Among the four rules the Atlantic League added for the second half of the season was the ability to steal first base. It happened for the first time on Saturday.
Baseball will never be the same.
MLB partnered with the independent Atlantic League this season to test out some new experimental rules, including banning the shift, using radar tracking to help call balls and strikes and moving the mound back.
The "robot umpires" made their debut at the Atlantic League All-Star Game on Wednesday and shortly after, the league announced four new rules including the ability for batters to steal first base on any pitch the catcher doesn't catch. It was an expansion of the dropped third strike rule which allows batters to reach first when a called third strike is dropped behind the plate.
Atlantic League announce 4 new rules:— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 11, 2019
Pitcher required to step off the rubber in order to attempt a pickoff.
1 foul bunt is permitted with 2 strikes before strikeout is called.
Check swing rule made more batter friendly.
Batters may steal 1st on any pitch not caught by catcher.
On Saturday, Tony Thomas of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs got a chance to try out the new steal rule and became the first player in baseball history to steal first base in such a manner.
So when the catcher of the Lancaster Barnstormers had the ball get by him for what would have normally been a routine passed ball in the middle of the count, Thomas sprinted to first and reached base in the most nonconventional way ever after taking a second to recognize just what was happening.
So when will this rule be brought over to MLB and how exactly does it factor into on-base percentage?