2023 World Baseball Classic rules and regulations
On or before February 7, 2023, each Federation Team shall submit to WBCI a proposed Final Roster of no more than 30 players, each of whom must have been on that Federation Team’s Available Player List, plus one manager and seven uniformed coaches. An approved Final Roster shall include at least 14 pitchers and at least two catchers.
Designated Pitcher Pool
Each Federation Team may identify a designated pool of 10 pitchers who are eligible to participate in one or more consecutive rounds. The list is submitted to WBCI at the time the Provisional and Final rosters are due. For the Federation Team to utilize the Designated Pitcher Pool, the Federation Team’s Final Roster shall include one or two pitchers from the pool. If no pitcher is listed from the pool, on their submitted roster to WBCI, the Federation Team is prohibited from using the Designated Pitcher Pool for the remainder of the Tournament. Once the pool pitcher is named on a Tournament roster and subsequently removed prior to the next round, the pitcher is no longer eligible to participate. After each round of the Tournament, any pitcher from an advancing Federation’s Designated Pitcher Pool may be replaced on the Federation’s Final Roster with another pitcher from that Federation’s Designated Pitcher Pool, provided that no member of the Designated Pitcher Pool may be added back to his Federation’s Final Roster once he has been replaced by another member of the Designated Pitcher Pool. Affiliated members of the Designated Pitcher Pool who are not included on their federation’s Roster for a given round of the Tournament should report to or remain with their Major League Club, as directed by the Club. If the pitcher being replaced is an affiliated pitcher, he must return to his Major League Club’s Spring Training camp once he is no longer an active member of the Federation’s 30-man roster.
Each player on a Federation Team’s approved Provisional Roster must be eligible to participate for that Federation Team. A player will be so eligible only if:
• The player previously appeared on a Federation Team’s final roster at the start of either a World Baseball Classic Qualifier or Tournament round; or
• The player is a citizen of the Federation Team’s country or territory, as evidenced by a valid passport the player holds as of three months prior to the start of the Tournament; or
• The player is currently a permanent legal resident of the Federation Team’s country or territory, as evidenced by documentation satisfactory to WBCI and the World Baseball Softball Confederation (“WBSC”), or
• The player was born in the Federation Team’s country or territory, as evidenced by a birth certificate or its equivalent; or
• The player has at least one parent who is, or if deceased was, a citizen of the Federation Team’s country or territory, as evidenced by a passport or other documentation satisfactory to WBCI and the WBSC; or
• The player has at least one parent who was born in the Federation Team’s country or territory, as evidenced by a birth certificate or its equivalent; or
• The player presents documentary evidence satisfactory to WBCI that he would be granted citizenship or a passport in due course under the laws of the Federation Team’s country or territory (excluding any requirement of the Federation Team’s country that the player would need to renounce his current citizenship), if he were to apply for such citizenship or passport.
Player Restrictions Per MLB Club
WBCI will not approve a player’s participation in the Tournament if such participation would cause an MLB Club to have more than 15 players from its organization, or more than 10 of its players who were on any MLB Club’s Major League Active or Injured List as of August 31, 2022, unless the MLB Club informs WBCI in writing that it has no objection to allowing additional players to participate. Notwithstanding the foregoing, WBCI will retain the discretion to determine whether an otherwise eligible player is ineligible to participate in the Tournament on the basis that such participation would pose an undue burden on his Club (e.g., a Club has its top five starting pitchers electing to participate). If limits of player participation from an MLB Club are reached, WBCI will choose which players will participate, guided by the principle that Federation Teams' rosters that have fewer available MLB affiliated players will be given priority.
A Federation Team may replace a player, manager or coach on its Final Roster if the player, manager or coach is injured and WBCI confirms that the player, manager or coach has a specific injury or ailment that renders the player, manager or coach unable to continue to participate in all or part of the Tournament.
A player so designated as injured shall be ineligible to participate in any further Tournament games. A Federation Team may replace on its Final Roster a player designated as injured with another player who had appeared on that Federation Team’s Available Player List. A pitcher designated as injured may be replaced only by a pitcher and a player designated as injured who is other than a pitcher may be replaced only by a player other than a pitcher. A catcher who is designated as injured may be replaced only by a catcher, if the injured catcher would otherwise cause the Federation Team to have fewer than two catchers. A Federation Team must provide a written request for replacement, in a reasonable amount of time, to a person designated by WBCI and receive the approval of WBCI before such replacement appears in a Tournament game.
If a player other than a catcher is injured in the First Round of the Tournament, no replacement for such player shall play until the beginning of the next round of the Tournament. If a player other than a catcher is injured in the Quarterfinal Round of the Tournament, no replacement for such player shall play until the Semi-Finals of the Tournament. If a player is injured in the Semi-Finals of the Tournament, no replacement for such player shall be permitted. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this paragraph, if the injured player is a catcher who would otherwise cause the Federation Team to have fewer than two catchers, then the replacement catcher may play beginning with the next game in all circumstances.
