Dewan: The WBC and the 11th-inning rule

From SABR member John Dewan at ACTA Sports on March 21, 2017:

We still have a few weeks until the MLB season starts, but it almost feels like we are in the middle of a pennant chase thanks to the drama being provided by the World Baseball Classic. There has been a lot of energy in the stadiums, and the games have had quite the combination of offensive explosions and late-inning drama. Seven out of the 38 games through Monday went into extra innings, which is more than double the rate of extra-inning games from the 2016 MLB season.

Part of the reason for the added excitement coming from the WBC is the rule that, starting in the 11th inning, every half-inning starts with runners on first and second base. This is a modified form of the rule that was discussed in the offseason as a possibility for the low minor leagues, one that would have stipulated that after the 10th inning every half-inning would start with a runner on second base. The intent in the context of the WBC is a little bit different from that of the proposed MLB rule because there is added concern about injury risk with limited roster options, but overall there is clearly a desire to cut down on the length of games when possible. An additional benefit comes out of it as well, in that extra-innings contests become even more compelling to watch as the intensity ratchets up with runners on base.

How much of a difference do those two baserunners make?

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Originally published: March 21, 2017. Last Updated: March 21, 2017.