Don't expect the 2023 MLB rule changes to hinder the Reds too much next season

Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell (25) looks on.
Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell (25) looks on. / Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
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Get ready, Reds Country. There are going to be some changes to the game of baseball next season. While some fans may have varying opinions about the new rules that are set to be implemented in 2023, it's unlikely to negatively affect the Cincinnati Reds in any way.

Starting next season, there will be a pitch timer, larger bases across the diamond, and the infield will no longer be able to load up one side of the infield with three or more defenders.

Major League Baseball's Joint Competition Committee voted in favor of the rule changes on Friday afternoon. There's been experimentation going on throughout the minor leagues this season, and MLB is looking to increase the pace of the play and provide more action on the field.

Don't look for the rule changes to affect the Reds too much in 2023.

Let's break these down one at time, shall we? First, enlarging the bases. The bases will now go from 15 inches to 18 inches. The primary goal of the change is to minimize collisions on the base paths, but those extra three inches could make a big difference when it comes to stolen base attempts.

The Reds have been more aggressive on the bases this season, as the team has 53 steals on the year. Last year, Cincinnati ranked dead-last with 36 stolen bases in 60 attempts. With players like TJ Friedl, Jake Fraley, Jonathan India, and Nick Senzel, the extra few inches might help put more runners in scoring position next season.

The pitch timer has been part of the minor leagues for some time. It's not as if Cincinnati's pitching staff is loaded with veterans. The three rookie starters and those coming up through the farm system will have already been exposed to the 15-20 seconds allotted to deliver the pitch.

Eliminating the shift could affect the Reds defensively, but help them in the batters' box.

Honestly, the biggest rule change that may affect next year's Reds team are limits put on defensive shifts. Beginning next season, all four infielders must have their cleats on the dirt. So don't expect to see Jonathan India in shallow right field.

Furthermore, there can be only two fielders on either side of second base. This rule will surely result in more batted balls getting through the infield and will also allow great athletes, like Jose Barrero, to show off their defensive prowess.

This is the only rule change that may have a negative affect on the Cincinnati Reds, only because the right side of the infield will become a bigger liability. Both Joey Votto and Jonathan India have combined for -17 outs above average. Throw in the Reds two defenders on the left side of the infield, and Cincinnati's infield defense accounts for -21 outs above average.

The changes in the defensive shifts, however, will affect most teams in a similar way. You also have to look at this change from the opposite side. How many ground balls have the Reds hit into the shift this season? How many of those will go for base hits in 2023?

Don't expect too many negatives to come from the recent rules changes that were approved for the 2023 season. The changes should increase the pace of play, the action the field, and defensive web gems as well.

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