Yankees’ Adam Ottavino: Extra-innings runner rule ‘not real baseball’

Adam Ottavino
Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

New York Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino and his teammate, Chad Green, didn’t mince words when analyzing Major League Baseball’s extra-innings rule this season that would immediately place a runner on second base to start the frame. 

“It’s just not real baseball,” Ottavino said (h/t Kristie Ackert, NY Daily News). “So I’ll get used to it, but uh, I don’t particularly like having a runner out there that I haven’t earned, for him to be out there. So it’s not my favorite rule, to be honest.”

The right-handed hurler got his first taste of the new rule during Tuesday night’s intrasquad game at Yankee Stadium, creating even larger stakes for relievers entering high-leverage situations. 

MLB implemented the rule for the 60-game 2020 season to ensure games end in a timely manner. Considering the schedule is jammed pack with teams playing 60 games in 66 days, the last thing taxed players and relievers need is 12-to-15-inning marathon games with such little rest available. 

While the rule may be in place to protect the players from further wear and tear, it’s not going to help the ERAs and reputations of relievers, who will have little to no margin for error. 

“I’m personally not a fan of it just because I don’t know who wants to pitch with a runner on second, nobody out and in an extra-inning game,” Green added. “So it’s not something that you necessarily look forward to when you’re about to run out there. I think I heard Otto say that he would like the people to earn it when they get on second. I kind of echo that. So it’s not something that I necessarily enjoy.”

When gauging how relievers will succeed under this new rule, the best stat to look at is the percentage of inherited runners — men on base before a hurler is called into his appearance — that said pitcher allowed to score. 

Amongst relievers last season who threw at least 30 innings and inherited 10 or more runners, Green allowed 25% of his 20 inherited runners to score last season while Ottavino allowed 32.43% of his 37 inherited runners to score.

Under such parameters, that ranked Green 42nd out of 110 pitchers and Ottavino 71st.