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MLB is Always Testing Out The Craziest Rules In The Atlantic League

MLB announced they're testing out 3 new rules in the Atlantic League. They have been experimenting different rules in the Atlantic League for years now and while most of them don’t make their way to the majors, some actually have. (Pitch clock, bigger bases) I know many people are freaking out about changing the game and all that, but (most likely) these new rules in the Atlantic League won’t be made in MLB.

Before I talk about these three new rules, let’s talk about some crazy rules they’ve tried out in the Atlantic League that didn’t make it to Major League Baseball. (At least not yet!)

  • The automatic strike zone, or “Robo umps” which I assume will eventually make it to MLB. In 2023 all AAA teams have it, so it’s only a matter of time before MLB gets it.

  • They expanded the distance of the mound and home plate, which I don’t think will come to MLB, at least anytime soon. If the shift wasn’t banned and offense was still down I think then maybe they would’ve done it, but I don’t see them making those changes just yet.

  • They also tried allowing the batter to advance to first base on any pitch not caught in flight by the catcher. This is a Savannah Bananas type of rule right here. I’ll give this a 0.1% chance of ever getting to the majors. It is fun though.

Okay now to the 3 new rules they’re implementing to the Atlantic League this season.

1. Designated Pinch Runner

Photo via Robert Sabo for NY Post

Each team lists a player who is not in the starting lineup as the designated pinch runner. The player can be brought into the game at any time as a pinch runner, and the player who he replaced, and also the pinch runner, can return to the game at any point. I like this rule the most out of these three but I feel like this would’ve worked best back when pitchers were still hitting. We wouldn’t have had pitchers running the bases and avoided some injuries that way. It’s still a fun rule though.

2. One Disengagement per At-Bat

  • Pitcher can only disengage from the rubber one time per at bat instead of two, as it currently is now. I don’t love the rule currently so only one per at bat is a little crazy for me. I'll pass on this one.

3. “Double Hook” DH Rule

  • If a team’s starting pitcher doesn’t pitch 5 complete innings, the team loses their DH. To me, this rule is absolutely insane. I don’t even really understand the reasoning behind this one but I just hate it. Big no from me.

Like I said before, I doubt any of these rules would make it to the major leagues, but I do like how MLB tests these new rules in the Atlantic League. I feel bad for the guys who play in the Atlantic League that have to deal with these rule changes every single year.

Some rules are a little crazy, but sometimes crazy is good. If you told me 5 years ago there would be a pitch clock in MLB and I would like it, I would’ve said you’re insane. Maybe I’ll go back to this 5 years from now after the Yankees lose Giancarlo Stanton as their DH in a game because Gerrit Cole couldn’t make it through 5 innings.

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