clearn.png
Tuesday May 18th, 2021 5:51AM

MLB will have minor league experiment with moving back mound

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball wants to see if moving back the pitcher's mound will increase offense.

MLB will experiment with a 12-inch greater distance between the mound and home plate during a portion of the Atlantic League season in an effort to decrease strikeouts and increase offense.

The pitching rubber will be moved back to 61 feet, 6 inches starting Aug. 3 during the second half of the independent minor league’s season.

“It’s a direct response to the escalating strikeout rate, where you’re giving the hitter approximately one one-hundreth of a second of additional time to decide whether to swing at a pitch, which has the effect just in terms of reaction time of reducing the effective velocity of a pitch by roughly 1.5 mph,” said Morgan Sword, MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations. “The purpose of the test and hope is giving hitters even that tiny additional piece of time will allow them to make more contact and reduce the strikeout rate.”

In 2019, the last full season, strikeouts set a record for the 12th consecutive year at 42,823, up 33% from 32,189 in 2007. Strikeouts exceeded hits the last three seasons after never occurring before in major league history.

MLB calculated the average fastball velocity last year at 93.3 mph and estimated the increased distance would decrease the equivalent to 91.6 mph.

The mound has been at its current distance since 1893, when the National League moved the rubber back 5 feet. Strikeouts declined from 8.5% in 1892 to 5.2% in 1893 and the batting average increased from .245 in 1892 to .280.

Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer compared these changes to the lowering of the pitcher's mound from 15 inches to 10 for the 1969 season.

“We’ve got to do something to get more offense in the game, whether you want to talk about the mound being moved back a foot, whether you want to talk about different ways of getting rid of the shift, whether you want to talk about substances on the ball,” Hoyer said. “We need to make adjustments. The DH originally came of these adjustments. The mound being lowered came from these adjustments. And I personally am of the mind of — obviously, I love baseball, but I don’t believe the rules are written on stone tablets.”

Many baseball purists oppose changing distances on the field. Commissioner Rob Manfred has been open to considering innovations to a tradition-bound sport.

“That seems pretty drastic, but again I think those are things that, you know, sometimes the craziest of ideas end up having some traction,” New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I think that it’s important that you try these things out when you’re trying to consider different things in a league where you can kind of really take some information and see how it works out.”

Two years ago, MLB announced that Atlantic League mounds would be moved back 24 inches to 62 feet, 6 inches, for the second half of that season but then abandoned the experiment before it began.

In addition, the MLB partner league will have an experimental “double-hook DH” rule in which a team would lose its designated hitter when its starting pitcher leaves the game. That will be in effect the entire season, which starts May 27, and the goal is to encourage managers to leave their starting pitchers in games longer.

The Atlantic League will continue use of the automated ball-strike computer umpire system that it started with in 2019. The ABS will be used in some Low-A Southeast League games this season.

In a change, the strike zone in the Atlantic League this year will be two-dimensional, measuring at the front of home plate, rather than three-dimensional.

“One we think will better match the human zone people are expecting,” Sword said.

The Southeast League also will use a two-dimensional zone, but it will run on the Hawk-Eye system of cameras and the Atlantic League will use TrackMan radar system. MLB’s Statcast system switched from TrackMan to Hawk-Eye for the 2020 season.

“We’re talking about but we haven’t made a firm decision yet of whether to modify the geometry of the Atlantic League strike zone a little bit,” Sword said. “The zone that’s actually called by major league umpires is kind of like an oval. And going to a two-dimensional zone that has corners in it is going to be pitcher friendly because you’re adding space to the strike zone.

"So the thought is you actually might end off with something that feels better to people if you widen the strike zone by an inch or two and compressed it vertically by an inch or two.”

Other experimental minor league rules this year require infielders at Double-A to keep both feet in the infield at the start of every play; the use of 18-by-18-inch bases at Triple-A rather than 15-by-15 and a limit of two step off or pickoff attempts per plate appearance at Low-A with at least one runner on base.

The designated hitter was adopted by the American League in 1973 and was used in all major league games during the 2020 season due to pandemic rules. Its possible extension to the National League is expected to be discussed during bargaining between MLB and the players’ association this year.

The Atlantic League will use the 18-inch bases, which were part of the 2019 experiment, but the league decided to do that on its own this season. The rule that a pitcher face three batters or end the half-inning that was used by the Atlantic League in 2019 was adopted by the major leagues in 2020.

