Position players pitching has become a novel trend in Major League Baseball. Typically, we see teams implement this strategy in the regular season in lopsided games in order to provide some kind of jolt for the upcoming days. After all, the regular season is a grind and anything to raise morale helps.
But sometimes there are situations in which a position player may need to pitch in the playoffs. While the best of the best are in the playoffs, there are countless examples of lopsided games in which a team could benefit from throwing a position player out there. It would allow a team to save its pitchers for the rest of a series, which could be a huge advantage.
Game 1 of the 2023 NLDS between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks presents this exact opportunity. Clayton Kershaw was hit around the yard for six runs in the first inning and after two innings of play, the Dodgers trailed 9-0. With MLB's new rules for position players pitching, it raised a popular question for Dodgers fans who want to preserve the bullpen for the rest of the series.
Can position players pitch in the MLB Playoffs?
Yes, position players can pitch in the MLB Playoffs. MLB established new rules for position players pitching in 2023 but none of those rules outlawed the use of a position player on the mound in the MLB Playoffs.
Certain requirements must be met as part of the new rules, though. Teams with the lead have to be up by 10 or more runs in the ninth inning to use a position player on the mound. Trailing teams, however, only have to be trailing by eight runs and can use a position player at any point.
In theory, the Dodgers could have thrown a position player on the mound as early as the third inning. The Dodgers didn't exactly go that route but if they desperately needed to save pitchers for the rest of the series the team could have.