The MLB rule changes that were mulled over last season are now written in stone. Here’s what we have:
As originally announced, each pitcher will have to face a minimum of three batters. People have complained about this, but it really does not impact the game all that much. Loogies are few and far between and frankly, managers tend to over-manage when given the opportunity to play a matchup. This really will not make much of a difference in the game, but it could impact the pace of play that Rob Manfred is so obsessed about (instead of ya know… marketing baseball).
Rosters will also be increased from 25 to 26 with a maximum of 13 pitchers. This move will give more jobs to players seemingly caught in between the MLB and Triple-A. As usual, however, all MLB teams will carry 28 players with a maximum of 14 pitchers on September 1st.
Clubs must now designate any “two-way-players in advance of a game, but these players will not count toward a pitcher limitation.” They must have 20 innings of hitting and pitching and have played in that position in the prior year. Once these players are designated, they remain with that title throughout the end of the season and playoffs. Honestly, this move doesn’t impact many teams. It’s basically calling out Shohei Ohtani and Brendan McKay.
Position players cannot come into the game to pitch until the ninth inning or extra innings or unless their team is up or down six runs. This will limit the number of times position players pitch in the sixth inning to prevent pitchers from having to throw too many innings in a meaningless game. Now Joe Maddon can’t pull his hijinx until the ninth inning. What. A. Shame.
There will be a 27th player rule, which is the same as the 26th player rule now for championship season, meaning this player is eligible to enter in an emergency if needed. Again, this does not seem to impact teams unless they experience an injury or unplanned absence.
Pitchers and two-way players will now have to remain on the 15-day Injured List for the entirety of the 15 days from the date they move. This is an increase from ten days last year.
Managers may challenge up to 20 seconds after the play instead of the 30 seconds they had in 2019.
That sums it up. When it comes down to it, most of these rules will not totally impact the game, so all of the baseball purists out there can relax. More people will be on your favorite team’s bench, and pitchers have to come in and pitch instead of a manager pulling him because he thinks he’s smarter than everyone else.