Rules Changes Coming For 2023: The Pitch Clock, Shift Ban

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic is reporting that long-discussed rules changes to speed up pace of play are now just around the corner. The pitch clock, and restrictions on defensive shifts are coming to a ballpark near you in 2023.

Rosenthal says those are among the rule changes that are expected to be voted in on Friday. Although the vote still needs to take place officially, the Commissioner's Office has a majority of the seats on the 11-person competition committee. That committee was newly formed as a result of the latest collective bargaining agreement.

Per The Athletic, here's a look at the key rules changes that are expected to come into play next season:

Pitch Clock

  • Pitchers would have 20 seconds to start their throwing motion with runners on base, 15 seconds with the bases empty

• The catcher must be in the catcher’s box with nine seconds left on the timer.

• The hitter must have both feet set in the batter’s box and be “alert to the pitcher” — meaning he has his eyes on the pitcher, and can quickly take a hitting stance — within eight seconds

• Pitchers who violate the clock are charged with an automatic ball. If a catcher violates the clock, an automatic ball is charged as well. Batters in violation receive an automatic strike

The Shift Restrictions

  • a minimum of four players besides the pitcher and catcher would have both feet completely in front of the outer boundary of the infield dirt
  • two fielders would need to be entirely on either side of second base
These changes will no doubt stir up all kinds of discussion, for and against. But it's all intended to increase the amount of action on the field, and speed up the pace of play. 

All one needs to do is watch old film of a game from a few decades ago, and it's clearly evident that the game can proceed just fine without pitchers and batters stepping out for oodles of adjustments and delays between each pitch.

And as for the shift restrictions, it simply means more base hits. More action, more baseball.