PITTSBURGH — On Friday, Major League Baseball announced a series of rule changes that will take place for the 2023 season. Those rules include a pitch clock, defensive shift restrictions and bigger bases.
The decision to implement these rules were approved by a majority vote of the joint competition committee, consisting of club representatives, players and an umpire.
The implementation of the the bigger bases was unanimously approved, while the pitch timer and shift restrictions were rejected by the players, but approved nonetheless due to the majority vote.
“It’ll be different. It’ll be interesting to see some of the trickle-down effects from it, whether seeing more balls scoot through based on the shift, how guys approach some of the timing constraints with the pitch clock and things of that nature,” Pirates outfielder Greg Allen told Pittsburgh Baseball Now.
Allen has first-hand experience with some of the rule changes taking place as he has played in the minor leagues the past couple seasons. The minor leagues implemented these rules for MLB to gauge the impact they had on the game.
Allen, who relies on his speed as a major factor in his game, is the type of player who could be impacted by the new rules, specifically the bigger bases.
“Hopefully it’ll play to the advantage of guys who are looking to take that base, whether it’s stealing, going first to third,” Allen said. “I have had a chance to actually play on the bigger bases last year. I like them.”
Pirates manager Derek Shelton is glad to see that element of the game being prioritized again.
“It brings action, it brings excitement, but again now how you put your team together and how you deploy that it could be something that really changes,” Shelton said.
While Allen and a handful of other players have experience with these new rules, major league coaches do not, and that includes Shelton.
“I think we all thought over the last month or so that these were coming,” Shelton said. “The pitch clock one probably as we get into it more information we’ll have a better understanding of it. It’s been explained to me, there are certain questions I have. I don’t think until we see the logistics of it we’re going to know.”
While the 15-second pitch clock with the bases empty and 20-second pitch lcock with runners on base isn’t as easy to interpret, the other two changes are straight forward.
Two infielders must remain on each side of second base with their feet on the infield dirt. The bases will increase from 15 to 18 inches, shortening the distance between each bag.
The news didn’t come as a surprise, and the Pirates have been preparing for this for a while now.
Since so many currently on the Pirates roster have had experience playing for Triple-A Indianapolis this season, they’ve been having discussions with some of those players over the past month to gain a better understanding.
The Pirates along with the other 29 teams in the major leagues will get their first look at the new rules in spring training.
The rule changes will have an impact on every player as the game as we know it is going to change moving forward. Some players may be impacted more than others.
“I definitely think that it’s going to, the hitter is going to be way more affected by it than the pitcher is,” Shelton said.
In today’s game, hitters tend to take their time between pitches to adjust their batting gloves, trying to process what pitch might be coming next, etc. With the pitch clock in place, that time will be drastically cut for some guys.
If you’re not a fan of these rule changes, enjoy the final few weeks of this season. Change is a-comin’.