MLB Players

MLB Average Length Of Game By Year Since 2010

By Roshan Khatiwada / 13 September 2023 04:28 AM

Alex, after smashing his third walk-off of the year
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MLB average length of game by year varies in different seasons. The average time of a major league game in 2023 is dropped to 2 hours and 41 minutes.

Each inning in baseball is split into two halves. In the first half, the away team bats, whereas the home team fields and vice versa.

The fielding side must make three outs to switch play. When both teams achieve this, the inning is over, and this process continues till the ninth inning.

A two-minute window between each half an inning allows the teams to switch sides. Other than that, there are no timeouts or halftime breaks as in other sports.

The only other instance when the play is stopped is if the manager enters the diamond to either talk to his players or replace a player. The mean time for an inning is twenty minutes.

Game Length In MLB By Year

Average MLB game length by year varies every year. Three hours and eleven minutes was the average length in the 2021 season which is the longest in MLB history.

Here is the list of average game length by year in MLB:

20102 hours and 54 minutes
20173 hours and 8 minutes
20203 hours and 6 minutes
20123 hours
20112 hours and 56 minutes
20163 hours and 4 minutes
20153 hours
20223 hours and 6 minutes
20183 hours and 4 minutes
20133 hours and 4 minutes
20232 hours and 41 minutes (As of 2159 games)
20193 hours and 10 minutes
20143 hours and 7 minutes
20213 hours and 11 minutes
YearAverage Time of a Game

There was a time during the early 1900s when a baseball match used to finish in less than two hours. The first time the mean match length of a season went above two hours in the 20th century was in 1934.

The mean duration of a match from 2010 to 2021 is explained below:

1. 2010

During the 2010 season, the mean time was two hours and fifty-four minutes, a minute less than its predecessor. A total of 2,430 matches were played during that year.

Munchy receives an ice bucket after smashing a walk-off grandslam
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If excluding the 220 extra-inning matches, the average for a nine-inning match was four minutes less. More than 2,300 home runs were scored in the year.

2. 2011

The following year the mean duration increased by two minutes, reaching two hours and fifty-six minutes. There were a total of 2,429 matches, including 237 extra-inning matches.

3. 2012

The 2012 season saw the mean duration touch the three-hour mark for only the second time in MLB history. However, the time of a nine-inning match was two hours and fifty-five minutes, five less than the match length.

A total of 2,430 matches were played during the year.

4. 2013

The mean length again went up by four minutes in the 2013 season. The mean duration of nine innings was still below the three-hour mark.

A record-breaking 242 extra-inning matches were played out of 2,431 matches during the year.

5. 2014

In the 2014 season, the time again increased for the fourth straight time, reaching three hours and seven minutes, and this year also marked the first-ever season when the mean length of nine-inning matches was above the three-hour mark.

6. 2015

A significant reduction in time for a match happened in 2015. There was a seven-minute decrease in the time required to complete a game.

The mean nine-inning duration was reduced from three to two hours and fifty-six minutes.

7. 2016

Ryan scored two homers for the Orioles on 3rd May 2023
Source : instagram

Although the duration had decreased the previous year, it could not continue that trend. The mean again went to three hours and four minutes.

The nine-inning mean duration also reached three hours.

8. 2017

In the 2017 season, another four minutes were added to the previous year's total. There was also an increase of five minutes in the nine-inning time frame.

The season had 2,430 matches, including 182 that reached extra-innings.

9. 2018

In 2018, there was a decrease of four and five minutes in the average and average nine-inning games, respectively. Almost nine percent of the 2,431 matches reached extra innings throughout the season.

10. 2019

The mean match duration during 2019 was three hours and ten minutes. The nine-inning mean was five minutes less than that of the match.

There were 2,429 matches which included 208 extra innings. 

11. 2020

The average length of a game was three hours and six minutes. However, the sample size is significantly less compared to other years.

Only 898 matches were played due to the pandemic. This was the first time that the duration of a nine-inning match was higher than the overall mean.

There was a difference of one minute.

12. 2021

The first entire season after the COVID-19 pandemic saw the mean duration increase by five minutes. An average of 9.06 runs were scored at 74.8 plate appearances during a game in 2021.

Ohtani catching up with his national team colleague
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Average MLB Game Length 2023

MLB average game length 2023 for a nine-inning game is two hours and thirty-nine minutes. This was a result of a new pitch clock rule implemented by MLB.

The match duration was getting longer each year, with the last eleven seasons recording a mean match time of over three hours. This was when MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred decided to step in.

MLB has tested a pitch clock system in the minor league for the last few quarters. The system was quite successful in the lower league system.

Kim blasts one onto the stand for a homer
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So from the start of the 2023 season, the same system was also applied to the major league. As a result, the mean match time was reduced by a significant margin of twenty-five minutes.

This is the first time the duration has been this low since 1981. This number is out of the first 2159 matches of the year, which includes 181 matches that reached extra innings.

The new system implements a thirty-second timer between batters, a 15-second timer for the pitcher with empty bases, and 20 for runners on bases.

If a batter is not on the box within eight seconds, the clock is violated, and the batter is charged with a strike. Similarly, if a pitcher fails to start his motion to throw the ball within his time frame, he is charged with a ball in the count.

The main aim of introducing the pitch clock is to increase the action and pace of the match.

MLB Game Length In 2022

Average length of MLB game 2022 was three hours and six minutes. The length was less than the previous year but was still above the three-hour mark.

The mean time for a nine-inning match was three minutes less than that of the match. It was the 11th straight year when the mean was above three hours.

This, when compared to the current year, is very high. This vast difference between these two years is the new pitch rule implemented from the start of the 2023 season.

Valdez smashes his first-ever homer in the major league
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There are clear signs of increasing action when comparing the 2022 and 2023 seasons. The new rule has increased batting mean and stolen bases

Out of the first 241 steal attempts this year, 196 were successful. The 81 percent rate, a sixteen percent increase from last year, is an all-time high in MLB history.

Almost all of the aspects of the match have increased slightly. Runs scored per match, hits, RBIs, slugging percentage, and home runs are among some areas that have increased, making the sport more exciting.

The only batting statistic lower than the 2022 season is a triple, which has decreased from 0.13 to 0.12.

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