Major League Baseball has been using a few new rules for the 2023 season, which includes a pitch timer, restrictions on defensive shifts and pickoff attempts, and larger bases.
The rules were designed to improve the game’s pace of play and increase action on the field after being tested in more than 8,000 Minor League games for multiple years.
While the new MLB rules have largely accomplished commissioner Rob Manfred’s goal of speeding up the game, they also got off to a rocky start in terms of players adjusting to them, and more specifically the pitch clock.
That led to speculation the league could adjust the pitch timer for the postseason to decrease the number of violations, but MLB is opting to stay with the same time as the regular season, according to Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated:
The pitch timer in postseason play will remain unchanged from regular-season play. After a meeting of its Executive Council, MLB informed the Competition Committee on Friday afternoon that it will not be presenting any proposals to amend rules for postseason play this year, according to a league official.
The pitch timer gives pitchers 15 seconds between each pitch they commit a violation, or 20 seconds with at least one runner on base. There is also a 30-second clock for pitchers between batters.
If the pitcher does not deliver the ball on time, he is charged with a ball. If the batter is at fault, he is charged with a strike.
Umpires also have the authority to provide additional time if warranted for special circumstances, such as the catcher making the last out of an inning and needing more time to put his gear on.
The number of pitch timer violations have also decreased as the season went on and pitchers have become more comfortable with the rule.
In addition to keeping the pitch timer the same, all the other new rules will remain in effect as well:
All other new rules will remain as is, including the ban on shifts and the limit on pickoff throws by pitchers.
The shift rules state each two infielders must be on each side of second base when the pitch is released and all four infielders need to have both feet within the outer boundary of the infield when the pitcher is on the rubber.
A pickoff limitations state a pitcher can only throw to a base twice per at-bat, and if he throws over again, the runner must be picked off or a balk is issued. As with the larger bases, this rule was designed to improve stolen base success rate, which is up roughly 5% across the league.
MLB rules being tested during 2023 Atlantic League seism
MLB is also testing two experimental rules during the 2023 Atlantic League (ALPB) Championship Season, including a designated pinch-runner.
Each team lists a player who is not in the lineup as a designated pinch runner, and that player may then be substituted at any point into the game as a baserunner. The player who is substituted for, as well as the pinch-runner, will be permitted to return to the game without penalty.
The double-hook DH rule also returned to the Atlantic League for the 2023 season. This allows clubs to use the designated hitter throughout the game provided that the team’s starting pitcher has completed at least five innings.
If the starter fails to make it through the fifth, the club will lose the DH for the remainder of the game.
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