New 2023 Major League Baseball Rules

The 2023 Major League Baseball season will look slightly different due to implementing three new rules that will impact most aspects of the game. They will go into effect during the 2023 spring training, giving players time to adjust. These rules were created in attempt to speed up the pace of the game, increase action and reduce injuries.

Read below for a quick break down of the new rules and what they are tying to accomplish.

1. Pitch timer:

  • There will be a 30second timer between batters and less time between pitches. The pitcher will have 15 seconds to begin their motion when the bases are empty and 20 seconds with runners on base. If they fail to oblige by this rule, an automatic ball will be charged.
  • A pitcher can only disengage the rubber twice per plate without a penalty. This limit resets if a runner advances. A third disengagement will result in an automatic balk unless an out is recorded.
  • Hitters must be in the batter’s box and alert the pitcher with at least eight seconds remaining on the clock, or they will be charged with an automatic strike.
  • Hitters have one timeout per plate appearance.

Reason for change:
An average Major League Baseball game lasts 3 hours and 6 minutes. Implementing these rules will cut down the number of times pitchers and batters can stop play.

2. Shift Restrictions

a. The defensive team must minimally have four infielders with two being positioned on each side of second base when the pitch is released.

b. All four infielders must have both feet within the infield when the pitcher is on the rubber.

c. Infielders cannot switch positions unless there is a substitution.

Reason for change:
Encourage more balls turn into players and give players more opportunities to showcase their athleticism.

3. Larger Bases
a. The size of infield bases will increase from 15 inches to 18 inches.

Reason for change:
Bigger bases are expected to have a positive impact on player safety due to reducing the number of potential injuries from collisions at the bases. The distance between the bases will be 4.5 inches shorter encouraging more stolen bases.