MLB Rule Changes: The times they are a-changin’

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(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

In 2020 there are several MLB rule changes. Among them, a 3-batter minimum and managers have only 20 seconds to challenge a call. Here’s what we know.

They’ll be playing a different game in 2020. Major League Baseball has announced a series of rules changes to be implemented starting in spring training with ramifications for several aspects of game strategy.

Among the new rules are potentially controversial changes to the way official challenges are handled, to the handling of bullpens, and to September roster sizes.

Your team’s roster this season may also feature a new position designation: two-way player.

The office of Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the changes this week, and although several have been discussed and anticipated for a while, there are surprises.

The biggest surprise may be a rule change that was not implemented. MLB is doing nothing to affect the use of defensive shifts, apparently opting – at least for now – to let players adjust to them (or not) on their own.

MLB also did nothing in the way of advancing the idea of robo-umpires to call balls and strikes, although that concept is viewed as very much on the table for future seasons.

From a standpoint of game strategy, one of the more impactful new rules came as a surprise. It involves a reduction from 30 seconds to 20 seconds in the amount of time a team will be allowed to decide whether it wants to challenge an umpire’s decision.

That rule change figures to intensify the heat on those anonymous guys in the video replay room tasked with advising managers on the odds of winning a challenge. It may also force managers to rely more on their own instincts, or their players’ or coaches’ recommendations, in determining whether to direct umpires to the headsets.

Here’s a look at the other rules changes going into effect this spring.

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