The tweaks to the rule changes, as outlined in an MLB memo obtained by ESPN, came after input from the MLB Players Association and the joint competition committee. While the rule changes were criticized by some union officials and players, the input didn’t lead to any huge changes and were more in the way of clarifying existing rules than looking to overhaul anything already implemented this spring. Yes, broadly speaking, the pace of play rules will hold true this season: pitchers will have 15 seconds to deliver a pitch with the bases empty and 20 seconds to deliver a pitch with runners on base, with the batter required to be in the box and ready to receive a pitch with eight seconds left on the clock. There are now some circumstances where umps have discretion to turn off clocks–like when a catcher is the final out of the inning and needs time to put on equipment, or when the pitcher ends up far from the mound when fielding.
In addition, bat boys and bat girls will undergo evaluation by MLB officials, who will have the power to order teams to replace any “substandard” performers. No pressure there.
We expect the MLB rules experiments for MiLB teams to be announced in early April.