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MLB Roundup 3/9: MLB to test new rules in Atlantic League

Most of them are at least worth trying, but not all.

MLB: 2019 Spring Training Media Days Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

MLB announces rule changes to be tested at Atlantic League

A couple of weeks ago we learned that MLB may be testing some radical new rule proposals at the Atlantic League, an Independent League. On Friday, the league officially announced the plan and what rules they’d be testing. Among them are: Moving the mound back two feet, increasing base size by three square inches, banning shifts, radar-enabled strike zones, three-batter minimums for pitchers and a ban on mound visits except to remove a pitcher or for injury issues. Those are...pretty drastic!

As I said the last time we talked about this, it’s hard not to sympathize for players in the Atlantic League. These are guys who are trying desperately to get into affiliated ball, and now they have to play some modified version of baseball they’ve never played. At the same time, MLB has to test these rules somewhere and Indy ball seems like the best place to do it. It’s a tough situation without an easy answer. For the most part, I think these changes are fine except for moving the mound back two feet. That is so excessive. Two inches could be something to tinker with. Two feet is going to drastically change in extreme ways and also be a real injury concern for pitchers who have never thrown consistently from that distance.