Major League Baseball Rules 2023: Pitch Clock, Shift Ban, and More Explained

HomeBlogsChris Sloan's blogMajor League Baseball Rules 2023: Pitch Clock, Shift Ban, and More Explained
HomeBlogsChris Sloan's blogMajor League Baseball Rules 2023: Pitch Clock, Shift Ban, and More Explained
Major League Baseball Rules 2023: Pitch Clock, Shift Ban, and More Explained
Chris Sloan

In an effort to make the game of Major League Baseball faster and more exciting, a host of dramatic changes have been implemented for the 2023 season. These rule changes include a pitch clock to limit the time between pitches, a ban on shifts to create more offensive production, as well as rule alterations related to the pace of play, replays, intangibles, and roster construction.

Whether these rules will achieve more balls their intended objectives remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: baseball in 2023 promises to be full of surprises.

Pitch Timer

digital clock timer

In 2023, Baseball will implement a pitch timer in order to address pace-of-play issues. The timer will be set to 15 seconds when the bases are empty, and up to 18 seconds when runners are on first and third base. If the pitcher does not begin his motion to deliver the pitch before the expiration of the pitch timer, an automatic ball will be called and the hitter will not be penalized. This new rule is also being enacted in the Minor Leagues and will be tested in spring training games in order to familiarize players and umpires with the rule.

In order for hitters to be considered “alert” and ready to receive the pitch, they must be in the batter's box with at least eight seconds remaining on the clock. A baseball hitter violation of this rule will result in an automatic strike being called, as well as a possible timeout for the batter. Additionally, if the pitcher makes two disengagements, such as stepping off the pitching plate or a pick-off attempt, the disengagement counter will reset.

The pitch timer has already been used in the Minor Leagues over the past few years, and has had a significant impact on reducing game times. Testing revealed that game time was successfully shortened by 26 minutes, from 3:03 to 2:38. It was a great achievement! Similarly, stricter pitch clock enforcement during last season in Triple-A games saw a reduction of just fewer than 21 minutes per game.

Pitchers and batters alike must adjust to the new rules, as veteran pitchers will no longer be able to take their time and reach back for extra velocity. This has led to concerns about player safety, as pitchers will now have less leeway to switch sides or step off the mound if they feel pain. However, MLB has ensured that umpires will have the authority to provide additional time in high leverage situations or other special circumstances.

The pitch timer has been proven to reduce game times by an average of 25 minutes in the Minor Leagues, and 21 minutes in Triple-A games, and will be strictly enforced in 2023.

Shift Restrictions

action, athletes, audience

The shift restrictions, an important rule change to be implemented in 2023, aim to increase offense and accelerate the game's pace. In 2021 spring training games, MLB and the MLB Players Association jointly imposed a rule that requires four infielders to remain within the infield dirt or grass and within the outer boundary of the infield when a pitch is thrown. This shift regulation seeks to reduce overshifts' advantages and create more opportunities for hitters.

The new shift rules have already made their mark on minor leagues. Stolen base attempts rose from 2.23 in 2019 to 2.83 in 2022 while the stolen base success rate also increased from 68% to 77%. Left-handed hitters' batting average on balls in play also grew 8 points at lower levels with shift regulations, and 3 points at Triple-A without any shift ban.

MLB officials don't think teams will lose control of the run game due to these changes, but they do expect them to give batters more room for success. With just one timeout per plate appearance and two disengagements per plate appearance without penalty, defensive shifts have been reduced in high leverage situations as well as collisions at first, second and third base, thanks to larger bases - all beneficial for player safety.

It'll be intriguing how this affects the offensive output of the game and how teams adjust themselves accordingly; likely there will be an upsurge in hits especially among left-handed hitters plus more stolen base attempts taking advantage of new rules while regular season games should shorten down into three hours according to what MLB hopes for.

Larger Bases

Starting in the 2023 season, Baseball will be introducing larger bases in an effort to encourage more aggressive baserunning and improve player safety. The size of the traditional 15-inch square bases will be increased to 18-inch square, resulting in a 4.5-inch decrease in the distance between them. Red Sox manager Alex Cora compared the larger bases to “pizza boxes”, saying that the increased size will give players more room to move around and make it easier to get around the bag.

In order to prevent players from taking advantage of the increased base size, MLB has also implemented a pitch clock and shift restrictions. The pitch timer will require pitchers to begin their delivery within at least eight seconds of the end of the previous pitch, and will result in an automatic ball if the time limit is exceeded. Furthermore, shift rules will require all four infielders to have both feet within the outer boundary of the infield when the pitcher is on the rubber.

The larger bases have already been implemented in the minors, and have been successful in reducing injuries around the bag while increasing stolen base attempts. MLB tested the larger bases by introducing them in the minor leagues, leading to a 13.5% overall decline in “base-related” injuries. Studies also show mixed results on the success rate of stolen base attempts, with one study showing a 1-2% increase and another showing a 75% increase in steal attempts in the International League. Despite the mixed results, the larger bases have led to large increases in steals per nine innings in the minors.

The larger bases are part of a comprehensive set of rules being implemented in the 2023 season. It is hoped that the larger bases will help to reduce injuries while giving players more room to move around and increasing the incentive to attempt a stolen base. The new rules should also allow for games to be played faster, with MLB estimating that the average game time will be three hours or less.

Position Players Pitching

baseball, sports, pitcher

Position players pitching is an integral part of the major league baseball's strategy, having been subject to various rules over the years. Recently, the Majors have been altering regulations concerning when position players can pitch in games. In 2018, a record 32 times saw position players pitch.

