As early as 2017 Major League Baseball may introduce two changes to the official rules aimed at reducing game time and increasing the number of balls put into play, according to a report on ESPN.
The first change, targeted at quickening the game, eliminates the need to throw four balls to issue an intentional walk. A team could just signal the walk and the batter would be awarded first base, a move favored by Red Sox manager John Farrell according to one report.
The second change, which raises the bottom of the strike zone to the top of the hitter’s knees (from its current position at “the hollow beneath the kneecap”), is targeted at improving what Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred refers to as “pace of action” initiatives. Some around baseball are questioning, however, whether such a change would merely result in more walks, not necessarily more action.
To be enacted, the changes would need to be approved by baseball’s Playing Rules Committee.