This year will change the landscape of Major League Baseball as we know it. The enactment of a number of rule changes will change the game with the intention of improving the league as a whole and revamping its appeal to fans.
2023 MLB Rule Changes and Impact on Fantasy Baseball
To give you a little overview and a reminder of the upcoming revisions, here are the main rules changes that will be implemented on this upcoming Opening Day:
- Pitch timer: Perhaps the most significant adjustment comes in the form of 15- and 20-second pitch clocks, depending on whether there are runners on base. I can. Subsequent withdrawals may result in Volks being called by the referee. This rule should normally speed up long games significantly, but it is a potential cost to pitchers who are comfortable taking their time.
- Defense Shift Restrictions: The era of famous fielder substitutions is over, and baseball has returned to its traditional defensive approach. Beginning in 2023, two infielders must be positioned sideways on either side of second base while remaining within the dirt range of the infielder. This application allows for a more aggressive game and allows hitters who fell victim to the recent shift the potential to return to a much improved offensive season.
- Larger base: For the 2023 season, the base size will increase from 15 inches to 18 inches. This change is more significant than it might seem at first glance. Not only will this change reduce base-running injuries across the league, but the reduction in the distance between bases by nearly five inches to him will undoubtedly lead to more stolen base attempts and more attacks in general on base passes. is not.
The changes that will be made in the upcoming campaign are all important to the return of the sport of baseball. These advances also bring fascinating nuances to the game of fantasy baseball, providing an edge to drafters who make use of this information. Let’s take a look at the players who could benefit from the new regulations for 2023.
Shohei Ohtani (RHP – LAA)
One of the most polarizing figures in sports, Ohtani also ranked as the slowest “deliverer” of all MLB starting pitchers in 2022. The Japanese prodigy averaged 15.7 seconds per pitch without runners and 20.9 seconds with runners, both exceeding his upcoming 2023 threshold limit. Ohtani will need to be able to adjust his timing going forward, and it remains to be seen if that will have any significant impact on his work.Ohtani posted an astounding 2.33 ERA, which he posted last season. He led MLB with 11.9 K/9. The changes he has to make this spring are remarkable, but it would be shocking to see “Shotime”‘s pitching numbers drop significantly. It’s still
Corbyn Barnes (RHP – MIL)
Barnes is another example of a starter whose routine between pitches in 2023 will need to change slightly. Last season, the longtime Cy Young contender scored just over the limit set for the upcoming campaign, ranking just behind Ohtani. of tempo. Of course, Barnes also throws in one of the least friendly environments for pitchers in the entire league: Miller Park. It will be interesting to see if Barnes struggles a little more this season, especially at his home, when he has to rush his mechanics in-game.
Defensive shift limit
Cal Lawry (C – SEA)
Raleigh’s wOBA split jumps off the page when facing the 2022 shift (.330) and straight defense (.419). Seattle’s backstop shifted with his staggering 96.2% of his at-bats last season, fitting in the top five of that metric across the league. The results were as expected. 211 batting average and .284 OBP, Lowry also broke out with 27 HR and 48 XBH. Raleigh could benefit the most ever with the shift removed in 2023. Lowry is the current ADP who is essentially undrafted in many leagues and looks like a value pick.
Seth Brown (OF/1B – Orc)
Another compelling player to watch considering the shift removal is Seth Brown. Like the aforementioned Lowry, Brown had a career year by most accounts despite encountering shifts in his 88.6% of at-bats. At wOBA he saw a jump of 79 points when facing a straight up defensive configuration (63 PA). With the outfield landscape looking increasingly bleak in 2023, Brown is determined to tackle at the end of the Fantasy team in the later rounds, especially given his projections to remain as a 3- or 4-hitter for Oakland. can be a great option for
Whit Merrifield (2B/OF – TOR)
Merrifield could be a major backer of a large base to be incorporated in 2023. The former Kansas City standout should be a frontrunner in his season’s first full in Toronto and play in one of the league’s strongest offenses. Merrifield posted career lows in both batting average and OBP in 2022, but most of that lack of productivity came in 95 games with the Royals. Moving to Toronto, he amassed an improved .281 average and .323 OBP. Merrifield said he finished 2022 with just 16 steals, but with Swipe he’s just one year away from leading the AL and leading MLB on his two occasions. The 34-year-old should be able to leap out of the gate in April and dramatically improve his base running numbers.
Bobby Witt Jr. (SS/3B – KC)
Speaking of the Royals, standout top contender Bobby Witt Jr. would have won the AL ROY in 2022 were it not for an otherworldly season from Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez. Witt was phenomenal by all accounts, leading all rookies with 30 stolen bases, placing him sixth overall in MLB. The 22-year-old also has his fourth-fastest sprint speed in the league, according to Statcast, leaving plenty of room for improvement in his second year. Betting that Witt will lead all baseball in stolen bases this season is not considered a “daring call” and he is more likely than anyone else to achieve the feat. His fantasy value should skyrocket even more.
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