The pitch clock experiment was used this past fall, in the Arizona Fall League, where many players and coaches were split in their opinions of whether it was a good thing or bad thing.
To catch you up with the rule in a brief manner, pitchers now have 20 seconds to come set on the rubber upon receiving the baseball from the catcher. The penalty for exceeding the rule is a ball added to batter's count. Batter's will also be required to keep one foot in the batter's box at all times. This may also bring in a future rule where pitches between innings as "warmup pitches" may be cut short.
In the latter part of this article, multiple Los Angeles Angels prospects from different affiliates and positions on the field give their opinion on the "Pitch Clock Rule" and whether they love it, hate it, or have no opinion on the manner.
Under Rule 8.04, of the original MLB Rule Book, umpires are to give warnings after 12 seconds to pitchers, but this has not been harshly enforced over the years.
Many have pondered rushing pitchers, taking umpire judgement away, and forcing catchers and pitchers to make quick decisions between pitches.
In the Arizona Fall League this past season, games where the pitch clock was enforced had games cut cut 10 minutes shorter on average. Clocks were set roughly 20-30 feet away from the left-side of the batters box in clear site for the pitchers, as well as on scoreboards where umpires could see as well.
Here is what Angels prospects said, in their opinions of the new "Pitch Clock Rule."
(Quote, Prospect's Name, Position, Affiliate from 2014 season)
"I had one in college, so I'm not really worried about it." - Austin Young, Right-Handed Pitcher, Rookie AZL
"I am not the biggest fan of the pitch clock. Every pitcher has their own pace and not all are the same. In my opinion, it sucks. Keep the clocks for the other sports." - Austin Robichaux, Right-Handed Pitcher, Rookie Orem
"I personally don't agree with it. The tempo and pace of an at bat is part of the game for all pitchers. It isn't always the pitcher that slows the tempo of the game down. The mound visits from the catchers, and also the batter taking his time has a lot to do with it. I understand that something needs to be done about it, but giving the pitcher a time limit isn't it. What would Babe Ruth have said about a pitch clock? He would of told you to shove it, I'll take my time. Just don't want technology taking from the game." - Tyler Watson, Left-Handed Pitcher, Rookie Orem / Rookie AZL
"Personally I try and pitch with a fast pace and I feel it gives me an advantage by firing a pitch before a batter gets a chance to gather his thoughts. Coming from college I am use to a pitch clock from playing SEC teams." - Eric Alonzo, Right-Handed Pitcher, Rookie AZL
"I personally haven't tried it like others have in the Arizona Fall League. I personally don't like it. I don't think players should be rushed. The game doesn't have a clock for a reason. We have innings. When a hitter steps in on his own and the pitcher is set it shouldn't matter. I don't see the reason why it needs to be timed in my opinion. Fans come to see us play, no matter how long the game lasts. I feel like players shouldn't be rushed, especially when it's something that could possibly impact their career and stats." - Kyle McGowin, Right-Handed Pitcher, High-A Inland Empire / Double-A Arkansas
"I love it. TEMPO! (Time Efficiency Makes Pitchers Offensive) I don't think 20 seconds will make a big difference at first but there is absolutely no reason a pitcher should need any longer then 20 seconds to get the ball back, get the sign, take a deep breath and attack! It's an attempt to speed up the game which will hopefully bring forth more baseball fans. Very interested to see how strictly it will be enforced, especially in a playoff situation." - Jonathan Van Eaton, Right-Handed Pitcher, (Did Not Pitch in 2014)
"Personally, I have no issue with the new 20 second pitch clock. It won't affect my approach or game plan when I'm in the game because I like to work fast and put the hitters on their heels. When I find a groove I try to push the pace of the game faster and faster. So, the 20 second clock won't have any effect on my style of pitching. Generally speaking, I think most pitchers stay within the 20 second frame anyways but I know there will be times when it will help eliminate wasted time. I think it will be good for baseball in that it promoted a crisp, clean game and keeps all the players on the ready." - Michael Smith, Right-Handed Pitcher, Low-A Burlington / High-A Inland Empire
"Well, it's definitely an interesting idea. I can really see both sides of the argument. On one hand speeding up the game is necessary at times. Like when you have a pitcher taking his time with nobody on or a hitter not getting in the box. But on the other hand time is essential in holding runners. I haven't seen it in action yet, but I'm a quick worker so it shouldn't affect me much. If anything it will help since some games I'd have my sign and be ready, while the ump would tell me to wait since the batter wasn't in the box yet, trying to mess with my rhythm. So I guess I'd be more for it, but can see instances where it may be a hinderance on the game of baseball also." - Grant Gordon, Right-Handed Pitcher, Low-A Burlington / High-A Inland Empire
"I'm glad they are installing it. I would like the time between pitches to speed up. From pitchers walking around the mound and batters stepping out of the box every pitch. Not that the game needs to speed up but just that there is a lot of wasted time and I think this clock idea might help." - Dan Tobik, Right-Handed Pitcher, High-A Inland Empire
