A pitch clock is used in college baseball and Minor League Baseball to limit the amount of time a pitcher uses before he throws the ball to the hitter. This is one measure that has been introduced to improve the pace of play.
In college baseball, the Southeastern Conference experimented with using pitch clocks in 2010. Pitchers were given twenty seconds to throw the pitch, or a ball would be added to the count. Similarly, a batter stepping out of the batter's box with less than five seconds on the clock will be assessed an additional strike. After the 2010 season, the National Collegiate Athletic Association sought to make the pitch clocks mandatory, and instituted it for the 2011 college baseball season, but only for when there are no runners on base.
Pitch clocks made their professional debut in the Arizona Fall League in 2014. On January 15, 2015, Major League Baseball (MLB) announced it would institute a 20-second pitch clock in Minor League Baseball for Double-A and Triple-A teams during the 2015 season. Pitchers were given twenty seconds to throw the pitch, with the punishment of a ball awarded to the batter if not followed. Along with other rule changes addressing the pace of play, the clocks contributed to a 12-minute reduction in game times at those levels between the 2014 and 2015 seasons, compared to the leagues that did not use the clock, which saw game times change from an increase of three minutes per game to a decrease in five minutes per game. Game times increased in 2016 and 2017, but were still faster than games in 2014.
MLB and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) discussed the possibility of introducing the pitch clock at the major league level for the 2018 season. MLB opted against imposing it unilaterally, over the opposition of the MLBPA.
The independent Atlantic League uses a 12-second pitch clock.
- "Pitch clock for baseball? Experiment begins in SEC". USATODAY.COM. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
- "NCAA ready to make pitch clock mandatory". Yahoo Sports. July 24, 2010. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
- "NCAA rules for college baseball are designed to speed up the game". NOLA.com. March 7, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
- "Pitch clock for Double-A, Triple-A use". ESPN. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
- "Minor Leagues announce pace-of-game rules - MiLB.com News - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
- "Minor League Baseball Toolshed: Pitch clocks do their job in debut season - MiLB.com News - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
- Castrovince, Anthony (January 20, 2016). "Opinions differ on MLB pitch clock". MLB.com. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
- USA TODAY Sports (February 19, 2018). "MLB pace of play: No pitch clock in 2018, but mound visits limited". Usatoday.com. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
- Beach, Jerry (July 13, 2018). "For the Atlantic League, the All-Star Game is All About Its Amazing Balancing Act". Forbes. Retrieved September 1, 2018.