Major League Baseball announced it is experimenting with rule changes in the minor leagues, to see if they might possibly make improvements to the big-league game.
Possibly the biggest experiment is how to tackle the shift. It turns out that players cannot simply hit it the other way. Defensive shifts have squeezed so much offense out of the game.
Starting this season in every Double-A game, all infielders have to stand in the infield dirt for each pitch. No more shortstop playing short right field. You can still have all four infielders on the same side of infield dirt, but at least they have to be actual infielders, not like rovers in softball. They are possibly going to tweak it again in the second half by mandating infielders have to stay on their side of the bag. In other words, only two infielders can position themselves on the left side of second, and two on the right side.
You know, like baseball.
This is an experiment a hitter like Joey Gallo can’t wait to see actually make its way to the major leagues. Left-handed hitters have had the offense choked out of their games. That has led to the launch angle craze and home run or bust attitude. After all, the one place infielders can’t play is on the other side of the fence.
Hopefully, the results of curtailing infield shifts will quickly yield the desired results. The return of baserunners.