After years of experiments and debates, MLB instituted new rules this season that completely changed the game, and largely for the better. To speed up the games, they instituted a pitch clock, fifteen seconds with no runners on base and twenty seconds with runners on. They limited how many times a pitcher can throw over to a base to pick a runner off before it being called a balk, made the bases bigger to encourage safety and more stolen bases, and significantly limited defensive shifting, as well.
The changes have been very well received by most baseball fans, and they’ve largely worked. Games are much shorter, and balls in play and batting average is up. After the first week and change of the season, the length of games was already down 31 minutes, and that trend has continued as we get deeper into April. Stolen bases are up, too. More or less, the rule changes are working. Coupled with the permanent designated hitter for both leagues that came into effect prior to the 2022 season, and MLB has made baseball look much different than even a few years ago.
But, the league is not done trying things out. And, they’ve gone back to the independent Atlantic League, a place where they like to test out rules, to test out some more new concepts.
MLB will use the Atlantic League as its rule-change test lab again. This year's rules:
*Designated pinch runner. Can enter at any time, then return later.
*A one-disengagement rule (it's two in MLB).
*The return of the Double Hook! If the starter exits early, so does the DH.
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) April 18, 2023
These are some interesting concepts. The designated pinch runner is going to put players on MLB rosters that are terrible at baseball but very fast. I’m not talking Billy Hamilton types. I’m talking about converted college sprinters. The hook rule would encourage pitchers to work deeper in gamems, as well. As for the disengagement rule that would basically would move the pickoff rule this year from two to one throws over without risking a balk, I think that rule is fine as is.
A lot of baseball fans don’t like any of these potential changes, though.
No, No, No. these are gimmicks
— Scott G (@20gdawg) April 18, 2023
Do the people who come up with these rule changes even like baseball? 🤷♂️
— AndrewAJT (@AndrewAJT) April 18, 2023
all these rules are atrocious
— 🦑 (@Judge2Stanton) April 18, 2023
No need to panic just yet if you don’t like them. These rules have a long ways to go to make it to MLB.