Under current rules, if the leading team is up by 6 or more runs or the trailing team is down by 6 or more runs, a position player may come in to pitch. Additionally, the pitcher must remain in the batters box for at least 8 seconds and cannot throw more than one pitch per plate appearance; failure to comply results in an automatic balk call.

However, MLB are debating changes which would require that the leading team be ahead by 10 or more runs and that the trailing team be behind by 8 or more before allowing use of position players. The aim being to reduce number of position player pitchers and increase amount of actual pitchers available for teams during Opening Day's ninth inning - this could also affect Triple-A game numbers regarding such pitching.

Moreover, MLB are considering reducing the 8 second mark per plate appearance without penalty to 6 seconds. This would make it harder for left-handed hitters to get set before pitch thrown as well as limit attempts at pickoff and ability for a position player stepping off the pitching plate prior to throwing ball.

The proposed modifications on rules about positioning players pitching will have considerable effect on game play - thus should be closely monitored. With these alterations MLB hopes creating better balance between offense/defense plus making game experience even better for fans watching from stands. As regulations are still under discussion, the Baseball Operations Department within Baseball will continue evaluating their impact on sport while adjusting accordingly if needed.

Pickoff Limitations per Plate Appearance

In addition to the new rules governing pitch timing, shift restrictions, larger bases and position players pitching, MLB is introducing a pickoff limitation. This rule aims to stop pitchers from disengaging from the mound too often during one plate appearance - only two disengagements are allowed before an automatic balk is called. The average time for a pitch in recent years has been around eight seconds; thus, pitchers must be back on the mound and ready to throw within this timeframe.

This pickoff limitation also helps prevent pitchers from taking too long to make a throw to a base. If they fail to do so within eight seconds of starting their attempt, an automatic balk will be declared and all runners can advance safely. Left-handed hitters may benefit more than right-handed ones as they are more likely to be picked off in general.

Moreover, it stops pitchers from attempting to steal themselves by forcing them into making throws quickly or risk being called out with an automatic balk if they take longer than eight seconds. This ensures that all players have equal opportunities when competing against each other while speeding up the game for fans' enjoyment at the same time!


Baseball (MLB) is putting forth a variety of new rules and regulations set to go into effect in time for the 2023 season. The various rules and regulations will help to accelerate the pace of play, increase player safety, and promote hitter-friendly strategies that fans can now increasingly enjoy.

By implementing a pitch timer and shift restrictions, game times are expected to decrease by an average of 25 minutes, while larger bases hope to encourage aggressive baserunning. Additionally, MLB has discussed changes to the rules surrounding position players pitching to ensure fairness and balance.

With these changes, MLB hopes to increase offense, reduce game times, and make baseball an even more enjoyable and exciting sport for fans to watch.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the MLB rule changes for 2023?

MLB is introducing several rule changes for the 2023 season that are designed to accelerate the pace of play and add more excitement on the field. These include a timer, defensive shift restrictions, larger bases and a limit on pick-off attempts.

Together, these changes will revolutionize the way the game is played and provide fans with an exciting new experience when they attend games in 2023.

How do MLB playoffs work 2023?

In 2023, MLB playoffs will work in the same familiar format; teams will compete in a best-of-five series in a 2-2-1 format, followed by the League Championship Series, where teams will battle it out in a best-of-seven series, and finally the World Series, also in a best-of-seven series, with the team with the best regular season record receiving home field advantage throughout.

Mar 2, 2023, will mark the start of the playoffs. Teams will compete in a best-of-five series in a 2-2-1 format, followed by the League Championship Series, where teams will battle it out in a best-of-seven series, and finally the World Series, also in a best-of-seven series, with the team with the best regular season record receiving home field advantage throughout.

What are the MLB rule changes for 2023?

Baseball (MLB) is set to introduce a series of new rule changes in 2023, including a pitch timer, defensive shift restrictions, larger bases and a limit on pick-off attempts. Aimed at speeding up the pace of play, increasing action and promoting athleticism, these changes will give fans an even more exciting game when they return to stadiums in 2023.

The timer will limit the amount of time a pitcher has to throw a pitch, while defensive shift restrictions will limit the number of players a team can have on one side of the infield. The larger bases will make it easier for runners to score, and the limit on pick-offs will make it easier for runners to score.

What are the new rules in MLB?

MLB's new rules focus on speeding up the pace of play. Pitchers must begin their motion within 15-20 seconds of being given the ball, and a 30-second timer has been implemented between batters.

These rules will be in effect Feb 27, 2023.

What are the new rules for pitch clock in MLB?

MLB has implemented a set of new rules featuring a pitch clock to help speed up the game. Pitchers have up to 15 seconds with no runners on base and 20 seconds with runners on base to begin their delivery before the time runs out, or they will be assessed a ball.

Additionally, batters must be in the box by the eight-second mark of the pitch clock or they will receive a strike.

How do the new rules impact stolen base attempts?

With larger bases and a limited number of pickoff attempts a pitcher can make, you can expect to see an increase in stolen base success this season and higher rate of steal attempts overall.

See Also: How Many Players on MLB Rosters?

Blog categories: 

About Chris Sloan

Chris Sloan is a former baseball league commissioner and travel baseball coach who has made significant contributions to the sport. In 2018, he founded selectbaseballteams.com, a website that helps parents find youth and travel baseball teams in their local areas. Since its launch, the website has experienced impressive growth, offering a wealth of resources including teams, news, tournaments, and organizations. Chris's unwavering passion for baseball and his innovative approach to connecting parents with quality baseball programs have earned him a respected reputation in the baseball community, solidifying his legacy as a leading figure in the world of youth and travel baseball.

latest comments

There are 0 comments on "Major League Baseball Rules 2023: Pitch Clock, Shift Ban, and More Explained"




post a comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.