There’s the coin flip in the NFL, the shootout in hockey, penalty kicks in soccer and now minor league baseball has a new method for ending extra-inning games:
A runner on second.
The new rule, announced Wednesday, will be in effect this season for all levels of minor league baseball.
With it, the runner at second base will be the player in the batting order position previous to the leadoff batter of the inning.
Among other changes announced by Minor League Baseball, include limits to mound visits and a pitch timer.
Limits to mound visits will vary by classification. Triple-A clubs will be allowed six visits per team, Double-A clubs will be allowed eight per team, Single-A will be allowed 10 visits per team with no limits for Short Season and Rookie-level clubs.
There will be a 15-second pitch timer at the Triple-A and Double-A levels. A pitcher will have 15 seconds to begin their wind-up or the motion to come to the set position when no runners are on base. It goes to 20 seconds with runners on base.
The pitcher does not necessarily have to release the ball within 15 seconds, but must begin his wind-up or begin the motion to come to the set position.
Failure to comply will result in a ball awarded to the count on the batter.
Conversely, should the batter fail to be in the batter’s box within seven or more seconds remaining on the pitch timer, a strike will be awarded to the count on the batter.
A pickoff attempt will restart the clock.
The procedures were created in partnership with Major League Baseball.
For extra innings, the aim to reduce the number of pitchers and reduce issues created, including the number of relievers used.
“We believe these changes to extra innings will enhance the fans’ enjoyment of the game and will become something that the fans will look forward to on nights where the game is tied late in the contest,” said Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Conner said in a statement.
“Player safety has been an area of growing concern for our partners at the Major League Baseball level, and the impact that lengthy extra innings games has on pitchers, position players and an entire organization was something that needed to be addressed.”
The new rules will begin after the first 15 days of the season. That will serve as a grace period with players receiving warnings for infractions.
Source : http://www.mlive.com/tigers/index.ssf/2018/03/minor_league_baseball_initiate.html