Major League Baseball passes significant rules changes including pitch clock, banning defensive shifts

BleedGopher

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per ESPN:

Major League Baseball passed a sweeping set of rules changes it hopes will fundamentally overhaul the game, voting Friday to implement a pitch clock and ban defensive shifts in 2023 to hasten the game's pace and increase action.

The league's competition committee, composed of six ownership-level representatives, four players and one umpire, approved a pitch clock of 15 seconds with empty bases and 20 seconds with runners on, a defensive alignment that must include two fielders on each side of the second-base bag with both feet on the dirt as well as rules limiting pick-off moves and expanding the size of bases.

The vote was not unanimous. Player representatives voted no on the pitch-clock and shift portions of changes.

Long tested in the minor leagues, the pitch clock, when strictly enforced, has significantly accelerated the speed of games. Minor league games this season have consistently clocked in at under 2 hours, 30 minutes - a time seen by many as ideal - and average game times have settled a little over it.

The rule is strict: The catcher must be in position when the timer hits 10 seconds, the hitter must be have both feet in the batter's box and be "alert" at the 8-second mark and the pitcher must start his "motion to pitch" by the expiration of the clock. A violation by the pitcher is an automatic ball. One by the hitter constitutes an automatic strike.

The banning of defensive shifts, once a fringe strategy that has become normal occurrence and the bane of left-handed hitters, is among the more extreme versions, preventing defensive player movement in multiple directions. With all four infielders needing to be on the dirt, the days of the four-outfielder setup will be over. Even more pertinent, shifting an infielder to play short right field, or simply overshifting three infielders to the right side of the second-base bag, is no longer legal.

The position of defensive players can be reviewed - and, if a defense is deemed illegal, the batting team can choose to accept the outcome of the play or take an automatic ball instead.

By limiting disengagements with the mound, either via pickoff move or stepoff, the rules hold accountable pitchers who would otherwise have a pitch-clock workaround - and are likely to significantly increase stolen bases, part of the action the league intended to increase.


Win Twins!!
 

Iceland12

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Didn't know you wanted a separate thread.;)
 

BleedGopher

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Didn't know you wanted a separate thread.;)

I didn't see any other threads on this, my apologies if there. I did a quick scan.

Back to the rules, if they can shorten games to 2:30 like they've done in the minors that would be fantastic.

Win Twins!!
 

BleedGopher

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Didn't know you wanted a separate thread.;)

Ahh, I see you posted in the Twins 2022 in-season thread.

I figured this wasn't about the Twins 2022 season, so didn't even think to look there. My bad.

Feel free to delete.

Win Twins!!
 

GophersInIowa

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I'm not really sure the rule about the infielders needing their feet on the infield was really needed. I can't imagine teams would have their second baseman playing far into the outfield if the SS has to stay on the 3rd base side of second.

The pitch clock will be interesting. Applying it in the minors is easier. They're now asking veteran pitchers to change and that might be hard for them. Also more stolen bases isn't good for the Twins as they're terrible at stealing bases and terrible at throwing runners out.
 


Stan

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Anything to speed up the game is good. The players will adjust because they won't have a choice but to adjust.
 


El Amin Fan

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Went to a Saints game. Loved the pitch clock.

I will forever be annoyed that hitters didnt try to change their approaches to hit away from shift or even bunt the ball and take the free single

Agreed, definitely enhances the game.

OP, thanks for posting new thread, definitely not Twins 2022 related.

I wonder if there's an impact to revenue the league brings in if the games are shortened.
 

Iceland12

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Ahh, I see you posted in the Twins 2022 in-season thread.

I figured this wasn't about the Twins 2022 season, so didn't even think to look there. My bad.

Feel free to delete.

Win Twins!!

No, not surprisingly, your decision was the right one.
 



Iceland12

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Looks like the Player's Union is run by pitchers. :LOL:

"Not all of the changes, which were scheduled for a vote at noon ET on Friday, were approved unanimously. The Players Association, which has four of the competition committee’s 11 members, voted against the pitch clock and limiting shifts. The vote to increase the size of the bases, from 15 inches square to 18, was unanimous.

