The MLB Players Association (MLBPA) agreed this week to let the league implement rule changes with a 45-day notice, paving the way for them to introduce some of them for the 2023 season.
They did it in exchange of not having robot umpires in 2023.
As a result, the league will use a pitch clock to accelerate pace of play, it will ban the shift, and it will use enlarged bases starting from the 2023 campaign.
There is a noticeable difference in size between the bases MLB has been using and the ones that will enter the scene in 2023.
The Hitting Vault founder Matt Lisle posted a picture showing the difference between the bases.
Here is the base difference for MLB starting in 2023 (on the left).
Assuming it’ll change for college on down as well soon after. pic.twitter.com/n3vjiI1MdM
— Matt Lisle (@CoachLisle) March 8, 2022
The Bigger Bases Should Be Beneficial For Everybody
There is a noticeable difference, but it could mean good news for both fielders and baserunners.
With a larger base, runners going full speed towards second and third base will have a higher chance to stay on the base in slide attempts instead of going through it and being called out.
Stolen bases could go up with the bigger bases, according to a New York Post article:
You know the play in which a guy steals second base, pops up and separates from the bag for a blink as the middle infielder keeps his glove on him, which replay confirms upon a manager challenge, thereby sending the baserunner back to the dugout? Wouldn’t it be great if that play ceased to exist? While full eradication might prove too ambitious, a bigger base surely would help.
Those runners going with all their speed to first base will also have a larger base to step on, potentially avoiding stepping on the fielder’s foot and causing unwanted injuries.
In this USA Today article, the bigger bases have already been tested in the minors and were 18 inches square instead of 15.
The bigger bases will actually help fielders, too, especially those turning double plays at second base.