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MLB officially announces rule changes for 2020 season

Two-way player rules and roster changes will be in effect.

Colorado Rockies vs Arizona Diamondbacks, MLB Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Rule changes were rumored to be happening for the upcoming regular season and rule changes are being implemented indeed. Major League Baseball officially announced today a slew of changes, especially pertaining to team rosters. Of course, a couple rule changes are meant to cut down on the length of games.

Firstly, the roster changes are pretty much as expected. Through August 31st, the number of players on the active roster will be upped from 25 to 26 total players. Teams can carry no more than 13 pitchers on their roster. From September 1st onward through the end of the season, teams must carry 28 players on the active roster with a maximum of 14 pitchers. Additionally, what was known as the “26th Player Rule” is now known as the “27th Player Rule” for instances of doubleheaders. Teams can carry 14 pitchers during that day if they so choose.

The next change is about two-way players. If a team wants to designate a player as a two-way player (a position player and a pitcher), the player must have pitched at least 20 major-league innings and started at least 20 major-league games as a position player or designated hitter with at least three plate appearances in each game in either the current or previous season. For 2020, MLB will include statistics from 2018 as well. Teams have to give that designation to the player before a game starts, and the designation will last through the regular and post season. Two-way players will not count towards the pitcher limits on rosters.

Thirdly, position players can still pitch, but not until after the ninth inning if in an extra-inning game. They can also enter a game as a pitcher if their team is losing or winning by more than six runs. I don’t really understand why this rule is being put in place.

The injured list is being revised as well. Pitchers and two-way players no longer have a 10-day injured list, but rather a 15-day injured list. Along with this, pitchers will have to stay in the minor leagues for 15 days instead of 10 days once they are optioned down. This is to prevent teams from carousel-ling their roster.

The three-batter minimum rule will indeed be in effect, and it starts at the beginning of Spring Training. Starting and bullpen pitchers must face at least three batters in their appearance or until the defense gets the third out if the pitcher comes in mid-inning. The plate appearance has to be completed in order for a batter to count towards this rule. If the pitcher is injured or otherwise cannot physically face three batters, the crew chief umpire can use discretion to waive the rule.

Lastly, managers will have 20 seconds instead of 30 seconds to decide if they want to challenge a call or play. Because 10 seconds matter. Thanks, Manfred.

How do you feel about these rule changes? Do you think they’ll impact how the Minnesota Twins play? Will this help increase the pace of play?


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