“Player leaders from across the league were engaged in on-field rules negotiations through the Competition Committee, and they provided specific and actionable feedback on the changes proposed by the Commissioner’s Office,” the MLBPA stated. “Major League Baseball was unwilling to meaningfully address the areas of concern that Players raised. And as a result, Players on the Competition Committee voted unanimously against the implementation of the rules covering defensive shifts and the use of a pitch timer..

"MLB also intends to boost stolen base attempts and player safety with this suite of rule changes. Pitchers will now be allowed to step off the mound twice per plate appearance, for a pickoff throw or any other reason, unless a baserunner advances during the plate appearance. A third time stepping off the rubber will result in a balk unless an out is recorded on a runner.

Increasing the size of the bases could decrease collisions at first base. According to MLB, the larger bases resulted in 13.5 percent fewer base-related injuries this season in the minors..."

 

GopherVotary

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Went to a Saints game. Loved the pitch clock.

I will forever be annoyed that hitters didnt try to change their approaches to hit away from shift or even bunt the ball and take the free single
Agreed. Banning shifts is rewarding hitters for failing to adjust. It’s like if the NFL banned blitz’s - if the offense can’t make the defense pay for it’s strategy, that’s on the offense.

And if the end-goal is shorter games, let the defense employ strategies that create more outs.
 

GophersInIowa

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So looking back 20 years we see that the total number of pitches per game hasn't changed much. 2022 is averaging around 292, 2012 about 290 and 2002 at 288.

What has changed is there are less PA per game but more pitches per PA.
- 2002: 76.9 PA per game, 3.74 pitches per PA
- 2012: 75.8 and 3.83
- 2022: 75.0 and 3.89

You would think less plate appearances would speed up the game even if a few more pitches are being thrown because it takes longer for a new batter to come to the plate than to throw extra pitches within an at-bat.

Which means pitchers and batters must be taking longer in between pitches. So the pitch clock should speed things up some. I'd be interested to see what the normal time between pitches is now.

 

Iceland12

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Went to a Saints game. Loved the pitch clock.

I will forever be annoyed that hitters didnt try to change their approaches to hit away from shift or even bunt the ball and take the free single

Yeah, the pitch clock is a good idea. Hitting against the shift should be a good idea.

Except players have been rewarded for trying to hit a home run, rather than getting on base. The owners have shown that a guy who hits 18-19 HRS, even if he strikes out 150 times and gets on base only 31% of the time, will get paid much more than a guy who hits .280 and gets on base 35% of the time, but only hits 8-9 out of the park.

Guessing the start of that was getting rid of the golfball-like baseballs. Clubs like the White Sox and Twins who were blasting the ball out of the park stopped hitting them. But they still kept swinging for the fences 'cuz that's where the money is.

Think these changes are designed to shorten the amount of dead time in the game and add more action. Though if they keep paying the big money for the long ball it may not work.

They don't want more outs, they want more action.
 



short ornery norwegian

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looks like there were two pitchers voting on the committee:

Players on the panel include Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow, Blue Jays infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield and Giants outfielder Austin Slater, and Cubs infielder Ian Happ also participated as an alternate.

the "bigger bases" thing is interesting. this makes the distance between 1st & 2nd base - and between 2nd & 3rd - about 4-1/2" less. on a close play, that makes a difference. I would not be surprised to see more teams trying to steal bases, or advance a base on a long fly ball, a passed ball or an error.
 

TruthSeeker

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looks like there were two pitchers voting on the committee:

Players on the panel include Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow, Blue Jays infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield and Giants outfielder Austin Slater, and Cubs infielder Ian Happ also participated as an alternate.

the "bigger bases" thing is interesting. this makes the distance between 1st & 2nd base - and between 2nd & 3rd - about 4-1/2" less. on a close play, that makes a difference. I would not be surprised to see more teams trying to steal bases, or advance a base on a long fly ball, a passed ball or an error.
I assumed they would adjust the infield to make sure the distance remains 90 feet.
 

Full Speed Ahead

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When during a play does the "feet in the dirt" requirement stop? For example, if someone's bunting can the third baseman charge the plate anytime after the pitcher has started their motion, or are you stuck in the dirt until the ball crosses the plate?
 