___

AP freelance writer Mark Didtler in Dunedin, Florida, contributed to this report.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Sports - Major League Baseball, AP Sports - Minor League Baseball
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Minnesota cop will be charged in shooting of Black motorist
A Minnesota prosecutor says he will charge a white former suburban Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot 20-year-old Black motorist Daunte Wright during a traffic stop
12:23PM ( 12 minutes ago )
US weighs next steps for J&J virus shot amid clot mystery
U.S. health officials are weighing next steps as they investigate a handful of unusual blood clots in people who received Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine
12:18PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Biden to detail pullout plans for last troops in Afghanistan
President Joe Biden says the Sept. 11 attacks “cannot explain” why U.S. forces should remain in Afghanistan 20 years later and that “it is time for American troops to come home” from the country’s longest war
12:14PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Claressa Shields to make MMA debut with PFL on June 10
Two-time Olympic boxing gold medalist Claressa Shields has a date and an opponent for her mixed martial arts debut with the Professional Fighters League
11:03AM ( 1 hour ago )
Ralph Lauren unveils crisp white Team USA Olympic uniforms
Olympic outfitter Ralph Lauren has unveiled a bright graphic look in Team USA uniforms for the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Games
10:12AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: NASCAR's Bubba Wallace urging COVID vaccinations
NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace is partnering with Novant Health to address the hesitancy to get vaccinated for COVID-19
9:36AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
Cubs' Hendricks feeling ill, scratched amid team COVID scare
With the team facing a COVID-19 scare, Chicago Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday night after the right-hander indicated he wasn’t feeling well
7:39PM ( 16 hours ago )
The Latest: Cubs manager says no player has tested positive
Chicago Cubs manager David Ross says none of his players has tested positive for COVID-19 as infielder Matt Duffy joined three teammates on the virus-related injured list
7:06PM ( 17 hours ago )
Indians 1B Chang receives racist tweets after making error
Cleveland Indians first baseman Yu Chang shared some racist tweets he received after making a costly error in Monday night’s game in Chicago
6:53PM ( 17 hours ago )
AP Online Baseball
Twins, Wolves, Wild postpone games following police shooting
The Minnesota Twins, Wild and Timberwolves have postponed games scheduled for Monday
7:21PM ( 1 day ago )
Hinch reflects on Astros sign-stealing scam in return
Detroit Tigers manager A
6:23PM ( 1 day ago )
Struggling Nationals get back Schwarber, Bell, Harrison
Left fielder Kyle Schwarber, first baseman Josh Bell and infielder Josh Harrison have been reinstated from the injured list by the Washington Nationals
4:24PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - Major League Baseball
Woo hoo! Baddoo hits again, Tigers rookie tops Twins in 10th
Akil Baddoo added another big hit in this charmed start to his big league career, lining an RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Detroit Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins
9:42PM ( 1 week ago )
Baddoo delivers again for Tigers with winning hit vs Twins
Akil Baddoo added another big hit in this charmed start to his big league career, lining an RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Detroit Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins
5:29PM ( 1 week ago )
Braves ink minor league deals with Edwards, Biddle, Sanchez
The Atlanta Braves have brought back relievers Carl Edwards Jr. and Jesse Biddle on minor league contracts
5:24PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - Minor League Baseball
Minnesota cop will be charged in shooting of Black motorist
A Minnesota prosecutor says he will charge a white former suburban Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot 20-year-old Black motorist Daunte Wright during a traffic stop
12:23PM ( 12 minutes ago )
US weighs next steps for J&J virus shot amid clot mystery
U.S. health officials are weighing next steps as they investigate a handful of unusual blood clots in people who received Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine
12:18PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Biden to detail pullout plans for last troops in Afghanistan
President Joe Biden says the Sept. 11 attacks “cannot explain” why U.S. forces should remain in Afghanistan 20 years later and that “it is time for American troops to come home” from the country’s longest war
12:14PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Coast Guard searches for 12 missing from capsized ship
The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for a dozen people in waters off the coast of Louisiana after six crew members were pulled from rough seas when their commercial platform vessel capsized
12:10PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Iran's supreme leader: Vienna offers 'not worth looking at'
Iran’s supreme leader says the offers being made at the Vienna talks over his country’s tattered nuclear deal “are not worth looking at.”
12:04PM ( 31 minutes ago )