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Leagues and Governing Bodies

MLB, Manfred seeing positive results from MiLB rule-change experiments

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred may have "plenty to bring to the negotiating table in the coming months" as he tries to implement rule changes for the next CBA, as some of those trialed in the minor leagues are "having a positive effect" on gameplay this season, according to David Lennon of NEWSDAY. Of all the new rules being tested in MiLB this season, the "one that MLB has been advocating the longest -- with the union persistently pushing back on -- has been the pitch clock." This year, the switch "has been dramatic, trimmed all the way down to 15 seconds at Low-A West (California), and the results no doubt have thrilled everyone in the commissioner’s office." Since the implementation in early June, the average nine-inning game has been "sliced by 20 minutes, from 3:01 to 2:41." At the MLB level through Friday, the average nine-inning game was "lasting 3:09, the longest in history and nine minutes more than only three years ago." Even "more promising from Manfred’s perspective," runs per game for each team at Low-A West have "increased from 5.4 to 6.0 during that period." Additionally, the pickoff limitation has "boosted stolen-base attempts per game from 2.38 to 3.12" across the Low-A leagues overall. The success rate has "jumped from 69.2% to 77.8%." Another pitching change, moving back the rubber by one foot, as MLB recently did with the independent Atlantic League, has "yet to yield meaningful data" (NEWSDAY, 9/5).

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