What To Expect With MLB’s Rules Changes

Major League Baseball is changing the game in big ways in an effort to capture a greater audience. Most of the rule changes are aimed at shortening games and capturing the attention of viewers, which has been met with some criticism.

Many people play online casino games while waiting for the baseball season as spring training is underway. However, those first games have come with some wild situations that have impacted games in ways that have surprised people.

But as analysts of the game have pointed out, it is better for players to adjust in spring training before the games actually count. Here is a look at some of the new rules and how the game may change as a result.

Walk Off Loser

The Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves played to a 6-6 tie in one of the first spring training games of the 2023 season. The ending was set up to be something all young players have dreamed of, except it was not Game 7 of the World Series.

Atlanta shortstop Cal Conley was called for a pitch clock violation, so instead of seeing a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded and an opportunity to win the game, it ended in a tie in the most anticlimactic way to end a game.

One of the new MLB rules is that batters must be ready to face a pitch with eight seconds left on the pitch clock timer (more on that in a second). The home plate umpire said that Conley was looking down and thus not ready.

“The umpire said I was looking down,” Conley said. “I was looking down at the catcher as he was standing up. Not really sure if the pitcher was ready to go, catcher definitely wasn’t.”

San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado, who recently signed an 11-year extension to stay with the team, was another player who struck out with the pitch clock rule working against him.

Pitch Clock

Pitchers have 15 seconds when nobody is on base to deliver a pitch, or a ball will be assessed to the count. When there are runners on base, the clock expands to 20 seconds as some teams will use different signs to call in the pitch.

There are other avenues that MLB has tested, such as pitch comm to give an audio cue through a device from the catcher to the pitcher, who wears something in his hat. Some pitchers liked that element, while others did not.

This does not seem to be as big of an issue through the first week of spring training games. New York Mets ace Max Scherzer needed 24 seconds to strike out a hitter. He is a fan of the rule change.

“Really, the power the pitcher has now – I can totally dictate the pace,” he said. “The rule change of the hitter having only one timeout changes the complete dynamic of the hitter-and-pitcher dynamic. I love it.”

Timing Effects

Early returns show games are going to be much shorter. The pitch clock was used in the minor leagues, and it was noticeable to those who attended.

The data also supports it, as the average spring training game length in 2022 was three hours, while in 2023, it was two hours and 39 minutes in the first week for nine-inning games. The commercial breaks will remain the same time for those who run to get a drink or use the bathroom, though.

Offensive Impact

Pitchers will not have much time to rest, so velocity may drop league-wide. It also means they have less time to think and must just throw, so accuracy could also improve because of this routine.

But the drastic change to the offense is the ban on the shift. There must be two infielders on either side of second base, which limits the aggressive over shifts of third baseman playing in shallow right field against lefty hitters.

Maybe Cody Bellinger and Joey Gallo will be better hitters as a result. It certainly will allow for more action because singles will get through as they did in the early 2000s.

There are also larger bases, and with more action on the basepaths, it could mean more steals and small balls.