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Something needed to be done! Twins Kepler, whose hitting .220s, With the fielding change it should increase his average by 20 points.
 



short ornery norwegian

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the whole point of the bigger bases is to shorten the distance between the bases slightly. MLB wants to encourage more base-running and base-stealing to create more action.

same thing with the pitch clock. speed up the game. fans are getting turned off by the "three true outcomes" style of play where everything is a walk, a strikeout or a home run.

make the game move faster with more action to keep the fans interested. you can blame people for shorter attention spans, or everyone staring at their phones, but baseball seems boring compared to other, faster-paced sports.

these changes are part of an effort to make baseball "more fun."
 

TruthSeeker

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the whole point of the bigger bases is to shorten the distance between the bases slightly. MLB wants to encourage more base-running and base-stealing to create more action.

same thing with the pitch clock. speed up the game. fans are getting turned off by the "three true outcomes" style of play where everything is a walk, a strikeout or a home run.

make the game move faster with more action to keep the fans interested. you can blame people for shorter attention spans, or everyone staring at their phones, but baseball seems boring compared to other, faster-paced sports.

these changes are part of an effort to make baseball "more fun."
Absolutely. They're great reforms.

I wish they could reform pitching changes. Maybe the easiest way is to limit pitchers on the roster and to disallow position players from pitching. It would force teams to use starters longer, add longer relievers, and increase scoring due to starters pitching with less effort to last longer and pitchers getting knocked around more.
 

Gophers_4life

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Ahh, I see you posted in the Twins 2022 in-season thread.

I figured this wasn't about the Twins 2022 season, so didn't even think to look there. My bad.

Feel free to delete.

Win Twins!!
How would Iceland be able to delete your thread?
 

Gophers_4life

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Agreed. Banning shifts is rewarding hitters for failing to adjust. It’s like if the NFL banned blitz’s - if the offense can’t make the defense pay for it’s strategy, that’s on the offense.

And if the end-goal is shorter games, let the defense employ strategies that create more outs.
Right, so it's not just about shorter games, but also getting more base runners per inning ("action").
 

Gophers_4life

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Yeah, the pitch clock is a good idea. Hitting against the shift should be a good idea.

Except players have been rewarded for trying to hit a home run, rather than getting on base. The owners have shown that a guy who hits 18-19 HRS, even if he strikes out 150 times and gets on base only 31% of the time, will get paid much more than a guy who hits .280 and gets on base 35% of the time, but only hits 8-9 out of the park.

Guessing the start of that was getting rid of the golfball-like baseballs. Clubs like the White Sox and Twins who were blasting the ball out of the park stopped hitting them. But they still kept swinging for the fences 'cuz that's where the money is.

Think these changes are designed to shorten the amount of dead time in the game and add more action. Though if they keep paying the big money for the long ball it may not work.

They don't want more outs, they want more action.
For whatever history/reasons, the love affair in the game with hitters has always been for the guys who break the HR records. Not the Tony Gwynn guys who actually help their teams win more games.
 

Iceland12

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Adding the extra inches to the bases was mainly to avoid collisions at first. Which it did in the minors. The increase in stolen base attempts was probably do to those other changes.

Haven't seen any reports about if the success rate in steals went up or down.

"The new rule: Bases will be increased from 15 inches to 18 inches.

What they're trying to change: The increase in the size of the bases should reduce injuries around them while increasing stolen base attempts.

What it's meant in the minors: In Triple-A, the first season of larger bases didn't make much of a change on its own -- but in the lower levels, bigger bases combined with rules about pickoffs saw large increases in steals per nine innings. Even combined with the disengagement rules, though, MLB doesn't believe either change will lead to teams being unable to control the run game."

 

PhiloVance

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Baseballs 3+ hour games are hard to watch..almost tempted to turn to soccer.
 

Gophers_4life

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Baseballs 3+ hour games are hard to watch..almost tempted to turn to soccer.
I've enjoyed watching it ... but it is really laughable about how they fall down and fake injuries. You may already know about that, but in any case you will see!
 

GophersInIowa

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I assumed they would adjust the infield to make sure the distance remains 90 feet.
The distance is measured from the back tip of home plate to the middle of the base so they probably would only be moving the 1st and 3rd bases in by 1 1/2 inches. But I don't think they'll move them out further from home plate.
 




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