New MLB Rules for the 2023 Season

Shannon Clark '23, Co Editor in Chief

Spring training is underway to kick off the MLB pre-season once again in Florida, but this time with a twist: new changes for the 2023 season. The new guidelines are:


Addition of the Pitch Clock

The pitch clock comes as a result of requests for the game to move faster to keep fans engaged; after years of lobbying, it is officially here. The pitch clock is 15 seconds — 20 seconds if there are runners on base — and is 30 seconds in between hitters. Pitchers can step off the rubber twice to reset the clock per hitter. Any other time the pitcher steps off the rubber it is considered a balk and costs the pitcher an automatic ball. There are still 5 visits to the mound allowed during the game, with an additional visit added in the 9th inning if all other visits have been used already. 

For hitters, they need to be in the box and ready for the pitch for at least 8 seconds left in the pitch clock otherwise it is an automatic strike. Hitters have one time out per plate appearance, and failure to comply with that is also an automatic strike. 

Umpires can add more time in favor of the pitcher or the batter at any point during the game if they deem it necessary.


Shifting (or Lack Thereof)

The new shifting rule says that there must be 2 infielders on either side of second base, a change from when infielders could choose what side of the base to be on based on the hitter. 

Additionally, all infielders must at least stand on the edge of the infield (the dirt), if not closer, when the pitch is released. If these are violated, an automatic ball will be awarded to the hitter.

The new shifting rule is in place so there are more hits in the game, keeping the fielders, the base runners, and the fans active.


Larger Bases

The bases went from 15” by 15” squares to 18” by 18” to help prevent injuries from sliding to reach the bag.


Ghost Runner

Only for regular season games if the game goes into extra innings, there will be a ghost runner on second base to start the inning. This is designed to speed up the game and prevent the game from dragging on for too long past the nine innings in the typical allotted time.


Position Players Pitching

Position players in baseball are anyone who is not a pitcher. These players can only pitch if the team is losing by 8 runs or more, if the team is winning by 10 runs or more in the 9th inning or in extra innings. 

The new changes were experimented with for multiple seasons in the minor leagues before implementing them this year in the majors. Though there will definitely be a learning curve for players, coaches, and umpires alike, it is now in spring training that the kinks are to be worked out.



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