Minor league baseball rules changes you'll see this season

Minor league baseball rules changes you'll see this season

Minor League Baseball's pace-of-play rules will change in several major ways this year in an attempt to cut down on lengthy games.

In addition to this new rule, the minors will also be cutting down on mound visits much like the big leagues, limiting teams to six mound visits per game in Triple-A and eight in Double-A.

The goal is to reduce the number of pitchers used in extra innings, as well address some of the issues that crop up as a result of an extra innings games, like the shortage of players in the games that follow, position players forced to pitch, and the shuffling of pitchers within the organization due to pitching shortages caused by extra innings games.

In extra innings, every half-inning will begin with a runner on second base. The players' union agreed not to challenge MLB's decision to institute the rule.

Back to the runner starting at second base.

The runner who begins the inning on second base will be ruled to have reached base on an error, but no error will be charged to the opposing team or any player, and that runner's batting average will not be affected.

In the minor leagues, with developing pitchers on pitch counts and inning limitations, extra-inning games can tax a team's roster. However, if extra innings occur, teams are allowed one additional mound visit per inning. "Any runner or batter removed from the game for a substitute shall be ineligible to return to the game".

The biggest change, which actually alters the rules of the game, is the extra-inning rule. At Single-A, it bumps to 10 per game, and there will be no limit for teams in short season or rookie leagues.

The Sky Sox saw nine of their final 12 games go at least 3 hours this past season. Pitchers who take too long will be penalized with a ball awarded to the count on the batter. The pitcher will have that amount of time to get into their pitching motion.

The clock will remain at 20 seconds when there are runners on base, a rule first implemented in 2015.

The timer will stop as soon as the pitcher begins his wind-up, or begins the motion to come to the set position.

The timer shall start when the pitcher has possession of the ball in the dirt circle surrounding the pitcher's rubber, the catcher is in the catcher's box and the batter is in the dirt circle surrounding home plate. If the batter isn't in the batter's box with seven seconds left on the clock, then a strike will be awarded. After that period, the rules will be enforced as written.

Players will receive only warnings for violations in the first two weeks of the season, the announcement said.