ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — If you’ve come out to an Altoona Curve game this year you might have noticed some new rule changes that have been implemented into Double A. One that has made a positive impact is larger bases. The size of the bases increased from 15 inches to 18 inches.

“We’re trying to promote some more offense this year so with the bigger bases,” said Blake Butler, an assistant coach with the Curve. “The close hits, the runner has a little bit of an advantage to reach out and grab a base, and also getting down the line you have a couple inches that are shorter to get to and then also considering player safety with first baseman having a little bit more space to be able to stretch out.”

Another new look, which also has been a controversial topic is the shift. In Double A the shift has been banned this season and teams can only have two infielders on each side of the diamond.

“It’s definitely opened up some space on this side of the infield and on the other side with a big right handed hitter, but you’re seeing a few more balls squeak through the infield,” Butler said. “You’re kind of rewarding a hard hit ground ball a little bit more often instead of having three guys over here, you can only have two so we’ve seen a tick up in the offense.”

One change that has made an immediate impact is the pitch clock. Pitchers now have only 19 seconds in between pitches to get the next one across the plate.

“It’s definitely impacted the pitchers you know some of them have longer in between pitch routines,” said Butler. “They may look out to the scoreboard or look out to the foul pole, take a deep breath. There’s not really a ton of space for that. You kind of gotta get the ball back on the mound and get the sign and get back into it and compete. So some guys have been having a quicker turnaround.”

With the pitch clock, games have been shortened by an average of 20 minutes. These new rules are currently being test driven in Minor League Baseball with the idea to implement them into Major League Baseball in 2023.