One of the most intriguing storylines heading into the 2023 MLB season is how the new rules being implemented will impact the game. With new infield shift restrictions, a pitch timer and larger bases among the changes this year, it will be exciting to watch the resulting effects.
MLB Network broke down the rule changes on Thursday during MLB Tonight. Here’s what the experts had to say about what’s new in ’23, and how it will all look on the field.
Different, but familiar
The infield shift restrictions have been designed to result in more balls in play and more defensive athleticism. In other words: more hits and more web gems. Who better to talk about how the game will look different, and yet still familiar, than Theo Epstein, who helped develop the rule changes?
Spicing things up
What do hitters think about the new infield shift restrictions? How will they, and even pitchers, approach their craft differently? Former MLB slugger Sean Casey and former MLB general manager Dan O’Dowd break it down. Also, how did the pitch timer and bigger bases impact the game when they were tested in the Minors?
‘The real winners are the fans’
Casey and O’Dowd analyze how the pitch timer will impact hitters (hint: It could actually improve offensive production). Also in this segment: hear Max Scherzer rave about how the pitch timer can be used to a pitcher’s advantage, and just how dramatically the pitch timer could improve pace of play.
‘This brings more action’
How will bigger bases and limits on pickoff throws to first impact steal attempts? Former MLB speedster Rajai Davis joins Harold Reynolds to talk about how runners might change their approach. Also in this segment, check out how Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench thinks the new shift restrictions will impact offense.
Leveling the playing field
The third Wild Card spot in each league made its debut last season. Now, the 2023 season will be the first in which each of the 30 teams plays every other team. That will give clubs in tougher divisions a better chance to reach the postseason by enabling them to play opponents outside the division more often. The balanced schedule will also bring stars you’ve seldom seen in person to a ballpark near you much more frequently.
Mark your calendar
The World Baseball Classic is just around the corner, but the first WBC in six years only marks the first of many must-see baseball events throughout the coming months. Check out what they are and when they’ll take place in this segment.