It is look like Major League Baseball will be back in 2020 with a shorten season. There will be a “spring training 2.0” starting July 1st. With the season starting on July 23rd with The Yankees and Nationals playing each other.
There are a lot of new rules coming for both just 2020 and beyond. Some of these rules are interesting and I want to see them stay. Others not so much. I will go into most of these new rules, explain them, and give my thoughts. Some of these rules are a easier to understand than others. I will do my best to explain each one with enough detail.
Universal Designated Hitter
So this one is pretty easy. There will be a DH for all 30 MLB teams. Even in the National League. That means no more pitchers hitting in the 8/9 holes. This rule is just for 2020 (for now).
For the longest time I was against this very firmly. I used to think about how much went into having to make the decision to let a pitcher hit or call on a pinch hitter. But I have seen way too many pitchers get hurt. Also what are there 3 good hitting pitchers in the NL? This will give more players an opportunity to play. Also it makes the games more entertaining. I can see this rule sticking around for more than just 2020.
Runner on Second Base Extra Innings
So this one can get a little confusing so let me unpack it. To speed up games that go into extra innings a runner will be placed on second base to start each extra inning. The runner will be the batter in the order that was last up the inning before. So let’s say the 2nd hitter in the order leads off the 10th inning. That means the 1st hitter is on 2nd base. To help with scoring this runner will count as an unearned run to the pitcher. So the offense get credit for the run but the defense does not get hurt by it.
So I coach travel baseball and run into rules similar to this in every tournament I coach in. It makes things every interesting and makes you think. I do not know how it will play out in the MLB. I could see a bunt then an intentional walk or something like that happen a lot. I do not think this rule will last because it will not be as exciting as it is in travel ball. But it will be fun to see how teams play it.
Three Batter Minimum For Pitchers
This one was in place before COVID-19. Starting in 2020 a pitcher that comes into a game must either face 3 batters or record the final out of an inning. So if a pitcher comes into the game with 2 outs and gets the batter out they do not have to come back out in the next inning. But if they do not get that out they have to face at least 3 batters.
This one is weird to me. There will be no more lefty specialist that comes in for 1 batter and gets pulled. But it makes you think more about the different match ups you will face. If there are a lefty righty lefty coming up do you bring in the lefty? What do you do? Having played MLB The Show 20 with this rule in play it really changes the game. But I know mangers have been planning for this all off season. I cannot wait to see how this is played out.
As I mentioned earlier each time will play 60 games. That will consist of 40 divisional games and 20 interleague games. Teams will only play teams in their region. That means the Red Sox will only play the AL East and NL East teams. This will limit the travel.
This one I think is the most interesting rule out there. The east in my opinion is the toughest region. You have the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Phillies, Nationals, Blues Jay, Rays, and the defending World Series Champs Nationals. Where in the central you have the Cubs, Brewers, Indians, and Cardinals. I think the White Sox can be a sneaky pick. But still the teams are no where close to the East. I will love to see how the teams do in each of their respected regions.
MLB teams submitted a pool of 60 players that they can use throughout the season. The rosters will go from 30 down to 26 during the season. But the other players are allowed to workout at facilities deemed safe by the MLB. Having these extra players gives teams a chance if players get sick. Also teams will be able to sign different players too.
I like this because we are seeing a lot of prospects that are maybe a year or two away make the list. I want to see the top prospects get a chance to play in the Big Leagues as soon as possible. I am happy that the teams have a chance to have extra players ready to go if others are not able to play.
There are some other smaller rules and you can check them out here on mlb.com. As always if you want to discuss what I talked about you can find me on twitter. Also check out my podcast Legends Lingo!
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-Tom “Powder” Cadmus (@powder42308)