Major League Baseball is going to look different in 2023.
The bases will be bigger, defensive shifts won’t be allowed and a pitch clock will be enforced.
But will all of those changes also be in effect during the 2023 World Baseball Classic?
Ahead of the tournament, here’s everything you need to know about the rules for this year’s World Baseball Classic.
Can MLB players play in the World Baseball Classic?
MLB players are allowed to participate in the World Baseball Classic and this year’s tournament is loaded with star talent from the bigs.
How many teams qualify for the World Baseball Classic?
Previous editions of the WBC featured 16 teams, but this year’s event will involve 20.
Who qualifies for the World Baseball Classic?
The 16 teams that competed in the 2017 WBC automatically qualified for the 2023 tournament. The other four spots, which went to the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Nicaragua and Panama, were earned through qualifying tournaments.
Is there a DH at the World Baseball Classic?
Just like MLB, there is a designated hitter in the WBC.
Are defensive shifts allowed in the World Baseball Classic?
Bad news for pull-hitters: defensive shifts are permitted in the WBC.
Are there bigger bases in the World Baseball Classic?
The bigger bases that will debut in MLB this season won’t make an appearance in the WBC.
Are there extra innings in the World Baseball Classic?
Not only is the controversial extra-innings rule reportedly here to stay in MLB, but it’s also going to be enforced in the WBC. If a WBC game is still tied after nine innings, a runner will be placed on second base at the beginning of each half-inning. The “ghost runner” placed on base is whichever player made the last out in the previous inning.
What is the mercy rule in the World Baseball Classic?
A mercy rule will go into effect during the first round if:
- A team is leading by 15 or more runs after five innings
- A team is leading by 10 or more runs after seven innings
There is no mercy rule during the knockout rounds.
What are the pitch count rules in the World Baseball Classic?
There are restrictions on how many pitches a player can throw and how often they can be used.
The pitch count regulations are different for each stage of the tournament:
- 65 pitches per game in the first round
- 80 pitches per game in the quarterfinals
- 95 pitches per game in the semifinals and final
If a pitch count is reached during the middle of an at-bat, the pitcher is allowed to exceed it to complete the at-bat.
For pitcher usage, these guidelines have to be followed:
- If a pitcher throws 50 or more pitches, at least four days must pass until he pitches again
- If a pitcher throws 30 or more pitches, at least one day must pass until he pitches again
- If a pitcher pitches on consecutive days, at least one day must pass until he pitches again
Is there a three-batter minimum rule in the World Baseball Classic?
The three-batter minimum rule for pitchers will be in place for the WBC. Barring injury, a pitcher must either face at least three batters or record the final out of an inning before being replaced.
Is there a pitch clock in the World Baseball Classic?
A pitch clock will not be enforced in the WBC.
Is there replay review in the World Baseball Classic?
MLB’s replay review rules are being applied in the WBC. Managers will have one challenge per game and retain it if the first challenge is successful.
In the semifinals and final, each team will have two challenges per game.
What are the World Baseball Classic tiebreakers?
The two teams with the best winning percentage in each pool will advance to the knockout rounds. In the event of a tie, these tiebreakers will be used:
- Head-to-head record
- Lowest quotient of runs allowed divided by the number of defensive outs recorded in the games between the tied teams
- Lowest quotient of earned runs allowed divided by the number of defensive outs recorded in the games between the tied teams
- Highest batting average in games between the tied teams
- Drawing of lots