs will be limited to eight mound visits per game while Triple-A clubs will be limited to six per game.
That puts them much in line with the MLB, who recently limited their mound visits to six per game as well.
Another major rule change that was made is the addition of the 15-second pitch clock when no runners are on base in both leagues. That is another idea MLB has been toying with for a while and it makes perfect sense to try it out at the minor league level first.
The biggest surprise addition to the rule book, and by far the most controversial, is the decision to allow a baserunner to start at second base during extra innings.
The way it will work is that the hitter up right before the lead-off batter in the inning will start on second base. So the last batter of the inning prior starts at second the following inning.
This has been the most controversial pace-of-play idea among them so far, as it could completely change the landscape of extra innings and likely will make extra innings games higher scoring.
It is very unlikely that there will be many 16-inning battles in this scenario.
As mentioned before, the minor leagues are often used as a place to experiment with rule changes and the fact that they are trying this out means that it has become a significant consideration for MLB.
MLB has been pushing to put this rule in place in the near future throughout the offseason and this is likely being viewed as the first step to making it a reality.
This is the type of rule change, though, that could completely alter the fabric of the game and could be viewed in a negative light by fans.