Calloni’s Corner: 2020 MLB Rule Changes

Josh Calloni, Reporter

In 2020, the MLB has announced that a few new rules that could be in play, or will be in play, and each of them will have a much different impact to the sport.

The first rule to be imposed is changing the roster size from 25 to 26 and regulating a number of pitchers and position players per roster. This will change how teams are layed out each season. A traditional bench will now have five players, and a bullpen will have eight. This will give many new players opportunities that they would not of gotten before with the previous roster limits. This also eliminates September call ups, as roster size will no longer expand to 40, but only 28. 

From now on, a proposed rule would have every reliever that comes into the game face a minimum of three batters per appearance, instead of the one currently. This rule, if implicated, could speed up the game incredibly, with less pitching changes being made each inning. 

Finally, the injured list minimum is also being moved from 10 to 15, which will not only let players heal longer, but eliminate the teams usage of the injured list to their advantage, and not being forced to use options on players.

Not all of these rules will have perfect effects however. The roster size to 26 is a great idea, but only getting 28 will have its problems. Players will get tired easier after 6 months of playing, teams out of playoff contention never really had anything to lose by playing minor leaguers, and seeing who might fit into their next seasons plans. 

The three batter rule takes away much of the strategy game of baseball, and will take away jobs from many left handed pitchers who are used primarily to get left-handed hitters out. However, I would not put it past a lot of managers to work around this imposed rule, potentially by using walks to get around certain hitters with their pitcher. 

Finally, the expanded injured list rule will also take away some extent of strategy in the game. Recently, teams, especially the Dodgers and Rays, have used the 10 Day IL to their advantage. If a player tweaks something in the shortest way, they are placed on the injured list and a new, fresh player, usually a relief pitcher, is brought up. Changing this will limit the ability to do this, however, like the three batter rule, a new way around this is likely to come.

These rules will have a definite change in how the game is played, and will build an interesting storyline to follow in 2020 and beyond.