"Initially, the pitch clock sounded like a good idea to me in order to speed up games. But the more I observed the other rules that would come along with the clock, I'm not sure how it will affect the game. I'm all for speeding up games, but one foot in the box at all times makes me cringe a little. I'm sure no hitter or pitcher would like to be or feel rushed." - Quinten Davis, Outfielder, Rookie Orem / High-A Inland Empire
"I think it really serves no purpose to speeding up the game. There's already a timer that just isn't set yet. At least in college there was. For as long as I've played this game, I have never heard an umpire stop and tell a pitcher he's moving to slow and went past the 20 seconds. It's something I don't see passing in the MLB. Really? You're going to tell Kershaw, Weaver, and Verlander, 'Hey you have 20 seconds?' You're not. Just my opinion really and the same would go for hitters as well." - Justin Anderson, Right-Handed Pitcher, Rookie AZL / Rookie Orem
"I don't think the pitch clock is a big deal but I really won't know until I experience it myself. I think it will speed up the game. But I don't like to feel rushed at the plate either. 20 seconds is a lot of time though, so I don't think it should be too big of a problem. The one thing I think it might help is a struggling pitcher. Pitchers who are struggling tend to try and gather themselves in between every pitch and with a 20 second limit they won't have a lot of time to stress over the previous pitch." - Miguel Hermosillo, Outfielder, Rookie Orem
"Well, it's just another thing for pitchers to worry about. Wierd huh? I like that they are trying to speed the game up, but this isn't basketball or football. Different times to the plate is how pitchers control the running game. For me personally, I don't think it will affect anything because I like to work quickly. But, I could name some pitchers that might feel rushed with it. I don't really have a problem with it, but they've tried to change the game too much in the last couple years." - Ben Carlson, Right-Handed Pitcher, Low-A Burlington
"To be honest I don't really have much of an opinion on it. The only thing I have is there is really no point to it because it doesn't really speed the game up all that much. The pitcher is going to make his pitches and get outs or hitters are going to get their hits. The time just messes with a game that was made slow. You're either going to enjoy the game as it is or not but the time thing maybe subtracting 10 minutes to the game won't make more people watch. So I don't see a need for the pitch clock." - Chad Hinshaw, Outfielder, Low-A Burlington / High-A Inland Empire / Arizona Fall League Mesa
"I see what baseball is trying to do, but it seems like too much. To me it doesn't seem like it will change too much of the game though. As a reliever I try to work as fast as possible anyways. I think starters will have the biggest adjustment to make." - Austin Adams, Right-Handed Pitcher, High-A Inland Empire
"I think that you can't rush the game of baseball. I'm all for a tempo but I don't think the pitch clock should be implemented. I don't wanna think about a clock, I want to run my own tempo. Watching the Arizona Fall League, it didn't seem to effect anyone but I'm still pretty against it. It'd still bug me being there. When holding a runner and seeing the clock and suddenly you have to go too quick, I'm pretty against it." - Jonah Wesely, Left-Handed Pitcher, Rookie Orem
"I think the pitch clock threatens a big part of the game. A lot of being a pitcher has to do with messing with the timing of hitters and if you start restricting a pitcher's ability to do that you can change the game. The penalty for going over the time limit is just as game changing. The difference between a 1-0 count and a 2-0 count is huge. Baseball is more like a game of chess than a race. I think the clock is trying to change baseball into something it's not." - Zach Varela, Right-Handed Pitcher, Rookie Orem
"Personally, I don't like it. I think they are just trying to make the games go by quicker. It seems to me that it would take away from the game. I definitely wouldn't be a fan of it if I pitched." - Mark Shannon, Outfielder, Low-A Burlington / High-A Inland Empire
"Personally, I'm not a huge fan. I feel like it is just an unnecessary rule, just like the one foot in the box at all times for hitters. Think it takes away from what the game of baseball is all about. The ability for pitchers and hitters to be able to find that comfort zone, and be able to disrupt each others, is all part of the game. I agree games do drag on sometimes, but again is saving 10 minutes a game that big of a deal? However, in the end it's still baseball, and it hasn't changed the fact that each team will still have to execute properly to come away with a win... pitch clock or not." - Eric Aguilera, First Baseman, Low-A Burlington / High-A Inland Empire
"I don't think that the new pitch clock rule is that big of a deal. 20 seconds between pitches doesn't sound like a longtime, but in the middle of the game it's more than enough time to get ready. I don't think that it was made to make games shorter by much because you're talking about a few seconds here and there, I think it just brings more tempo to the game. It won't be a problem for me when I thought about it, but for the guys who take victory laps around the mound after each pitcher might be cutting it close." - Ronnie Muck, Right-Handed Pitcher, Rookie Orem / Low-A Burlington
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Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for InsideTheHalos.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.