Major League Baseball officially makes its return with a handful of 2020 MLB betting season rule changes. The coronavirus has birthed a shortened season but that’s not the only change fans can expect ahead of the 2020 MLB season. Below we’ll be covering the biggest changes impacting this year’s action before highlighting the best betting option as the season starts.
2020 MLB Season Changes
MLB Coronavirus Season Changes
The most obvious change is the shortened season. The COVID-19 pandemic took off right as MLB was scheduled to start. And instead of playing a normal 162-game season, teams will now play a shortened 60-game schedule. Furthermore, MLB clubs will only face divisional opponents as well as teams from their corresponding interleague division. For example, the Yankees will play 10-games against each of their fellow AL East teams (40-games total) and an additional 4-games against each team in the NL East (20-games total).
The 2020 MLB regular season officially begins on July 23rd and will end on September 27th. The postseason, which will have the same format we’re accustomed to, will begin on September 29th. The World Series will subsequently start on October 20th. Check out our odds to win the World Series if you’re interested in making your opening day prediction.
There has been a change to roster sizes. Originally rosters were set to be increased from 25 to 26, before COVID took off. Now, thanks to the three-month layoff, MLB has allowed teams to carry 30-players on their active rosters for the first two weeks of the season. Afterwards, they’ll be allowed 28-players for two weeks before rosters are trimmed down to 26 – where it will stay for the rest of the season.
However, there aren’t the only changes MLB betting fans can expect ahead of the season. Below we’ll outline changes that were already set to be implemented amongst other things.
MLB Rule Changes Ahead of 2020
The DH rule was implemented by the American League in 1973, and has been used in AL parks since. Moving forward, the rule will be used in National League games as well. Ultimately this rule is used to avoid overworking pitchers by having them hit. It will be in place in 2020 and could return following the new CBA in 2022.
Heading into the season, teams were mandated to place pitchers on the 15-day IL (injured list), position players on the 10-day IL, plus the normal 60-day list and 7-day concussion list would also be available. Now there won’t be a 15-day IL, so pitchers will be using the 10-day one instead. Plus the 60-day has been trimmed down to 45-day and the MLB has added a COVID-19 IL for players.
MLB attendance had been on the drop in recent years. Last season it averaged a little over 28,000, continuing a dropping trend for the 5th straight year. This season you can expect the stadiums to be empty. Some stats are considering allowing some fans into the stadiums but for the most part we can expect them to be a ghost town.
Minor League Play
Normally MLB clubs had between 7 and 10 affiliates competing in a variety of different leagues. Notwithstanding, official word came down on July 1st stating that the whole minor league season had been canceled. Minor League players not on a teams’ 40-player roster were eligible for the 60-player pool. Therefore we’ll be seeing some minor leaguers train at MLB clubs’ alternate training sites. Major League Baseball will also be cutting 40 minor league affiliates in 2021.
In the event of a tie, teams used to continue playing under the same rule set until someone came out on top. This led to some rather lengthy games. For example, last season we saw the Mets and Brewers go 18 innings only to have New York lose 4-3.
So to introduce a change, overtime will now begin each extra inning with a runner already on 2nd base. This runner, placed at the start of each half-inning, will be drawn from the batting list. In theory he’ll be the batter that went before the batter that’s set to start the half-inning.
If you’re a big fan of innings betting check out our action on MLB scores in 1st inning.
Before there wasn’t any restriction on a pitcher facing a set number of batters. This resulted in a rise of specialist relievers and various pitching changes in a single inning. This generally slowed the pace of the game making it choppy at times.
Now the MLB has implemented a rule requiring a relieving pitcher to face at least three batters. Exceptions include finishing an inning or an injury. There is some debate surrounding this rule and many doubt it will do any good.
Checkout our MLB regular season prop bets if you’re interested in backing a particular pitcher.
The history of the MLB is riddled with arguments between managers and umpires. Nevertheless, the use of replay has severely mitigated the need for this feuds. Moving forward, the MLB is hampering down on any unnecessary physical contact. Players and managers are not allowed to leave their position to argue or come within a 6-feet radius of an umpire.
The same restriction also applies to players. They cannot come within 6-feet of one another for an argument or altercation. Violating this restriction will result in immediate ejection, fines and suspensions.
MLB used to be synonymous with chewing tobacco, gum or sunflower seeds. Now the MLB is forbidding spitting of any kind, including saliva. Furthermore, pitchers will not be allowed to lick their fingers before throwing. If they want moisture to better their grip, they’ll have to carry a wet rag to the mound. Masks in dugouts will be mandated as well as social distancing.
Trade deadline has been pushed back to August 31st. Only players on the 60-man pool are eligible to be dealt so don’t expect to see any minor league players getting traded. After all, no minor league play makes it difficult to size these guys up.
Stay tuned for more 2020 MLB betting season rule changes as the season progresses here at BetUS.