Major League Baseball struck a new agreement to test experimental rules and equipment in the independent Atlantic League, the two leagues announced.
The agreement runs for three years. MLB will work with the Atlantic League to modify the rules and equipment used throughout each year of the agreement.
The experimental new features will be implemented during the Atlantic League’s championship season. The two leagues will announce details of the changes for this season in the coming weeks.
As part of the deal, MLB will install its radar technology in all Atlantic League ballparks and provide the league with “statistical services.”
MLB, meanwhile, gets to implement changes to Atlantic League playing rules and introduce new game equipment in order to test them out for possible future adoption in the Majors. It will be similar to how the Arizona Fall League has been used as a testing ground for new rules in recent years.
The Atlantic League boasts over 900 players sent to MLB organizations throughout its existence. That list includes current Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Rich Hill, who briefly pitched for the Long Island Ducks in 2015.
The announcement comes on the heels of reports that MLB has offered to postpone the introduction of a pitch clock until after 2021. Several Major League players have objected using a pitch clock, including Hill and teammate Clayton Kershaw.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, however, believes players will eventually get used to it.
MLB has implemented the use of a pitch clock throughout all Spring Training 2019 games.