Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The 2023 MLB season will introduce three new rule changes, including a 15-second pitch timer, ban on defensive shifts for infielders, and the use of larger bases.
MLB said that a ban on defensive shifts is intended to create more action, give players opportunities to showcase their athleticism and offset the growing trend of alignments that feature four outfielders.
Two infielders must be positioned on each side of second base when the pitch is released, and all four infielders will need to have both feet within the outer boundary of the infield when the pitcher is on the rubber. They may only switch sides unless if there is a substitution.
During an appearance on “Dodger Talk” with David Vassegh of AM 570 L.A. Sports, Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Evan Phillips believes the shift ban will lead to more offense but won’t have as big of an effect on pitchers as some are suggesting:
“I definitely think the banning of the shift is going to have more of an offensive impact. I don’t think it’s going to be major, per se. I think you might see more action on the basepaths, you might see more base hits that sneak through, but I really don’t know if it’s going to be detrimental to pitchers or really turn the pull-lefty hitters into .300 hitters. We’ll see. This is the first time anything like this has been done before. I do think teams will adjust. We can still move our players around. I think we’ll get a good understanding of it in Spring Training. Guys will get a good feel of what it’s going to look like, and we’ll see how it affects the course of a full season.”
When MLB first announced a ban on shifts, the consensus among fans was that more pull-heavy hitters will benefit and hit for a higher average. But as Phillips noted, teams will still be able to move players around and could adjust after they get a better understanding of the rule change.
The great unknown of the three new rule changes coming to MLB this season was previously addressed by Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, who couldn’t say for sure which players will quickly adapt to the pitch timer.
Evan Phillips willing to become Dodgers closer, but not worried about role
Among other topics Phillips discussed is the Dodgers’ void at closer, which he expressed a willingness to take over if asked. The right-hander is coming off a career year in which he went 7-3 with a 1.14 ERA, 1.94 FIP, 0.76 WHIP and two saves across 63 innings pitched (64 games).
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