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Major League Baseball has announced that the Atlantic League will be testing a new DH rule along with baseball’s first attempt at moving the mound back. Moving the mound back may potentially work, but there’s still no telling what the results will be.
And most intriguing? A team will lose their DH when the starting pitcher is pulled, which should encourage a team to let starters, ya know, be starters (that throw multiple innings.)
The Atlantic League and MLB announced that the pitching rubber will be moved back a foot this year during their season while also implementing a “double-hook’ rule in which a team will lose its DH for the remainder of the game once the starting pitcher comes out of the game.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) April 14, 2021
MLB rules consultant Theo Epstein had this to say about the rules:
“Fans, players, and many others in the baseball community have expressed an interest in seeing more regular action on the field,” he said to MLB.com.
“Therefore, it’s important that we use the 2021 season to explore various ways to create more frequent contact – and the increased action and athleticism on display that will follow.”
Why not let the players adapt?
The one issue I see here is that we aren’t asking players to make adjustments to further the game’s “entertainment” value. But I do think it’s important to mention that we’re asking players to do something MLB players have never done: Hit for more contact against velocity.
Stop trying to hit home runs and hit the ball the other way. The thing is, players past and present have always struggled to put the ball in play against velocity. It’s not that players suddenly became bad hitters, it’s that more pitchers are pitching with velocity.
The average MLB fastball is up to 93.6 compared to 91.6 back in 2008. So moving the mound back should, in theory, help hitters make better decisions with the new standard of 100-mile-an-hour fastballs. Of course pitchers may take a major step back here, but it’s best to test this change in the Atlantic League before they make anything official in the big leagues.