Bereavement/Family Medical Emergency/Paternity Leave
A Federation Team may request that a player be given Bereavement / Family Medical Emergency / Paternity Leave. No player may be given Bereavement / Family Medical Emergency / Paternity Leave unless such player is unable to render services because of the serious or severe illness or death of a member of such player’s immediate family (spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, child or grandchild), of such player’s spouse’s immediate family or such other family member as WBCI determines is in keeping with the spirit of this Bereavement / Family Medical Emergency Leave policy. No player may be given Paternity Leave unless that player is the father of a child whose delivery or adoption is imminent or has occurred within the prior 48 hours.
The minimum period of Bereavement / Family Medical Emergency Leave shall be three consecutive days and the maximum period of Bereavement / Family Medical Emergency Leave shall be seven consecutive days, during which time the player is not permitted to be with the Federation Team. The minimum period of Paternity Leave shall be one day and the maximum period of placement shall be three consecutive days, during which time the player is not permitted to be with the Federation Team.
A player given Bereavement / Family Medical Emergency / Paternity Leave may be replaced on the Final Roster by another player who had appeared on that Federation Team’s approved Available Player List. A pitcher given Bereavement / Family Medical Emergency / Paternity Leave may be replaced only by a pitcher and a player other than a pitcher may be replaced only by a player other than a pitcher. Such replacement shall be subject to the same game and Final Roster restrictions above to which the player he is replacing was subject. Upon expiration of a player’s Bereavement / Family Medical Emergency / Paternity Leave, such player shall be reinstated to the Final Roster, the player who replaced the player given leave shall be removed from the Final Roster and the returning player shall likewise be subject to the same game and Final Roster restrictions to which the player who replaced him would otherwise have been subject. If replacement of a player on Bereavement / Family Medical Emergency / Paternity Leave would otherwise cause a Federation Team’s Final Roster to have fewer than two catchers, then any replacement shall be a catcher.
All Tournament games shall be played according to the provisions of the 2022 Official Baseball Rules, as supplemented by these Rules.
• Three Batter Minimum: For the avoidance of doubt, the “Three Batter Minimum” rule contained in Official Baseball Rule 5.10 shall be enforced during World Baseball Classic games.
• Mound Visits: Official Baseball Rule 5.10(m) in regard to limitations on the number of mound visits per game, is not adopted for Tournament games.
• Designated Hitter: Official Baseball Rule 5.11 in regard to the use of the designated hitter, is adopted for Tournament games.
• Replay Regulations: Replay Review will be utilized as set forth in Major League Baseball Replay Regulations, as may be amended by WBCI. Any such amendments shall be communicated to the Clubs in advance of any relevant games.
• Pitch Timer, Base Sizes, Restriction on Shifts: The Official Baseball Rules adopted for 2023 regarding the Pitcher Timer, base sizes and restrictions on defensive positioning is not adopted for Tournament Games.
Pitcher Use Limitations
The Official Baseball Rules shall be supplemented for Tournament games played by a Federation Team, as follows:
A pitcher must:
• Not pitch until a minimum of four days have passed since he last pitched, if he threw 50 or more pitches when he last pitched;
• Not pitch until a minimum of one day has passed since he last pitched, if he threw 30 or more pitches when he last pitched;
• Not pitch until a minimum of one day has passed since any second consecutive day on which the pitcher pitched;
The aggregate number of pitches thrown in two successive games over two days is not used to determine pitcher rest restrictions.
• Throw no more than
o 65 pitches per game in the First Round of the Tournament;
o 80 pitches per game in the Quarterfinal Round of the Tournament; and
o 95 pitches per game in the Championship Round of the Tournament;
o unless the pitcher needs more to complete a batter’s plate appearance; and
• Throw no more than
o 49 pitches per exhibition game for a Federation Team, or the maximum number of pitches that WBCI sets forth for such pitcher for such exhibition game, whichever is less, if the pitcher is under reserve to an MLB Club. WBCI may set forth such a maximum upon the written request of the pitcher’s MLB Club.
No position player (i.e., a player other than a pitcher) who is an Affiliated Player shall be permitted to pitch for a Federation Team in (1) an exhibition game, under any circumstances, or (2) a Tournament game, unless the Game Operations Technical Committee has first given such World Baseball Classic Federation Team permission to do so in such Tournament game. Other than the foregoing, there shall be no restrictions on the use of position players (the restriction on position players appearing in a game as a pitcher contained in Official Baseball Rule 4.03(c)(4) is not adopted for Tournament games).
For purposes of the pitcher use limitation rules, both Semi-Final games shall be deemed to have been played on the day of the latest Semi-Final game.
For purposes of pitch count limitations, pitches thrown for the purpose of effectuating an intentional walk shall not count against the overall pitch limits. If a pitcher reaches the maximum limit of pitches in a game during a batter’s plate appearance, the pitcher may continue in the game until such plate appearance or the inning ends, whichever comes first.
Early Termination for Large Leads
The umpire-in-chief shall call a regulation game in the First Round of the Tournament and award the victory to the Federation Team that is ahead whenever:
• Such Federation Team is ahead by 10 or more runs after any complete inning, beginning with the completion of the seventh inning; or
• Such Federation Team is ahead by 15 or more runs after any complete inning, beginning with the completion of the fifth inning.
