The pitch clock, the runner’s lane, and other rules will be changed by MLB in 2024.

The pitch clock, the runner’s lane, and other rules will be changed by MLB in 2024.

The MLB announced Thursday that the competition a committee voted to accept several rule changes for 2024.

As a result of these changes, the pitch clock now only runs for 18 seconds instead of 20 seconds when there are more men on base.

If there are no runners on base, nothing will change; pitchers will still have 15 seconds to start their throw. The league says that the usual delivery started with 7.3 seconds left on the 20-second time in 2023.

Next season, there will also be a bigger path for runners to get to first base. In the past, batters had run in the dirt area between the foul line as well as the 3-foot line in order to stay out of trouble for interference.

The lane will go all the way to the edge of what will be infield grass in 2024. In most parks, there will be 18 to 24 inches of room between the line of foul play and the infield grass. There may be some fields that are harder to update.

Thursday, the joint tournament committee decided to allow the runner’s lane to be made wider so that it includes the dirt between the line of fouls and the infield grass.

The committee also decided to cut the pitch clock by two seconds when there were runners upon base and to cut the number of mound visits by one. These and other small changes were made to speed up the game even more.

The group agreed to changes to the pace of play that will help make up for the seven minutes of lost average nine-inning game time by September 2023 compared to the average the month of April game length.

The committee agreed on a rule that would make it harder for fielders to block bases other than home plate.

It was put on the table for further talk this offseason. The players recommended that this problem be brought up to the Competition Committee, and in the Arizona Fall League, a rule was tried out.

Right-handed batters should like the change to the runner’s lane the most because they now have a straight path to first base.

As required by MLB Rule 5.09 (a)(11), hitters used to have to run the last half of the distance from home plate to first base between the foul line along with a three-foot line drawn on the right side of the dirt.

This runner’s lane will still be marked with chalk under the new rule so that runners don’t go too far into illegal territory on plays where the ball is in foul territory, like dropped third strikes.

The runner no longer has to be in the area of fouls (to the right of the foul line). As long as both feet stay on the dirt road between home and first, the rule says the runner is in compliance.

Trea Turner of the Nationals was called out for interfering in Game 6 of the 2019 World Series for running to the opposite side of the foul line on a crucial play. This was a famous example of how the old runner’s lane rule was interpreted.

Now, the dirt area to the left of the foul territory will be part of the runner’s path. Right-handed batters may be able to hit infield ground balls a little better because they won’t have to hit them as far.

Because of these numbers, the joint competition committee agreed to cut the pitch clock from 20 seconds with 18 seconds when there were men on base.

If there are no men on base, the clock will stay on for 15 seconds. In all cases, pitchers can step off and start the clock over up to twice per plate appearance without getting in trouble.

It’s not likely that the decrease will have a big effect on violations, since pitchers started their pitches in 2023 with a median of 7.3 seconds left on the 20-second clock.

In 2023, the last month of the Triple-A season used a uniform 17-second clock, but the rate of violations with runners on base did not go up.

The Joint Competition Committee, which was set up as part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, made the batter’s running lane wider in 2022 by adding the dirt between the foul line and the grass.

Runners used to have to stay on the ground between the foul line and a three-foot area to the right of the foul line, or they could be called for interference.

Running backs can now be on the left side of the foul line for as long as both feet stay on the ground.