Players are arriving at spring training ready to prepare for the season, but they will have to get used to some new rules that will be implemented for the 2023 season. The two big rule changes this year will be the implementation of a shot clock for keeping the pace of the game moving and prohibiting defensive changes to prevent declining batting averages. There will also be bigger bases, the additional innings runner rule is permanent and baseball can limit the use of position players to pitch.
These rules will go into effect beginning with the first game of spring training, and league office executives have been clarifying the new rules with teams and providing details to members of the press this week.
The shot clock will keep the game moving, preventing loitering with every stop in the game. There will be a 30-second timer between batters, a 15-second timer between each pitch with the bases empty, and a 20-second timer between each pitch with runners on base. The shot clock will start once the pitcher has the ball and the batter and catcher are in the dirt around home plate. A pitcher must start his pitch before time expires, or an automatic ball will result. A batter must be in the batter’s box and “ready” at the 8 second mark on the timer, or else it is an automatic strike.
What constitutes starting a delivery? MLB defines it as when a pitcher steps back or to the side as he rolls up, or lifts his free leg after being placed in the stretch. This also means that MLB will crack down on the pre-delivery movement of pitchers. Kenley Jansen’s butt shake, Mike Clevinger’s Dancing Feetand Luis Garcia “rocking the babyThey will all be considered balks now. Pitchers may still tap their feet before the pitch, but must come to a complete stop at some point. MLB executive vice president of operations Morgan Sword admits these should have been called hurdles sooner, but the league had been lax on enforcement.
“We’ve slipped centrally a bit by calling the rulebook illegal pitches and balks.”
What does it mean for a batter to be “alert”? The batter must have both feet in the box, facing the pitcher. The batter may call a plate appearance timeout. This may require some adjustment for hitters, as Royals prospect Nick Pratto took some automatic strikes last season in Omaha.
Usually when we talk about the shot clock, we’re talking about pitchers. But hitters are affected too! Nick Pratto was penalized with an automatic strike for moving back into the box after the :09 mark. pic.twitter.com/WYIa6To16v
— Minda Haas Kuhlmann (@minda33) April 16, 2022
To prevent pitchers from resetting the clock by constantly throwing to first base, MLB limits pitchers to two “releases” in which they can step on the rubber. To prevent running backs from getting ridiculously large leads after two disconnects, the pitcher is allowed to disconnect a third time, but he must take the runner out, otherwise it’s a balk and the running back can advance. A side effect of this rule can be an increase in stolen bases, since baserunners don’t have to worry about pitchers drifting as much.
A shot clock violation won’t result in a loud siren like a shot clock violation in the NBA, but referees are equipped with a belt that will sound when the clock reaches zero. Timer violations are the responsibility of the plate umpire, but any umpire may make the call. They also have the discretion to reset the clock and will communicate with the Field Timing Coordinator, a position that has existed since 2015 but has increased significance with the implementation of the clock.
The shot clock has been in effect in the minors for several seasons, resulting in games at the Triple-A level being shortened by 21 minutes, with the average game taking just two hours and 43 minutes to play. As for the Royals, the clock won’t affect Brady Singer, who was the fastest pitcher in baseball last year. But it could affect slower workers like Josh Staumont and Scott Barlow.
Teams have been creative in defensive lineups in recent years, placing players where hitters tend to hit the most. This led to plummeting batting averages as hard-hit line drives fell into the second basemen’s mitt in shallow right field — the BABIP league in ground balls is down about six points since 2015. Those kinds of sweeping defensive changes will be banned this year.
All four infielders will be required to stay within infield ground, which will be measured by baseball after years of not being uniform stadium by stadium. Upon delivery of the field, two infielders will be required to be on each side of the field. build on yourself, not an imaginary line. The second baseman and shortstop may not change positions in the middle of an inning, and infielders may not run through the bag while the pitch is thrown in an attempt to circumvent the rule. An outfielder will be allowed to become a fifth infielder, and outfielders can still change as much as they want.
What happens if there is a violation while the pitch is being delivered, but the batter hits a home run? The offense will have the option of taking the play as happened or enforcing the violation.
The defensive trade ban had mixed results in the minor leagues, with some leagues showing a slight increase in BABIP, but others noting any increase at all. For the Royals, Salvador Perez and Vinnie Pasquantino are likely to be two of the hitters who will benefit the most from the at-bat ban, while there will be less of an impact on Royals pitchers, as the team didn’t use at-bats as much as other teams. . Manager Matt Quatraro believes athletics could return to being an advantage if teams don’t change.
“We are going to try to take advantage of it with our athleticism,” Quatraro said. “But yeah, I think you have to remove the heavy gearing on the drive side, so it looks different. “But with our athleticism, I think that could play to our advantage.”
The bases are bigger this year to help with player safety: it gives the runner going to first more room to step on the bag without stepping on the first baseman’s foot. It also provides a better slope for players sliding into the bag, helping to prevent them from slipping out for a split second. The bases are three inches longer on each side, going from 15 inches to 18 inches.
Larger bases also create slightly less distance between bases, which could help with stolen bases. The minor leagues that used the bases saw a slight increase in stolen bases.
Extra Ticket Runner Rule
The extra inning rule where each team starts with a runner on second base will now be permanent. The rule was instituted in 2020 to protect the pitcher’s arms after shortened spring training during the pandemic, and it’s also been used in the past two seasons.
In the past three seasons combined, there have only been seven games that went 13 innings; there were 37 games that long in the 2019 season alone. Commissioner Rob Manfred sees it as a way to avoid marathon games and protect pitchers’ arms.
“The clubs have gotten used to the extra innings rule… I think, in general, the players like it a lot.”
Now we just have to get the nomenclature right. They are not ghost runners, are they zombie runners?
Position Player Throwing Limit
Baseball will also reduce the number of position players they pitch, a practice that has become more common in recent years as teams look to save their pitchers. There were 132 pitches by a position player last year, down from just 32 five years ago.
Previously, teams were allowed to use position players only when they were leading or trailing by six runs or more. Now, leading teams must be up 10 or more runs in the ninth inning, and trailing teams can use a position player any time they are down 8 or more runs. Position players can be used at any time in extra innings.
What do you think of the new rules? Will they affect the Royals much?