MLB: A Rule Revolution in Baseball – League Implements Pitch Clock, Bans Changeovers

Major League Baseball (MLB) has announced massive rule changes for the upcoming 2023 season, which means a small revolution: among other things, the pitching clock, or pitchers’ time limit, will be introduced. There are also changes in the defense.

In its quest for shorter games and more action, MLB’s governing body voted on three new rules on Friday.

  • Time limit for pitchers: Starting in 2023, the pitch time limit will be 15 seconds, 20 seconds with runners on base. So far, there has been no time limit at all. The number of strikeouts and “timeouts” by pitchers and hitters is also limited. This should shorten games considerably. According to MLB, years of tests in the minor leagues have shown that the average playing time has decreased by about 26 minutes.
  • Defensive shift ban: In recent years, the four infielders have increasingly established themselves on the hitter’s batting tendency, with three of the four players positioned on the other side of second base. This has contributed to lowering the average batting value. Now two of the four infielders must be on either side of second base. Also, four outfielders are no longer allowed.
  • Extended soles: The game’s four platforms used to have a side length of 15 inches (38.1 centimeters). Except for the home base, they have now been increased to 18 inches (45.72 centimeters). On the one hand, this should reduce collisions and thus injuries, and on the other hand, the distance between bases decreases. Combined with the limitation of pick-off throws, this should increase the number of stolen bases.

Automatic recognition of balls and pitchers’ strikes has not yet been included in the rule changes, although it is already being tried in some minor leagues.

Not everyone is happy with the rule changes: four player representatives on the eleven-person committee voted against the time limit and the trade ban.

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