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D-backs’ Tim Locastro prepared for new extra inning rule

Arizona Diamondbacks' Ketel Marte (4) celebrates with Tim Locastro, right, after hitting a two-run home run off Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani in the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The strategy of extra inning games will change significantly during the shortened 2020 Major League Baseball season due to the new rule of a runner beginning each extra frame at second base.

The Arizona Diamondbacks figure to have a decent advantage against other teams when it comes to this rule change with the fastest man in baseball Tim Locastro being on the roster.

“It’s definitely exciting knowing that I can help the team,” said Locastro during a Zoom call with the media on Saturday. 

Having spent over 100 games in the minor leagues over the past two seasons, Locastro has experience with the rule that was enacted at the minor league level prior to the 2018 season.

He recalled during a minor league game last season that he began an extra-inning frame at second base, moved to third base on a bunt and later scored on a sac fly.

“I think there is going to be a bunch of different strategies that we’re going to play around with,” Locastro said. 

One of those possible strategies could be to steal third base.

Locastro has stolen 22 bases in 122 games during his three-year major league career, including one steal of third in 2017, and he’s yet to be thrown out.

The D-backs were the best team in the league last season swiping bags, successfully stealing a base 86% of the time.

Locastro said he and the team have gone over the numbers and determined the chance of scoring with a runner at second base and nobody out is around 60% and the possibility of scoring a run with a runner at third base and run out is approximately 66%.

The team attempted to steal third base four times last season, making it safely three times.

“The situation will dictate whether it’s a pitcher you’re going to be able to steal off of,” Locastro said. 

Whether making it to third through a productive out or by stealing the base, the D-backs were one of the better teams in the league last season cashing in on scoring opportunities.

The D-backs brought home 52.7% of runners who reached third with less than two outs last season, according to Baseball-Reference, good for eighth in the league.

Either way, Locastro is confident in his ability to score if called upon in extra innings.

“I feel any ball that is hit to the outfield I can score on,” Locastro said. 

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