MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – 14 seconds: that’s not a lot of time. That’s how long Minor League Baseball pitchers now have to get set in between pitches, as part of a few rule changes implemented this season by Major League Baseball.
This rule change has caused guys all over the diamond to make adjustments, not just the guys on the mound.
“First few games you feel like you’re on a time crunch,” Trash Pandas outfielder Preston Palmeiro said.
The days of taking your time in between pitches are over, at least for now at the Minor League Baseball level. This season, players are working with a 14 second clock between pitches and 18 seconds with a runner on base.
“It’s something that they just had to learn on the fly so [pitching coach Michael] Weuertz has done a good job with those guys helping them identify what their process needs to be between pitches and we’ve just kind of adapted as we’ve gone along,” Trash Pandas manager Andy Schatzley said.
For a few of the Trash Pandas pitchers, the clock hasn’t been too much of an adjustment.
“I usually have a pretty good tempo, sometimes when you want to take a breath or slow the game down, the clock can speed you up. You want to hold runners, you want to take your time but with the clock speeding you up, you only have two pickoffs so you find a way to do that at the right time but also execute pitches,” Ky Bush said.
“I didn’t have to change that much because I work pretty quickly, the only thing I’ll say is when we do have a runner on second, we do have to be quicker with signs If you get on a get over ball and then get right back on the mound, it definitely knocks your breath out for sure, especially in heat like this, you have to take as much time as you can because it wears you out,” Coleman Crow added.
But it has made an impact at the plate as batters also have to work at that speed, and have less time to react.
“You don’t have as much time to get in the box, you don’t have as much time to collect your thoughts. Get back in there after a bad swing, a bad at bat,” Trash Pandas outfielder Bryce Teodosio said.
It’s also made the infielders and outfielders stay more locked in, which the Trash Pandas say they have seen the benefit from.
“You look down for one second, you look up and he’s on that pitch clock and he’s rolling so you have to be a little more alert but I think in a way it keeps you a little more locked in all of the time,” Palmeiro said.
“They’re always on their toes, I feel like errors happen when they’re laid back and there’s so much time between pitches so I think the pace of play definitely helps the fielding percentage,” Crow added.
There are still some concerns with continuously going at that pace.
“I feel like there’s going to be more injuries with the pace of play, I don’t think pitches were meant to be thrown that many in that span of time,” Crow said.
But the big thing is Major League Baseball hopes to improve the pace of play, and we’ve already seen shorter Trash Pandas games this season, as they hope to continue to grow the game to fans of all ages.
“We’ve played a couple 2:05 games in Tennessee,” Palmeiro said.
“It keeps the fans more involved, more invested. it’s slightly different but it’s not that much different, it’s still the same game,” Teodosio added.
The Trash Pandas will continue their series with the Mississippi Braves Friday at 6:35 p.m.