More rule changes are coming to Major League Baseball in 2024. As part of a series of tweaks and changes announced by MLB Thursday comes after drastic changes were made last year. There will be a tighter 18-second pitch clock with runners on base, a new wider runner’s lane between home and first base and one fewer mound visit. These proposals were announced in early November at the general manager’s meetings. They were formally approved by the competition committee.
New MLB Rule Changes
Here are the most notable MLB rule changes.
The pitch clock: Down from 20 seconds this year, pitchers will have 18 seconds between pitches with runners on base. This change is after seeing the average nine-inning game go down from 2 hours, 44 minutes to 2:36.
News: @MLB Competition Committee approves rule change reducing the time between pitches from 20 seconds to 18 seconds when runners are on base.
MLB said, “Pitchers began their deliveries with an average of 7.3 seconds remaining on the 20-second timer in 2023.”@MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 21, 2023
The runner’s lane: Here’s where things get interesting. Constant complaints finally led MLB to widen the dirt area along the first-base line by six inches next season. Players argued that the current runner’s lane forced them to zig-zag fair and foul territory on their way to first base. The change will allow runners to be more direct from home to first without being called out for interference.
The highlight of the MLB Competition Committee’s rule changes for 2024 is a widened runners’ lane to give batters more room — between 18 and 24 inches — while going between home plate and first base.
Also, the pitch clock will be reduced from 20 to 18 seconds with men on base. pic.twitter.com/nN3cd3EKXF
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) December 21, 2023
Fewer found visits: Mound visits will go down from five to four per game. However, teams that have used their visits will get one extra in the ninth inning. MLB did see an increase in mound visits in 2023 as a way for teams to avoid pitch-clock violations. One other change to help the pace of the game, catchers can call for a mound visit to avoid a clock violation, but don’t have to go to the mound.
Three Tweks to Pace-of-Game Rules
These are the slight changes to the pace-of-game rules:
MLB will cut down 15 seconds off the time relievers have to warm up if they’re late leaving the bullpen after a mid-inning change. They will now have two minutes to complete their warm ups from the time they leave the bullpen, instead of the previous 2:15.
After a foul ball, the pitch clock will start when the pitcher has the ball and all fielders are in their positions. The previous rule required the clock to pause until the pitcher was back on the mound. Finally, any pitcher who warms up at the start of an inning will now have to face one hitter. That comes in response to an increase in the number of times where a pitching change took place following a pitcher warming up before the start of an inning. Now, the pitcher has to stay in the game for one more hitter. That is even if the team batting made a lineup switch.
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