Baccellieri: Minor League Baseball’s new extra-innings rule turns rulebook into nonsense

From Emma Baccellieri at Deadspin on March 15, 2018, with mention of SABR member Stew Thornley:

A few weeks after Major League Baseball announced a series of surface-level rule changes aimed at improving pace of play, Minor League Baseball has announced that it’ll start experimenting with something more significant. During extra-inning games this season, a runner will automatically be placed on second base to start each inning after the ninth. (If this sounds familiar, it’s similar to what the World Baseball Classic used last year.) Ideally, this would speed up extra-inning games and pump in some excitement; practically, it seems like it’ll lead to an awful lot of sac bunts.


That’s what the rulebook gives you on this. What about the scorecard? How do you score a situation with a man suddenly on second, courtesy of an error that can’t be attributed to anyone in particular? The exact strategy and style of scoring is always highly personalized, sure, but the foundation of the whole thing is still pretty constant. Everyone’s modifying and adding onto the same basic structures. So what’s the best move when that basic structure hasn’t yet been built?

Stew Thornley, chair of the Society of American Baseball Research’s official scoring committee, considered the question while working as an official scorer during the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

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Originally published: March 15, 2018. Last Updated: March 15, 2018.