Shohei Ohtani impacted by MLB rule changes in 2022

Major League Baseball made some additional rule changes for the 2022 regular season, and at first glance, one could call one rule the Shohei Ohtani rule. The Japanese phenom and American League Most Valuable Player who is a marvelous pitcher and hitter, will now be considered two separate people even though he is actually the same person.

It is ok if this sounds confusing, because Major League Baseball has never had to deal with a superstar of Ohtani like this before. Under the amended rule, “it is not mandatory that a club designate a hitter for the pitcher.”  If a pitcher bats, the manager will list 10 players on the card, with a player named twice as the pitcher and DH. If the pitcher leaves, the player can continue on as a DH, or if the starting DH is replaced, the player can continue on as a pitcher.

Last season Ohtani batted .257 with 46 home runs and 100 runs batted in. He had 103 runs, 138 hits, 26 doubles, a MLB leading eight triples, 26 stolen bases, 96 walks, a .372 on base percentage, .592 slugging percentage, 318 total bases, and two sacrifice flies. On the mound, Ohtani had a record of nine wins and two losses, and an earned run average of 3.18. In 23 games and 130 1/3 innings pitched, he gave up 98 hits, 46 earned runs, 44 walks, and 10 wild pitches.

Remember, under the new collective bargaining agreement, there is a universal designated hitter as pitchers are no longer required to hit in the National League. The designated hitter rule first entered the American League in 1973.

Roster Rules and Extra Inning Rules

There are now new active roster limits. From Opening Day until May 1, there can now be 28 players on the roster, and 29 players for doubleheaders. Also until May 1, there will be a limit of 13 pitchers, while pitchers can go on a 10-day injury list (rather than a 15-day injury list until May 2). The minimum 15-day injury list (which used to be called disabled list), will resume after May 2.

Meanwhile, Major League Baseball will continue with the international baseball type style for extra innings in 2022. That means a runner will leadoff each half inning at second base. The runner will be the last batter on his team from the previous inning.