Major League Baseball has always used the minor leagues as a testing ground for experimental playing rules. On March 11, the MLB announced a new set of rules in which they will implement various levels of the minors for the upcoming 2021 season.
The MLB has announced that they will closely monitor and analyze much of the impact for each rule change throughout the 2021 season. It will also be reported by all clubs on their effects and for more further analysis.
All bases for Triple-A will be 18-inch squares instead of 15-inch squares because the MLB wants to reduce player injuries and collisions.
The MLB has also put out that the shorter distances between all the bases will be created to increase the size which will have a modest impact on the success rate on stolen base attempts.
Another new rule is the High-A ‘Step Off,’ which means pitchers can disengage the rubber before throwing it to any base. It will be a penalty if the pitcher fails to comply.
During the independent Atlantic League in 2019, they have seen an increase of stolen base attempts and with this new rule that the MLB adopted, made a lot of improvements and became a success.
In the Low-A Leagues, the pitchers are going to have two “step offs” or pickoff attempts. If a pitcher attempts to throw it to third and the runner returns safely to the base, it will end being a ruled balk.
As for the Low-A Southeast League, which is known as the Florida State League, will be using an automated strike zone by using the Hawk-Eye technology. This new technology is now being used for Statcast data for only big league parks.
If these new rules are going to help improve the game of baseball, then they should give it a try. The MLB just wants to keep the players safe from injuries or collisions.