Infographic: Looking at the new rules for the 2023 MLB season

Robert Lapic

The 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) season will look a little different from previous years, and not just because of the new players. The MLB has decided to introduce three new rules aimed to shorten game time and increase excitement. 

Last season, an average baseball game was three hours and three minutes long. The MLB has decided to introduce a pitch clock to quicken the pace of play. Pitchers will now have 15 seconds between pitches and must start their delivery before time expires. If they do not meet the allotted time, an automatic ball will be called. Alternatively, if there’s a runner on base, pitchers have 20 seconds between pitches. Pitchers aren’t the only ones affected by this adjustment since catchers must be in the catcher’s box with nine seconds remaining, and hitters must be ready to hit with eight seconds left on the clock. Last year, the MLB tried out the pitch clock in the minor leagues and found it reduced game time by an average of 25 minutes. The MLB hopes the pitch clock will have the same effect on their major league games. 

To allow for more game action, the MLB has made two changes: banning the defensive shift and increasing the base size from 15 to 18 square inches. A defensive shift is when players leave their ‘normal’ positions and often go to the opposite side of the infield because that’s where the ball is typically hit. This change in the defensive positioning reduces hits and action from the audience. Now, infielders must have both feet in the infield and only two players are allowed on each side of second base. Finally, the MLB is trying to encourage more stealing by implementing the bigger bases. According to Bleacher Report, some of the top base stealers, such as Trea Turner, could potentially steal 10 more bases this year due to the increase in size. 

There has been no indication if these rules will be adopted in other leagues, like high school or college. However, other leagues already have different rules than the MLB; for instance, high school games are only seven innings long, and, in college players are allowed to use metal bats. Ultimately, just because the MLB adopted these changes doesn’t mean other leagues will.