MLB is experimenting with more rule changes in the Atlantic League, including a “Designated Pinch Runner”

Photo credit:© Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
1 year ago
Major League Baseball is brewing up some more rule changes.
This season, MLB introduced a pitch clock to speed up the pace of games along with banning the shift and larger bases that are meant to increase ball-in-play action.
What’s next? On Tuesday, MLB announced a series of experimental rules that’ll be used in the independent Atlantic League this season, including…
New to the Atlantic League this season will be the use of a Designated Pinch Runner. Each club will list a player who is not otherwise in the starting lineup as a designated pinch runner. That player may then be substituted at any point into the game as a baserunner. The player who is substituted for, as well as the pinch runner, may then return to the game without penalty.
Unlike the new MLB rule which allows a pitcher to disengage from the pitching rubber twice during an at-bat, the Atlantic League test will permit only a single disengagement per at-bat in 2023.
The ALPB will continue the use of the “Double-Hook” DH rule, which allows clubs to use the designated hitter throughout the game provided that the club’s starting pitcher has completed at least five innings. If the starter fails to make it through the fifth, the club then loses the DH for the remainder of the game.
The Designated Pinch Runner is an interesting idea and it goes hand-in-hand with the idea of creating more action and excitement on the bases. But while it might be more exciting to see Bradley Zimmer rip around the bases rather than Alejandro Kirk or Brandon Belt, it would also remove an interesting aspect of strategy from the later innings of the game in which managers need to decide when it’s ideal to sub a certain player into a certain situation.
MLB has previously used the Atlantic League as a testing ground for possible changes that could be made down the road in the big leagues. If a rule change is met favourably in the Atlantic League, MLB will then implement them in affiliated minor leagues before considering them for use at the highest level.



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