Breaking Down Some Of The Rule Changes For The 2020 MLB Season
After Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association agreed upon a 60-game season that will start on July 23 or 24, there will be some changes to the season given how short it will be. Here are some of the notable changes:
- Implementation of the Universal DH: In a typical MLB season, National League teams will have their pitchers also hit while American League teams have a designated hitter instead of their pitcher batting. This season, and possibly for future seasons, the league has implemented that all 30 teams will have a designated hitter. This limits the risk for injury among pitchers, while also allowing position hitters to get more at-bats in a shortened season.
- Runner on Second in Extra Innings: This has been something that MLB has been experimenting with in the minor leagues. The reason is to limit the number of games that go 11 or more innings in what normally is a long season. These long games leave team’s exhausted and bullpens depleted which can lead to injuries. Teams will start with a runner on second base, this has increasing the chances of runs being scored early on in extras.
- Scheduling: As a means to limit the amount of travel done by teams, they will only play teams in their same geographical region. Meaning teams in the AL and NL East will play against each other, teams in the AL and NL Central, and teams in the AL and NL West. For example, the Yankees will play a total of 40 games against their division opponents (ten series against the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rays and Orioles). They will also play a total of 20 games against the Mets, Phillies, Braves, Nationals and Marlins.
- Rosters: For the first two weeks of the season, teams can carry 30 players on their active rosters, then the next two weeks 28 players, and then for the remainder of the season, 26 players. So after one month of play, teams will go from 30 players on their active roster to 26. Teams will also be able to have up to 60 players on a taxi roster that in the event of injuries could be plugged into the active roster. Finally, if a player tests positive for COVID-19, there will be a separate injury list for the virus with no classification of how long a player can be out.