MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - With the start of the 2018 Montgomery Biscuits baseball season, there are some new rule changes throughout Minor League Baseball that fans need to be aware of. These are trickling down from the majors in an effort to speed games up.
One area with major changes is extra innings.
- All levels of Minor League Baseball will begin with a runner on second base in extras. The last batter of the previous inning will be the runner unless substituted for a pinch runner.
Biscuits Manager Brady Williams said it changes the way the team, or any team for that matter, will approach extras from here on out.
"There's a lot of decision making in that scenario, whether it's opposition or you're on offense. Whether you want to walk a guy or bunt. Is one run going to be enough? You'll have to kind of figure the game plan before it happens,"
Another area of change is the pitcher's mound visits.
- This will vary based on classification level. For Double-A clubs, they will be allowed eight visits per team.
Lastly, there will now be a 15-second pitch clock.
- At both the Triple-A and Double-A levels, pitchers will be allotted 15 seconds to start their wind-up OR the motion to get to the set position. That has to comply with the new 15-second rule with no runners on base.
- IF there is a runner on base, the pitch timer moves to 20 seconds.
Pitcher J.D. Martin said "It doesn't bother me. I've always worked really fast so I'm not really going to pay attention to that but the extra innings thing is weird,"
A lot of the guys in the Biscuits clubhouse agreed it's going to take some getting used to. Manager Brady Williams said he hopes there won't be too many extra innings no matter what throughout the season.
From April 5 through 19 (the first 15 days of the season) will be treated as a grace period. Only warnings will be given out for the infractions given out. On April 20, the new rules will be enforced as written.
Opening Day for the Biscuits is April 5th against the Biloxi Shuckers.