(Friday, November 18, 2022: Scottsdale AZ) – The Frontier League announced on Friday they will be adding a Pitch Clock in all ballparks for the 2023 season. The clock, which will limit the time pitchers and hitters take between pitches, is designed to increase the action and reduce the down time in Frontier League games.
The new rules will require pitchers to wait no longer than 14 seconds between pitches when there are no runners on base. If there are runners on base, they will have 18 seconds to deliver the ball to home plate. Batters must be in the box and ready to hit at the 9 second mark. Violation of these time parameters can result in a called strike or ball depending on the offender. The rule changes also include limits on the number of disengagements (pick-off attempts, stepping off the pitching rubber, etc.) a pitcher can make per at-bat. Once a runner is on base, the pitcher is allowed two disengagements. If the pitcher makes a third pick-off attempt, for example, and does not pick-off the runner, a balk will be called, and the baserunner(s) will advance one base.
“The League Directors are committed to offering the best possible entertainment to Frontier League fans, and we believe the addition of a pitch clock will help achieve this goal”, stated Frontier League President Eric Krupa. “These two changes will increase the pace of Frontier League games and provide our fans a more enjoyable experience when they come out to our ballparks or watch our games on FloSports.”
There will be a grace period to start the Frontier League season, with warnings issued but no penalties enforced. The automatic ball, strike, or balk will be fully enforced beginning with games on Tuesday, May 30.
“I am excited to see the use of the pitch clock in our league,” commented Schaumburg field manager and former Frontier League pitcher Jamie Bennett.
“Deep down I am a baseball traditionalist, but this is one of those things that I believe will have a positive impact on our league and the fan experience. It will keep the game moving and prevent unnecessary delays without really much of a rule change.”
Over the years, the Frontier League has adopted other rules that mirror what MLB has implemented in affiliated baseball to improve the pace of games. Previous changes included the adoption of rules to require a batter to keep one foot in the batter’s box and limits on the number of mound visits each team was allowed during games.
The Frontier League will kick off the 2023 season on Thursday May 11th. The League is the largest and longest tenured MLB Partner League, featuring 16 teams stretching from St. Louis to Quebec City, Canada.