Can MLB’s New Rules Changes Take Effect in High School Sports?


Nonnewaug pitcher Lucas Savarese pitches against New Fairfield earlier this month. (Noreen Chung)

Richie Paolino, Sports Reporter

WOODBURY — Next season, high school basketball will see a change in Connecticut with a 35-second shot clock implemented into varsity games. Can baseball see a similar change with the pitch clock?

The pitch clock is among many other rules added into the MLB in recent years, and this new rule is also the point of discussion in the media. 

The purpose of the pitch clock in the MLB was to get games moving more quickly, as there was too much dead time between pitches. This may be a good addition for the MLB, but not high school.

“I don’t think it would hold any value at the high school level,” said NHS junior baseball player Mason Pieger. “Games are seven innings long anyways and I feel the purpose of the pitch clock is to speed games up, so I don’t see the benefit from adding it.”

While the pitch clock may accelerate games, it could hurt the developmental progress of high school players.

A pitch clock being used at Werner Park (Nebraska) in 2015. A pitch clock has been commonplace at the minor league level for many years. (Wikimedia)

“I think baseball at the high school level should be for developing players,” said Brayden Whipple, a freshman baseball player. “If the purpose was for players to get used to it at higher levels, they can get used to it during college.”

Not only does adding the pitch clock provide little value at the high school level, it can even have a negative impact on players. 

“The change of using a pitch timer could definitely change the game and have a negative impact on the performance of both batters and pitchers,” said Nonnewaug literacy teacher Julie Heller, an avid baseball fan. “It creates another layer of pressure and could force throwing the pitch to get it in under the time limit, even if the pitcher isn’t ready.”

If high schools were to add the pick clocks, a problem that could be at hand is the price to add equipment to every school’s field.

“The infrastructure to just add the shot clock in the gymnasium was a $7,000 expense,” said Nonnewaug athletic director Declan Curtin. “It was required by the CIAC, who added the rule for the 2023-24 season. Every school had to be ready for that.”

While states like Arizona have added the pitch clock for high school games, it’s still far away from it coming to Connecticut.

“I haven’t heard any discussion about adding the pitch clock for baseball,” said Curtin. “We know MLB is going with it and there have been lessons learned and information gained from the first couple months. The MLB is manipulating it, but I don’t see it coming to high schools.”

The pitch clock has been productive in the MLB, though Curtin believes it shouldn’t be added to high school.  

“I don’t think it should be added,” said Curtin. “Once things start changing at the professional levels they do start to trickle their way down to others levels, but conversations haven’t even started about it.”