Major League Baseball voted on Friday to implement a pitch clock, ban shifts, increase base sizes and limit the number of pick-off attempts starting in 2023. These changes will happen despite all four player representatives (Tyler Glasnow, Jack Flaherty, Whit Merrifield, Austin Slater) voting no on the pitch clock and shift ban because six ownership representatives (John Stanton, Bill DeWitt, Tom Werner, Greg Johnson, Dick Monfort, Mark Shapiro) and one umpire (Bill Miller) outvoted them.
Obviously these changes are to try and increase the pace of play, which has already successfully been tested in the minor leagues. According to Jeff Passan, minor league game times “have consistently clocked in at under 2 hours, 30 minutes - a time seen by many as ideal...”
Pitchers will have 15 seconds with empty bases and 20 seconds with runners on base to deliver the next pitch or else the batter will be rewarded with a ball. Batters will have to be in the box before eight seconds are left on the pitch clock or else the pitcher will be rewarded with a strike.
Pitchers will be limited to just two pickoff moves per plate appearance. If they try to pick off a third time, it will be a balk if they are unsuccessful in picking off the runner.
Bases will increase from 15 to 18 square inches. MLB is doing this to try to limit collisions around the bag and shorten the distance between bases. It will be interesting to see if this change affects the game that much.
Teams are also going to get an extra mound visit in the ninth inning if (and only if) they’ve already used their allotted five visits.
The Players Association released the following statement regarding the rule changes:
Statement on Competition Committee vote pic.twitter.com/8176xAwPZT— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) September 9, 2022
Feel free to give your thoughts on the changes in the comments below!