Following the lockout, the MLB and MLBPA have instituted a ton of new rules for the 2022 season, with even more to come for the 2023 season. To help you avoid any questions for this upcoming season, I have put together a list of all the new rule changes and what they mean for this season and for the Diamondbacks. These rules should hopefully help baseball and the Dbacks, despite upsetting many pitchers and well fans, especially NL fans.
1. Playoff format has changed from 10 to 12 teams
In an effort to encourage teams to spend more and push for the playoffs, the league has widened the playoff format. Of course, I'm sure owners were enticed by the extra playoff revenue. In this format, it will be eerily similar to the NFL's former playoff format. 6 teams per league with 3 division winners and 3 wild cards. The Wild Card game is no longer. Replacing it is an exciting 3-game series between the lowest division winner and the lowest Wild Card seed, and another 3-game series between the highest and 2nd Wild Card teams. The winners of those series will then move onto a 5-game series facing the top-two division winners. The seeding will be based on their record. Then the 7-game Championship and 7-game World Series. A sad fact is that there will no longer be a tiebreaking game, being replaced with a mathematical formula to solve ties.
2. The Trade Deadline is no longer July 31st.
For years, the end of July has signaled the trade deadline, but now the commissioner can set the date ranging from July 26th to August 4th. This year, the Trade Deadline will be Tuesday, August 2nd at 3 PM Arizona Time.
3. Pitchers hitting? No more Greinke at the plate
Sadly, the MLB has gotten rid of pitchers hitting, unless your Ohtani or want MadBum to hit for a particular game. The entire MLB will have the DH in play for the first time in history. At least this means that we get to see Seth Beer smash baseballs all year long!
4. The "Ohtani" rule
To fix the issue of not allowing pitchers to hit and the fact that when a pitcher would leave the game, they wouldn't keep hitting, the league has fixed that for the Angles specifically. On days when Ohtani or another pitcher that hits is starting, he can stay on as the DH after leaving the game as a pitcher.
5. Ghost Runner is back for 2022
I'm fine with the Ghost Runner if they were to start it in say the 11th or 12th, but not the 10th. However, over fears that due to a shortened Spring Training causing more injuries potentially, the league is going to have a runner on 2nd base to start all extra innings. How does that runner get on 2nd? Well, it's the runner that got the last out to end that team's previous at-bat. He reaches base due to a "team error" that doesn't get counted. If the runner scores, it's classified as an RBI but a run that scores due to error so as to not mess with the Pitcher's stats.
6. 7-inning doubleheaders are gone!
That's right, no more 7-inning doubleheaders as the league goes back to the traditional 9-inning games. Due to the schedule being pushed back a week, every team will have at least 3 double-headers this year to make up for those lost games.
7. Rosters are expanded to start the season
Once again, to protect from injury, MLB rosters are expanding from 26 to 28 to start the season until May 2nd. After May 2nd, the rosters will go back to 26 before expanding once again in September. Unlike on the 26-man roster where you only get 13 pitchers, teams can have an unlimited amount of pitchers on the 28-man roster.
8. Sign Stealing meets PitchCom
Remember the days of catchers with painted nails and pitchers pulling notecards out of their hats to look at different signs to prevent sign stealing? Well, the MLB has approved the use of PitchCom, a technology similar to what the NFL uses to communicate plays to the QB. The catcher wears a device on his wrist where he presses a button for a certain pitch and location. This device sends a worded message over signals to the pitcher, SS, 2nd Baseman, and CF'er who are all wearing earpieces. Teams aren't required to use it, but many will including some Diamondbacks pitchers.
9. Get ready to hear the umps voice
Just like the NFL, with all challenges in the MLB going forward, the head ump will announce to the crowd what is being reviewed and why. Then, he will announce what the ruling on the review is. This is to provide clarity to fans who often question what is exactly being reviewed and why they chose that decision. I'm sure it will be awkward at first, but I think it's about time this happens.