This Wednesday Major League Baseball announced new rules that will go into effect for the 2020 season. Some of these rules have been talked about since the end of last season, but we wanted to give you a rundown of the changes we will see implemented this year.
Three Batter Minimum
One of the biggest changes is one that’s been talked about for years. Pitchers will now need to face at least 3 batters before being taken out of the game, including the player currently at-bat. Each batter either needs to be put out, or get on base, or until the offensive team is put out before the pitcher can be relieved. Exceptions can be made if the pitcher develops an injury in which the crew chief will determine if the pitcher can no longer pitch. This will go into effect in Spring Training on March 12th, 2020.
Manager Challenge Time Limits
In a move to shorten game time, managers will now only have 20 seconds to decide whether or not to challenge a play on the field. Managers used to have 30 seconds to challenge in previous seasons.
Each team’s active roster will go from 25 men to 26 men from Opening Day through August 31st, as well as postseason rosters, which will also go from 25 to 26. Also, each team will be permitted to carry a maximum of 13 pitchers at any given time. Starting September 1st, all teams will be required to carry 28 players with no more than 14 pitchers through the end of the season.
Also, what has been deemed the “Shohei Ohtani Rule”, any player who qualifies as a “two-way players” may appear as a pitcher during the game without it counting towards the 13 (and 14) pitcher rule. Players will qualify as a “two-way” player only if he accrues at least 20 Major League innings pitched, and at least 20 Major League games started as a position player or DH — with at least three plate appearances in each of those games — in either the current season or the previous season. For 2020 only, this will include 2019 as well as 2018. Teams must designate the “two-way player” in advance, and once a club designates said player, it will remain in effect for the remainder of the season and postseason.
Position Players Pitching
Another roster rule says position players who are not two-way players may now only pitch in games that head into extra innings or games in which his team is winning or losing by more than 6 runs.
Extra Player Rule
The original “26th man” rule for doubleheaders will now be extended to the “27th man” rule for all games prior to September 1st. The 27th player shall not count towards the team’s pitcher roster limit of 13 (14 in the postseason), meaning teams may add a 14th (and 15th) pitcher in games where the “27th man” rule would apply.
Injured List Changes
Clubs may not reinstate pitchers or two-way players from the injured list until 15 days have passed from the date of the initial roster move, which used to be 10 days. In addition, the option period for pitchers will increase from 10 to 15 days.
Some rules I like, such as the manager challenge time limit. People often complain about baseball being too long, and even though it’s only 10 seconds, any way to shorten the game is a solid play for me. That is pretty much the main reason for the three batter minimum rule. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred wanted to shorten the game time, and this rule is definitely a way to try it. I don’t like the fact that we’re pretty much getting rid of lefty specialists, however. Even though we’ve seen the decrease of lefty specialists, it’s always good to know you have one guy in your bullpen that doesn’t give up a lot of hits to lefties. This rule definitely makes managers have to think about using such players, instead of them being one batter, one out kind of guys.
With the bombshell announcement of a potential postseason change, and possible league round designated hitter, Rob Manfred has proven one thing, he has no issue with implementing changes that he feels will better the game. Whether these changes actually work or not, are up for debate, but we know one person who thinks negatively of Rob Manfred…looking at you Trevor Bauer.
Featured Photo: National Review
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