Opening Day for what, you ask? Why the Arizona Fall League, of course! Nice article today on MLB.COM.
Unfortunately Phils don’t have anyone in the MLB’s top 100 prospects going. Might have been Aaron Nola, but he’s thrown too many pitches this year already. But Cap’n Morgan will be there, needing more work after rehabbing.
The AFL is quickly developing a reputation for MLB trying out innovations to the game, like instant replay which debuted in the AFL last year. So the AFL is now not only a lab for player development, but for rules development as well. From the article above, looking forward to seeing how the following experiments pan out this fall regarding the pace of play:
• A hitter must keep one foot inside the batter’s box throughout his plate appearance, unless one of a few exceptions, such as a foul ball, occurs.
• Intentional walks will be called for by the manager and the batter will automatically take first base.
• There will be a maximum break of two minutes, five seconds between innings, with hitters required to be in the batter’s box by the one-minute, 45-second mark. If either team doesn’t comply, a ball or strike will be assessed accordingly.
• There will be a maximum of two minutes, 30 seconds allowed for pitching changes, including those that occur during an inning break. A ball will be called if a team takes too long.
• Each team will be permitted three “timeout” conferences covering any meeting involving pitchers and catchers, managers, coaches and batters. Timeouts during pitching changes and those that result from an injury or other emergency will not be counted toward the limit. Additionally, at Salt River home games, a 20-second pitch clock will be used. Those games will also include instant replay, as MLB continues to study potential modifications to the review system.