MLB Rule Changes in 2023

Major League Baseball
Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred pauses while speaking to the media at the owners meeting in Arlington, Texas, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Major League Baseball will be different in 2023

In a new agreement from the league’s competition committee, Major League Baseball will introduce several new changes to the game in 2023. The main three changes are the introduction of the pitch clock, banning of shifts, and bigger bases. 

The Pitch Clock

The pitch clock has been a discussion in baseball for years now. The new rule gives pitchers 15 seconds in between pitches with no runners on base, and 20 seconds with runners on base. Hitters will be allowed only one timeout per at bat. At the 10 second mark, the catcher must be ready. At the 8 second mark, the batter must have both feet in the batter’s box and ready for the pitch. If a batter exceeds his time, he will be given an automatic strike. Likewise, if the pitcher exceeds his time, the batter is granted an automatic ball. If a pitcher steps off or attempts a pick-off, the clock resets. Pitchers will be limited to two pick-off attempts per at bat.

A third pick-off attempt can be made. If the attempt is unsuccessful, the pick-off will be ruled a balk, and the runner will be allowed to move up a base. Teams will be allowed an extra mound visit in the ninth inning, but they will only be given an extra mound visit if they already use their five mound visits granted per game.

Pace of play is the main concern here, with the idea of speeding up the game to increase action. And with increasing action, brings more viewership, which is the goal. 

The Banned Shift

The most polarizing change coming in 2023 is the banning of the shift. The shift has been a crucial element to the game of baseball for decades now. The new change requires all four infielders to have both feet in the infield dirt at the time of the pitch.

The new rule also requires two infielders on each side of second base. The hope for banning the shift is an increase in offense. However, this change is very polarizing for players because it now changes the way teams strategize and play the game.

For the player with a lot of pull in their swing, this is great news. Players like Joey Gallo usually have three infielders playing on the right side of second base, limiting his ability to drive the ball into right field. Defensively though, teams now need to find a way to defend against pull hitters, now that their coverage in the field will be a lot less in 2023. 

Larger Bases

Larger bases will be coming in 2023 as a hope to prevent collisions. Bases will increase from 15 inches to 18 inches next season. This change is more accepted among the baseball masses, giving the runners a little more room in the baseline to avoid colliding with a defender. 

Will these changes be beneficial? Or will Major League Baseball receive backlash next season if things don’t go as planned? Things will be rough around the edges next year when these new changes are enforced, but hopefully we see a positive impact on the game we all love. Stay tuned for more updates and news.

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