LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- The only thing that does not seem to change in the off season for the Louisville Bats is the expression on Buddy Bat's face. He's consistent. However, a new season in minor league baseball always brings change.

The 2018 minor league baseball season not only welcomes new prospects, but triple-A players must adapt to new rules:

-    The pitch clock will go down from 20 seconds to 15 seconds when no runners are on base.

-    Players and coaches can only make a total of 6 visits to the mound a game.

-    And when a game goes into extra innings, a runner will be placed on 2nd base to start the inning.

"The game times just drift on, way beyond three hours. You are going to lose a generation of young fans if you are not careful because young people today want everything so fast, it's a microwave society, and baseball has to take a hard look at itself which it has been doing and find ways to seed the game up," said Louisville Bats Senior Vice President Greg Galiette. 

Galiette believes players and fans will quickly adapt to the new changes just like fans will adapt to the new players on the field. He says fans should be very excited about one prospect in particular.

"The number one prospect in the Reds organization, one of the top 10 prospects in MLB and the best hitter to come through the organization since Votto, his name is Nick Sinzel," said Galiette. "He will start the season with us. But I know the Reds will be chomping at the bit to get him because everyplace he's been with the Reds, he's hit over 300 and they expect him to do the same thing here."

Galiette also says the Bats will have an All-star cast of coaches including a new team manager, Pat Kelly.

"We are excited to have Pat here, he's a veteran of this league and knows his way around the league. He's won every place he has been," says Galiette, "We are going to have Leon Bull Durham as our hitting coach. Leon is a former star for the Cubs. Dick Scofield played 15 years as a major league infielder he'll be our bench coach."

With promising prospects and a strong coaching staff, the Bats are hoping to improve on a 56 and 86 record last year.

Mark your calendars; the Louisville Bats will host the Toledo Mud Hens on April 6th. The first pitch should fly at 7 p.m.

"Right off the bat coming out of opening weekend we are going to have a welcome back weekend that Friday, Saturday and Sunday April 6-8. $5 field reserve tickets all weekend long. It's kind of our way of saying thanks to face and welcome back to baseball," added Galiette.

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