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MLB announces rule changes for the 2023 season

What do you think?

MLB: APR 02 Giants at Diamondbacks Photo by Kevin French/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

MLB today announced changes to the game which will take effect next season. In particular, their Competition Committee voted today for a trio of rule changes, with the goal of “improving pace of play, action and safety” at the MLB level. Here are the details of their proposals. What do you think [NOTE: SnakePit writers may wish to keep their powder dry on these topics, for this weekend’s round table!]

Pitch Timer

There will be a 30-second timer between batters. Between pitches, there will be a 15-second timer with the bases empty and a 20-second timer with runners on base. Pitchers are also limited to two disengagements (pickoff attempts or step-offs) per plate appearance. However, this limit is reset if a runner or runners advance during the plate appearance.

  • The pitcher must begin his motion to deliver the pitch before the expiration of the pitch timer. Pitchers who violate the timer are charged with an automatic ball. Batters who violate the timer are charged with an automatic strike.
  • Batters must be in the box and alert to the pitcher by the 8-second mark or else be charged with an automatic strike.
  • With runners on base, the timer resets if the pitcher attempts a pickoff or steps off the rubber.
  • If a third pickoff attempt is made, the runner automatically advances one base if the pickoff attempt is not successful.
  • Mound visits, injury timeouts and offensive team timeouts do not count as a disengagement.
  • If a team has used up all five of its allotted mound visits prior to the ninth inning, that team will receive an additional mound visit in the ninth inning. This effectively serves as an additional disengagement.
  • Umpires may provide extra time if warranted by special circumstances.

Poll

The pitch timer idea is:

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Great!
    (24 votes)
  • 26%
    Good
    (21 votes)
  • 21%
    Meh..
    (17 votes)
  • 11%
    Bad
    (9 votes)
  • 8%
    Terrible!
    (7 votes)
78 votes total Vote Now

Defensive Shift Limits

The defensive team must have a minimum of four players on the infield, with at least two infielders completely on either side of second base.

  • The four infielders must be within the outer boundary of the infield (i.e. cleats in the dirt) when the pitcher is on the rubber.
  • Infielders may not switch sides. In other words, a team cannot reposition its best defender on the side of the infield the batter is more likely to hit the ball.
  • If the infielders are not aligned properly at the time of the pitch, the offense can choose an automatic ball or the result of the play.
  • This rule does not preclude a team from positioning an outfielder in the infield or in the shallow outfield grass in certain situations. But it does prohibit four-outfielder alignments.

Poll

The defensive shift idea is...

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    Great!
    (18 votes)
  • 23%
    Good
    (19 votes)
  • 17%
    Meh...
    (14 votes)
  • 16%
    Bad
    (13 votes)
  • 20%
    Terrible!
    (16 votes)
80 votes total Vote Now

Bigger bases

The bases, which traditionally have been 15 inches square, will instead be 18 inches square. Home plate is unchanged.

  • Though this can have a modest impact on stolen-base success rate, the primary goal of this change is to give players more room to operate and to avoid collisions.
  • This is especially important at first base, where fielders have an extra 3-inch advantage to stay out of harm’s way from the baserunner while receiving throws.
  • The change will create a 4 1/2-inch reduction in the distance between first and second base and between second base and third, which encourages more stolen-base attempts.
  • The bigger bases could also have the effect of reducing oversliding in which a player loses contact with the bag while sliding through it.

Poll

The bigger bases idea is...

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    Great!
    (22 votes)
  • 22%
    Good
    (17 votes)
  • 32%
    Meh...
    (25 votes)
  • 5%
    Bad
    (4 votes)
  • 11%
    Terrible!
    (9 votes)
77 votes total Vote Now