New-Look Baseball: Spring Training 101

02/21/2023 New-Look Baseball: Spring Training 101

By: Jeff Yoder

Spring Training is Underway With New Rules & Baseball is About to Speed Up

Welcome back, baseball! In case you missed it, MLB spring training began over the weekend with all 32 teams playing in their first action of 2023. And the new year brings new changes to a sport that needs (and is getting) a little facelift. The new rules in 2023 are some of the most dramatic changes to the game in the 21st century, and it should make things a little more fast-paced and exciting. Opening Day is Thursday, March 30, which gives us six weeks to preview the new rules in action.


Overall, the new changes will add a pitch timer, restrict defensive positioning and include larger bases to re-incentivize a faster and more exciting game. Here’s what is changing on the diamond this spring.


Pitch Clock: The pitch timer in 2023 will give pitchers just 15 seconds to deliver with the bases empty and an extra five seconds (20 seconds) with runners on base. A violation of the pitch clock results in an automatic ball, and pitchers are also given just two resets — either stepping off or attempting to pick off a runner. Batters also have to be in the box within eight seconds, and they get just one timeout or they’ll be charged an automatic strike.


End of the Shift: Gone are the days of the overshift. Teams have to have four infielders within the infield boundary whenever the pitcher has the ball on the mound. They can still bring an outfielder into the infield, but not vice versa. Two fielders must be set on both sides of second base. Positioning violations result in an automatic ball.


Bases Get Bigger: There’s an added three square inches in the size of the bases in 2023 — up from 15 square inches to 18 square inches — in an attempt to enhance player safety with potential collisions.


Other Rule Changes for 2023?

The league’s recently adapted “runner on 2nd” rule is here to stay. Each team will get an automatic runner on second base during extra innings to help prevent extensive, five-hour marathons. The league is also still experimenting with the automated ball-strike system (robotic ump) on the Triple-A level, and it could show up in the majors sooner than later.


Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the MLB’s new rules are here to try and liven up baseball. Spring training is in full go. We’re six weeks out from the first pitch.


Additional Storylines

MLB: An Inside Look at How the New Rules Will Look in 2023

ESPN: MLB Spring Training Arrives! Here’s What We Can’t Wait to See

CBS Sports: MLB Owners Create ‘Economic Reform Committee’ as Worries Linger Over Steve Cohen’s Mets Spending Spree


Photo: Matt Thomas / Getty Images