For any inning beginning with the 10th inning, the Federation Team at bat shall begin the inning with a runner on second base. The batter who leads off an inning shall continue to be the batter who would lead off the inning in the absence of this extra-innings rule. The runner on second base shall be the player (or a substitute for such player) in the batting order immediately preceding the batter who leads off the inning.
By way of example, if the #5 hitter in the batting order is due to lead off the 10th inning, the #4 player in the batting order (or a pinch-runner for such player) shall begin the inning on second base. Any runner or batter removed from the game for a substitute shall be ineligible to return to the game, as is the case in all circumstances under the Official Baseball Rules. For purposes of calculating earned runs under the Official Baseball Rule 9.16(b), the runners who begin an inning on second base pursuant to this rule each shall be deemed to be runners who have reached base because of a fielding error, but no error shall be charged to the opposing Federation Team or to any player.
Official Baseball Rules 9.17(a)(1) and 9.17(b) shall not apply to Tournament games. Instead, Official Baseball Rule 9.17(e) shall apply to the determination of the winning pitcher of each Tournament game.
Video Replay Review
Replay Review will be utilized as set forth in the Major League Baseball Replay Regulations, except that, for the Championship Round games, the manager shall be entitled to two (2) replay challenges and shall be entitled to one (1) replay challenge for all other games.
For Round One, the participating Federation Teams are assigned and ranked in each Pool based on the following criteria:
• First, the Federation representing each Pool’s host country will be assigned.
• Second, the team(s) that participated in the final four of the 2017 World Baseball Classic will next be assigned as top seeds for each Pool
• Finally, the remaining teams will be assigned based on December 31, 2021, WBSC rankings in order to guaranteed competitive balance. Commercial, geographic and geopolitical considerations may also be applied to this process.
As such, the Pool list and rankings are as follows:
Pool A – Taipei
• Chinese Taipei
Pool B – Tokyo
• Czech Republic
Pool C – Phoenix
• United States of America
• Great Britain
Pool D – Miami
• Puerto Rico
• Dominican Republic
The home and away team designations have been determined based on the Pool rankings and each team will get the following home and away games:
• Team #1: will receive three home games and one away game
• Team #2: will receive two home games and two away games
• Team #3: will receive two home games and two away games
• Team #4: will receive two home games and two away games
• Team #5: will receive one home game and three away games
In each pool in the First Round, home team designations, for purposes of the Official Baseball Rules, shall be as follows, without any regard to the sequence of games played:
• Team 2 visitor, Team 1 home;
• Team 4 visitor, Team 3 home;
• Team 5 visitor, Team 2 home;
• Team 1 visitor, Team 3 home;
• Team 2 visitor, Team 4 home;
• Team 4 visitor, Team 1 home;
• Team 3 visitor, Team 2 home;
• Team 5 visitor, Team 4 home;
• Team 3 visitor, Team 5 home;
• Team 5 visitor, Team 1 home;
In each Quarterfinal game, the home team designation will be given to each of the Round One pool winners. Each of the Round One pool runner-up teams will be designated as the visiting team.
In each Championship Round game, which includes the Semi-Finals and Final game, the Federation Teams with the higher winning percentage of games in the Tournament shall be the home team. If the Federation Teams competing in the Championship game have identical winning percentages in the Tournament, then WBCI shall conduct a coin flip to determine the home team.
Pool Play and Tie-Breaking Procedures
First Round: In the First Round, the teams in each pool shall be ranked according to the percentages of games won in the First Round. The two teams with the highest such percentages in each pool shall advance to the Quarterfinal Round. If at the end of pool play in Round One of the Tournament, teams within a pool are tied with an identical winning percentage, the tie shall be broken in the following order of priority:
• The team that won the games between the teams tied shall be given the higher position. If three or more teams are tied and one of those teams won its games against all other teams it is tied with, then it will be placed in the higher spot. Similarly, if one of those tied teams lost its games against all other teams it is tied with, then it will be placed in the lowest spot.
• The tied teams shall be ranked in the standings according to the lowest quotient of fewest runs allowed divided by the number of defensive outs recorded in the games in that round between the teams tied.
• The tied teams shall be ranked in the standings according to the lowest quotient of fewest earned runs allowed divided by the number of defensive outs recorded in the games in that round between the teams tied.
• The tied teams shall be ranked in the standings according to the highest batting average in games in that round between the teams tied.
• Standings shall be determined by the drawing of lots, conducted by WBCI.
WBCI will implement the following team relegation plan after the 2023 World Baseball Classic Tournament. The 16 highest-ranked teams of the tournament will receive an automatic invitation to the following World Baseball Classic Tournament. The last placed team in each First Round Pool after the competition of the 2023 tournament will be relegated to the Qualifier Round.
All disputes between and among players and Federation Teams (other than anti-doping disputes whose resolution is provided for in other agreements among Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association and the World Baseball Softball Confederation) shall be referred to WBCI for decision. WBCI’s decisions shall be accepted by all parties as final.