clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Here are two more experimental rules that will be tried in the Atlantic League

MLB and the Atlantic League have had a partnership since 2019.

Photo by Fred Vuich /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

Monday, I wrote about some experimental baseball rules that will be used in affiliated minor leagues in 2022. Many of these will likely be introduced to MLB in 2023.

MLB has had a partnership with the independent Atlantic League since 2019, and used that partnership to test out various experimental rules. So far, none of those have been instituted in Major League Baseball.

Tuesday, MLB announced two experimental rules that will be used in the Atlantic League in 2022. I present them here, along with my comments.

  • Double-Hook Designated Hitter Adjustment: The double-hook designated hitter will be modified. In 2021, teams lost their designated hitter when they removed the starting pitcher from the game. However, in 2022, if the starter is able to complete at least five innings, the designated hitter will be allowed to remain in the lineup for the entirety of the game. This rule intends to place emphasis on longer outings by starting pitchers.

COMMENT: I know there are many who still don’t like the DH rule and want to see pitchers bat. This is an attempt to get some strategy back in the game, and it does make sense to at least try to have starters go longer in games.

If adopted in MLB, this would essentially eliminate “openers” as no team would want to lose the DH after the fifth inning.

My feeling is that by adopting the universal DH in 2022, the genie is out of the bottle. I can’t imagine anyone in MLB wanting to go backwards and have pitchers bat again. No MLB team is going to want to have relief pitchers bat, so they’d wind up with a parade of pinch-hitters, or a lot of double switches.

Since this is an “experimental” rule, sure, go ahead and try it and see what happens in practice. But I don’t see MLB adopting it.

  • Dropped Pitch Rule: As in the second half of 2019, batters will be able to advance to first base on any pitch that is not caught in the air by the catcher, even with first base occupied by a runner. Those who get to first base safely will be awarded a hit. This rule will increase the importance of taking care of the baseball (e.g., pitching with command, receiving, and blocking pitches) and reward athletic players who are able to capitalize on wild pitches and passed balls.

COMMENT: This is intriguing. It riffs off the “dropped third strike” rule.

In practice, especially in the minor leagues, this is going to wind up with a lot of batters being able to run to bases. Of course, not all of them would reach safely, some would be thrown out, so there’s an element of risk to the hitter, too. Suppose, for example, a pitch bounces in the dirt on a 2-0 count, and gets a bit away from the catcher. Does the hitter risk losing a 3-0 count for possibly being thrown out at first?

I’m definitely interested in seeing how this works in practice.

Michael Hill, MLB’s Senior Vice President for On-Field Operations, said in a statement: “Given the positive results of recent years, we are continuing to prioritize the kinds of experimental rules that many baseball fans routinely discuss and want to learn more about. Testing in the Atlantic League and throughout the Minors will provide us with more valuable feedback and data that can be taken into consideration.”

Rick White, President of the Atlantic League, said in a statement: “We continue to be excited about ALPB’s role helping Major League Baseball determine the future of the game. We are proud many of the tests pioneered in the Atlantic League are reaching a broader audience throughout all levels of professional baseball.”

Poll

The double hook DH rule as proposed here...

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Love it!
    (58 votes)
  • 29%
    Hate it!
    (49 votes)
  • 35%
    Don’t care either way
    (59 votes)
166 votes total Vote Now

Poll

The "dropped pitch rule" as proposed here...

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Love it!
    (59 votes)
  • 47%
    Hate it!
    (83 votes)
  • 18%
    Don’t care either way
    (33 votes)
175 votes total Vote Now