New Baseball Rule changes for MLB, College, and High School

Prairie Baseball against Columbia River High School

Photo by Elijah Braker

Prairie Baseball against Columbia River High School

Baseball rules have changed for MLB and college baseball for the 2023 season. In the MLB these rules include a faster pitch clock, limited pick-offs, a shift ban, and bigger bases. The pitch clock is also found in college baseball but with a longer time and different rules than MLB. This has the potential to affect high school baseball in Washington as it currently does not use a pitch clock, but might in the future. 

The use of the pitch clock is determined by the umpires or rules. The Senior High School Rule Book by WIAA states the “29.9.0 speed up rule – By WIAA Executive Board approval, local leagues may adopt speed-up rules for league play. Speed-up rules may be used during all state qualifying contests.” This means if a league wants to use speed-up rules they can, but they must get WIAA board approval first. 

Nate Merrit, a junior on the Prairie Baseball team, was asked if speed-up rules were going to be added to high school baseball and whether or not it would affect it in a positive way, to which Merrit answered “No because it’s High school baseball. It’s meant to be fun and not to be too serious on rules and stuff.”

Another junior player, Camden Hern says the opposite, “I think the college baseball rules are good because it helps to speed up the game a little bit and gets the players ready for MLB

In NCAA college baseball for the 2023 season changes for the pitchers were introduced. Before the 2023 season, a pitcher had a 20-second pitch clock but could reset the clock at any time by stepping off the mound. Now due to these changes, pitchers can only step off once per batter to reset the clock. However, there is a loophole in this new rule: the pitcher can reset the clock by stepping off and throwing to another base to prevent a stolen base.

The MLB pitch clock gives a pitcher 20 seconds to deliver a pitch when there are runners on base. If there are no runners on there is a 15-second timer to deliver a pitch to a batter. When there are runners on base the pitcher is only allowed to step off the mound or “pick off” to a base twice per each batter he faces. Resulting in baserunners becoming more aggressive and stealing more bases.

Another change that MLB added is bigger bases. In the 2022 season, the bases were 15 inches x 15 inches but now in the 2023 season the new bases are 18 inches x 18 inches. An Article by Anthony Castrovince about the new MLB rules says that “This change will create a 4 1/2-inch reduction in the distance between first and second base and between second base and third, which encourages more stolen-base attempts.” 

Taylor Gause is a sophomore on the Prairie Baseball team and when asked what he thought about the new MLB rules he said “I think that if you are going to a stadium to watch the game it kinda sucks because it makes the game go by faster, but when watching it on tv it’s nice because it doesn’t take as long and there’s more action.” 

Out of all 28 players on Prairie baseball and the 7 coaches, 29 think there are not going to be speed-up rules added to high school baseball and 6 think that there are going to be new speed-up rules added to high school baseball.