MLB Reveals Three Significant Rule Changes That’ll Begin In 2023 Season

A pitch timer, bigger bases and defensive shift limits are coming to MLB

by

September 9

Major League Baseball games will look a bit different beginning in 2023.

MLB on Friday announced three significant rule changes geared toward generating more game action and improving pace of play. The changes include a pitch timer, bigger bases and restrictions on defensive shifting.

The changes were approved by the competition committee, an 11-person panel consisting of six representatives appointed by the league, four active players and one umpire.

Here’s a quick overview of each new rule, per MLB. A more in-depth breakdown can be found here.

Pitch timer
There will be a 15-second timer between pitches with the bases empty and a 20-second timer between pitches with runners on base. Additionally, there will be a 30-second timer between batters. A hitter receives one timeout per plate appearance.

Pitchers who violate the timer will be charged with an automatic ball. Batters who violate the timer will be charged with a strike.

Bigger bases
Bases traditionally have been 15 inches square. They’ll now be 18 inches square. Home plate will not change.

The primary goal of this rule change is to give players more room to operate, thus avoiding collisions.

Defensive shift limits
The defensive team will be required to have a minimum of four players on the infield, with at least two infielders completely on either side of second base.

This is intended to increase the batting average on balls in play. According to MLB.com, infield shifts have risen by 589% since the start of the 2018 season.

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