Major League Baseball recently announced the implementation of the 11th-inning tiebreaker rule to be used in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, as well as during the 2017 Rookie-level Gulf Coast and Arizona League seasons. The rule states that all innings beyond the tenth begin with a runner on second base.
The rule has been used in the Can-Am League since the 2014 season, and as part of International Baseball Federation competition since the 2008 Olympic Games.
“With the Can-Am League’s increasing international flavor, including regular-season games against teams from Cuba and Japan, the 11th-inning rule has brought our league in line with other international competitions over the past three seasons. We’re looking forward to seeing the rule in place at the WBC, one of the game’s largest showcases, as well as in affiliated minor leagues this year,” said Can-Am League Commissioner and Ottawa Champions majority-owner Miles Wolff.
Specifically, beginning in the 11th inning, the player in the batting order immediately preceding that inning’s leadoff hitter is placed on second base. The inning otherwise proceeds as usual, with each team getting a turn at bat. In the WBC, which begins March 7, an additional runner will also be placed on first base to begin the inning.
Should the player(s) starting the inning on base eventually score, it counts in statistics as a run for the player and an RBI for the batter who drove him in (if applicable), but does not count toward the pitcher’s earned-run average.
In the Can-Am League, the rule has been effective in both limiting wear and tear on pitching staffs and reducing the length of extra-inning games. Since 2014, 87% of the league’s extra-inning games have not extended beyond the 11th inning.