How the new MLB rules affect betting

The MLB proposed three new rules for the 2023 season and beyond to the Joint Competition Committee including a pitch timer, larger bases and changes to the shift.

In an effort to speed the game up and showcase athleticism, these rules affect fielding, hitting and running.

With this in mind, lets see what each rule affects, and how it impacts fantasy sports.

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Pitch timer

Pitchers face a 15-second timer with the bases empty, and 20 seconds with a runner on. If the pitcher violates the timer, then it is an automatic ball. If the batter violates the timer, then it is an automatic strike.

The rule implemented a limit of two disengagements from the mound like pick offs and step offs per plate appearance. If violated, the runner is awarded the next base if he is not picked off.

At the minor league level, these rules saved 26 minutes on average.

The most impacted aspect of the game is steal attempts and success rate. According to MLB, this rule increased the number of steals and success rate. In 2019, the number of steals per game was 2.23 and a success rate of 68%. Three years later, runners attempted 2.83 steals per game, and the success rate was  77%.

An increased rate in steals, and runners in scoring position, put pitchers more at risk of surrendering runs.

Larger bases

Focused on player safety, bases are 18 inches square instead of 15. The goal is to reduce collisions, and widen the lane which a base runner can hit the bag. One example is running to first base, now there is a three-inch lane that reduces collision as the first baseman receives the throw.

MLB said the bigger bases result in over four inches between first to second, and second to third.

The reduction in distance between bags means base runners should steal bases more easily. Also, this should reduce players sliding over the bag too.

The shift

A team must put four players on the infield, and two on both sides of second base.The rule prohibited four outfielders, but an outfielder can be placed on the infield. This does away with shifts that placed four players on the right side of the diamond and one infielder on the left.

In an article from MLB, the rule placed emphasis on athleticism, but this helps batters more than providing dazzling plays by eliminating pull-heavy shifts.

The rule hopes to increase batted balls in play average, or the likelihood of a base hit. Most notably players like Joey Gallo, who are extreme pull hitters, benefit from this because it allows a better chance of a base hit.

With an increase of likelihood for base hits, impacts on fantasy should be on Gallo and similar hitters. More categories are RBIs, then earned runs for pitchers are secondary impacts.