MLB plans to properly enforce balk rule for 2023 season, per report

Major League Baseball intends to “pay special attention to blocking rule enforcement” in the 2023 season. according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The repressions are aimed at corralling “bouncing” or “rolling” deliveries and coincide with the implementation of the feed timer. The specified timer is supposed to stop at the start of delivery and the above ticks may blur the line.

The league “moved a little bit by calling the rulebook illegal pitches and blocks,” Morgan Sword, MLB’s executive vice president of operations, said at a media briefing Tuesday, ESPN reported.

The no-go rule dates back to the late 1800s and is still one of the most difficult to explain to the casual or new viewer. The bottom line is that pitchers should not intentionally deceive baserunners with twitches or random movements prior to their pitch. The refusal penalty is that all runners are allowed to advance to base, and the pitch – if delivered – will retroactively count as a dead ball.

Here is a list of actions that can be considered a ban, according to baseball handbook:

  1. Starts serving without completing serving;
  2. Simulates a throw to first base;
  3. Standing on the rubber, throws to the base without taking a step directly to this base;
  4. Standing on rubber, throws or simulates a throw to an unoccupied base, if a runner does not run to this base;
  5. Makes an illegal serve, including a fast serve;
  6. Pitches without looking at the batter;
  7. Performs any part of the movement when serving without touching the overlay;
  8. Unnecessarily delays the game;
  9. Standing on rubber or riding it without a ball;
  10. Having taken the initial or established position, removes one hand from the ball, except when he is serving or throwing to the base;
  11. Throws the ball while standing on the rubber;
  12. Pitching when the catcher is not in the catcher’s boxes;
  13. Steps from a given position without a complete stop.

Questionable pitchers who may be forced to adjust their pitching this year include Astros starter Luis Garcia and Toronto’s Kevin Gausman.

The aforementioned serve timer is just one of several new rules that will be introduced and enforced this season. The league also prohibits pitchers from “off” more than twice during at-bat, as well as restricting defensive changes and placing larger bases. Earlier this week, MLB voted to continue using the “Manfred Runner” in extra innings. In addition, teams will face greater restrictions on when they are allowed to use a position player as a pitcher, with said restrictions based on score and innings.


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