MLB has implemented a slew of rule changes over recent years, with one in 2017 being the lowering of stints on the injured list from 15 days to 10 days. Of course at the time the roster procedural move was still the “disabled list.”
The name was modified prior to the 2019 season, which brought about other changes MLB and the MLB Players Association agreed to last year and some that were due to be implemented in 2020. Most notably for next season, all pitchers who enter a game will have to face at least three batters or reach the end of a half-inning (with exceptions for incapacitating injury or illness).
That will directly impact lefty specialists, which clubs have regularly relied on — particularly in the postseason. Adam Kolarek arguably emerged as the best relief pitcher the Los Angeles Dodgers had available in October.
Meanwhile, all teams and pitchers appear to be facing another significant change as they will be required to spend a minimum of 15 days on the injured list, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network:
Sources: Another change coming for the IL (Injured List). position players will still have a 10-day IL, but pitchers will not. Instead they'll have a 15-day IL to try to prevent teams from manipulating their rosters (which, of course, still won’t be easy)
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 15, 2019
The Dodgers had the likes of Scott Alexander, Caleb Ferguson, Dylan Floro, Rich Hill, Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Ross Stripling spend time on the injured list this past season.
In the cases of starting pitchers, those stints at times encompassed an off day, which amounted to missing just one turn in the rotation.
It’s currently unclear how the rule change will impact two-way players. Beginning in 2020, MLB
is requiring teams to designate each of its players as either a pitcher or a position player prior to each player’s first day on the active roster for a given season.
The designation will remain in effect for the player, and cannot change, for the remainder of the season and postseason. Thus, no player who isn’t considered as a pitcher may appear in a game unless previously designated as a “Two-Way Player.”
A player qualifies as a “Two-Way Player” only if he accrues at least 20 Major League innings pitched and at least 20 Major League games started as a position player or designated hitter (with at least three plate appearances in each of those games) in either the current season or the prior season
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