MLB to use its Rookie leagues as a testing ground for new extra-innings rule?Tentative plan is to start extra innings with a runner on second base
The specifics of the new rule are not fully set, but according to Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan, the current idea is that once a game goes to extra innings, each team will start the tenth (and every subsequent inning) with a runner on second base.
A derivation of the rule is used in international baseball and will also be used in this year's World Baseball Classic, and Joe Torre, who is now MLB's Chief Baseball Officer, is a big proponent of the idea.
"Let's see what it looks like," Torre told Passan. "As much as it's nice to talk about being at an 18-inning game, it takes time, and it's not fun to watch when you go through your whole pitching staff and wind up bringing a utility infielder in to pitch."
MLB often uses the Minor Leagues as a testing ground for new ideas, those tests recently including the implementation of a pitch clock. This idea, however, is intended to not only speed up games, but also protect the players as well.
"What really initiated it is sitting in the dugout in the 15th inning and realizing everybody is going to the plate trying to hit a home run and everyone is trying to end the game themselves," Torre told Passan. "I don't know what inning is the right inning, maybe the 11th or 12th, but there are a number of reasons."
The rule change wouldn't be the first extra-innings change in organized baseball for 2017, as the Futures Collegiate Baseball League announced late last month that games tied after 10 innings will forego further extras in favor of a Home Run Derby that could last up to three rounds.