The 2019 season brought a flurry of rule changes to both Major League Baseball and the Atlantic League. However, the most significant ones that was implemented in the latter — primarily for experimenting purposes that could have serious implications down the road.
Entering the year, MLB announced a partnership with the Atlantic League to test new rules and equipment changes. Among the most notable alterations included the addition of robot umpires, the banning of shifts and a three-batter minimum for relief pitchers.
Even more tweaks were announced for the start of the second half of the regular season. Added to the league was the possibility to steal first base, new requirements for picking off a baserunner and a shortened period in between inning and pitching changes.
Both players and fans alike have voiced strong opinions on these rule changes and whether they should eventually be installed in MLB.
Among those to offer their take on the matter was Los Angeles Dodgers utility player Chris Taylor, who, during an appearance on “Lunchtime With Roggin and Rodney,” voiced his disagreement with stealing first base:
“That is so absurd. I thought that was hilarious when I saw that. That’s something out of a whiffle ball game. I don’t ever see that coming to Major League Baseball.”
Taylor was less critical of the automated zones being tested in the Atlantic League, noting the concept is far from perfected. However, he also opined that such a change wouldn’t have the support from the bulk of MLB players:
“I think they have some work to do with that. Even the automated zones, I’m not sure the consistency is really there with the technology yet. I’ll just leave it at that. I would say the majority of players are not for the automated zone and would rather keep it the way it is.”
While most of these playing rules will likely never find their way to MLB, the overwhelming majority have voiced their displeasure with the experimenting that is taking place in ALPB.
Like Taylor, Rich Hill has been an outspoken critic of such changes in the past and opposes any drastic alterations to the way baseball is played.