There are some notable items this weekend for minor league baseball, and the Reds in general. Let’s start off with what’s happening in Triple-A and the “playoffs” and the experiment Major League Baseball is conducting.
After abruptly ending the ability for pitchers to use any sort of “sticky stuff” on the baseball besides rosin mid-season, Major League Baseball is now experimenting with a “pre-tacked” baseball in the final two weeks in Triple-A. As Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser’s piece notes, these baseballs will not be in play for every team for every game. Some teams may not even get a chance to use them, but most will for at least one game.
It’s not just Triple-A where the experimentation is going to be, though. The Arizona Fall League will see some continuation of rule changes this season, too. Perhaps the biggest rule will be the limiting of shifting. Infielders must remain on the dirt and two infielders must be on each side of the second base bag. This rule was also used in Double-A in the second half of the season.
There will also be a 15-second pitch clock in play. This rule was used in the Low-A West this year and saw a reduction in time it took to play a game by 21 minutes. Larger bases, 18-inches instead of the traditional 15-inches, will also be in play. These were used this season in Triple-A. The idea behind this move was to decrease collisions at the bases between fielders and runners. But it also increased, slightly, the rate at which bases were stolen. Another rule that should help stolen bases is the league will limit pickoff attempts to two per plate appearance. One stadium in the league will also implement the automated balls and strikes system (Salt River).
The Arizona Fall League begins in three weeks. The first game will be October 13th and will run through November 20th. On November 13th the league will have their annual Fall Stars game. The Fall Stars game and the championship game will both be on MLB Network.
Rosters have yet to be announced for any of the teams. The Cincinnati Reds will be a part of the Surprise Saguaros this year. There was no AFL in 2020, but in 2019 the Reds were a part of the team in Glendale. The Reds were well represented by future big leaguers Jose Barrero, Stuart Fairchild, Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson, and Dauri Moreta.
Kyle Boddy on Fangraphs Audio
Kyle Boddy, the now former Director of Pitching for the Cincinnati Reds joined David Laurila on the Fangraphs Audio podcast this week. He spoke a little bit about his leaving the organization, but spent a lot of time talking about the work that he did while he was in the organization, some of the pitchers – both the big name guys as well as some that are probably under the radar for many who don’t read stuff here – and what he may be moving towards now that he’s not in the Reds organization.