MLB announced 3 major rule changes for the 2023 season, per Mark Feinsand. First off, they will implement a pitch clock. They will also utilize a defensive shift restriction and bring in bigger bases. The rules are expected to assist in pace of play, player health, and marketability.
The pitch clock, or pitch timer, is MLB’s main strategy for helping with pace of play. Each pitcher will have 15 seconds to begin their motion with no runners on base. When runners are on base, they will have 20 seconds to begin their motion.
The important aspect of this is the beginning their motion element. In the NBA, a player must have the ball leave his hands prior to the clock expiring. However, this new MLB pitch clock rule is different. As long as a pitcher begins their motion prior to the timer running out, they will not be penalized.
Pitchers can now only step off the rubber twice per plate appearance. Additionally, hitters can only call time once per plate appearance.
The pitch timer reportedly reduced the average time of games during testing in the minor leagues by 26 minutes.
Defensive shift restrictions
The shift has finally been banned. Some people will love that news, others will hate it. Almost every pull-heavy left-handed power hitter in MLB is thanking God for this news.
MLB is planning to implement the rule by forcing players to remain in certain areas of the infield. Two infielders must be positioned on each side of second base. Each infielder needs to have their feet within the outer boundary of the infield with the pitcher on the pitching rubber.
The days of third baseman moving over to shallow right field are gone. This rule is expected to allow batters more opportunities to put the ball in play, while infielders will have further opportunities to “showcase their athleticism.”
Bigger bases are being implemented to protect the players. First, second, and third base will all be increased from “15” square to 18″ square.”
This rule also will shorten the distance between base paths which could lead to more stolen base attempts. MLB wants to see more stolen bases attempts in order to add more action to the game.
MLB new rules conclusion
MLB ultimately voted to add these new rules. The changes will be debated greatly through next year. But MLB is attempting to increase pace of play while keeping their players healthy.
These new rules will likely benefit the game moving forward.