2023 MLB Rule Changes

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2022 Rule Changes / 2021 Rule Changes

 Rule changes for the 2023 season

They will be in effect for all of Spring Training to provide an adjustment period before Opening Day of the 2023 season. Umpires have been instructed to begin calling violations with no grace period.

Pitch Timer

The length of games will still be determined by innings, not minutes. But to create a crisper pace, there will be a 30-second timer between batters and then a shorter time limit between pitches. Pitchers will be required to begin their motion 15 seconds after receiving the ball with the bases empty or 20 seconds after receiving the ball with runners on base. If they donít, they will be charged with an automatic ball.

Pitchers will also be limited to two disengagements from the mound (i.e. pickoff attempts or step-offs) per plate appearance with a runner on first. The disengagements reset the clock.

Batters, meanwhile, must be in the batterís box and alert to the pitcher by the 8-second mark on the clock, or else be charged with an automatic strike.

Shift Restrictions

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. These restrictions are intended to increase the batting average on balls in play, and allow infielders to better showcase their athleticism with great defensive plays. Note: I have seen a theoretical work-around to this rule where the left fielder is brought in and is positioned behind and between two indielders.

Larger Bases

First, second and third have been expanded from 15 inches on each side to 18 inches on each side, while home plate remains unchanged. The primary reason why the bases are bigger is safety, giving fielders and runners more room to operate without colliding. But the slightly decreased distance between bases could help runners on stolen-base attempts and bang-bang plays.


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