Hello baseball fans! I hope everyone is getting through this winter alright. For me, April 5th can't come soon enough! Of course, that is Opening Night when the Yard Goats host the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Dunkin' Donuts Park.
Dunkin' Donuts Park Gets Great Reviews by Rockies Brass
It has been a real busy winter or off season as some like to call it. We have had several events inside the beautiful YG Club presented by Frontier including the first ever Hot Stove Dinner. Rockies Senior VP & GM Jeff Bridich headlined the event, and I had the chance to chat with Senior Director of Player Development Zach Wilson. Zach spoke highly of the new Yard Goats home, and is thrilled his minor league players get to go to work every day in an amazing ballpark. "From a development side it is important to have a facility that has a big league feel to it, and both from a playing perspective and from a fans perspective you get both of those here at Dunkin' Donuts Park," Wilson said. "New Yard Goats manager Warren Schaeffer walked into the clubhouse and was blown away. The clubhouse here makes you scratch your head because it is so beautiful, and then you step out into the dugout and out onto the field and you have that feel of being under the lights with the second deck and you have the energy of the fans who are right on top of you. It just gives it an environment that you don't get in many other places in Minor League Baseball."
With Spring Training underway, we can all start thinking about who is going to break camp with the big club and who will begin the season with the Yard Goats. Many familiar faces have received invites to Major League camp in Scottsdale, Arizona. 2017 Yard Goats RHP Yency Almonte , LHP Sam Howard and 1B Ryan McMahon were added to the 40-man MLB roster and will join minor league invites RHP Shane Broyles , RHP Ryan Castellani , RHP James Farris , C Dom Nunez , C Jan Vazquez , INF Brian Mundell and INF Brendan Rodgers . It will definitely be a Yard Goats reunion at Salt River Fields as they join former Hartford stars LHP Tyler Anderson , LHP Kyle Freeland , RHP Rayan Gonzalez , RHP Zach Jemiola , RHP German Marquez , RHP Antonio Senzatala, INF Pat Valaika , OF David Dahl , and OF Raimel Tapia . Old friends RHP Carlos Estevez , RHP Jeff Hoffman , C Tom Murphy , OF Jordan Patterson , SS Trevor Story , OF Noel Cuevas and OF Mike Tauchman are also in Rockies MLB camp.
Yard Goats Fans may see some of Rockies Top Prospects in Hartford in 2018
"I think this year in Hartford you are going to see a lot of our top prospects," Zach Wilson said. "Offensively this team has a chance to have some really good position players, and many of them will be the next wave that you are going to see with the Colorado Rockies. The same holds true for the pitching staff. I think you will see some guys that were here last year, mixed in with some guys that will be promoted from where they were last year."
MLB Rule Changes for 2018
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced new pace of play rules for the 2018 season. The most significant rule change involves mound visits by the manager, coach or player which will be limited to six per club. Below is the official rule by MLB.
Mound visits: Mound visits will be limited to six per team per nine innings. Teams will receive an additional visit for every extra inning played. Any manager, coach or player visit to the mound will count as a mound visit. Visits to the mound to clean cleats in rainy weather, to check on an injury or potential injury or after the announcement of an offensive substitution are excepted. Also, normal communication between player and pitcher that do not require either to vacate their position on the field do not count as a visit. If a team is out of visits, the umpire will have discretion to grant a visit at the catcher's request if he believes there has been a cross-up between the pitcher and catcher.
Although MLB decided to hold off on the pitch clock for the batter and pitcher like we have in the Eastern League, MLB did make a change for its clock between innings. With 25 seconds remaining on the clock, the umpire will now signal for the final warmup pitch and the pitcher must throw it before the clock hits 20. This means that the pitcher in no longer guaranteed eight warmup pitches (but he can take as many as he wants within the time frame). At the 20 second mark the batter will be announced and the pitcher must begin his windup to throw the first pitch of the inning within the five seconds before the clock hits zero. The timer will start after the last out of the inning with the exception being if the pitcher is at bat or on deck when the inning ends. The timing clock will also apply to during a mid-inning pitching change and will begin as soon as the reliever crosses the warning track.
As many of you know, there is no video replay in the minor leagues. However, MLB did make a change to try and speed up instant replay. See below
Instant replay: All club video review rooms will now receive direct slow-motion camera angles in order to speed up challenges and the resulting review. New phone lines will connect the rooms to the dugout and will be monitored to prevent their use for sign stealing.
Thanks for reading and look forward to seeing everyone real soon. Before we know it we will all be watching baseball at Dunkin' Donuts Park!
The Voice of the Yard Goats
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.