Baseball Pinch Runner Rules

What are Pinch Runners?

In Major League Baseball, a pinch runner is a baseball player who serves as a substitute runner for another baseball player. A pinch runner will substitute any player active on a base. A pinch runner can be substituted at any base, but, in some extraneous circumstances, a pinch runner can be activated between two bases if a player is intended to arrive successfully at the next base but cannot finish the run due to an attained injury.

The player who is replaced by the pinch runner is out of the game indefinitely.

If a pinch runner is used to replace a designated hitter, the pinch runner then becomes the new designated hitter for the rest of the game. However, in the MLB, this is only applicable to teams in the American League which allow designated hitters on their roster.

Pinch Running Statistics

Legally speaking in baseball, whoever touches home plate scores, so if a pinch runner crosses home plate, the pinch runner is credited with the score. This is credited as "Runs Scored" which can be abbreviated as "Runs" or "R."

Additionally, if a player is positioned as a pinch runner, any game played in that position is not counted in that baseball player's statistics. This interrupts players' active streaks.

However, there are many fans who resent the fact that being in this position interrupts players' active streaks. A small facet of fans wish for the MLB to include games where the player pinch runs especially if the player ends up scoring.

What Do Pinch Runners do in the Defensive Positions?

When a pinch runner's team transitions into defense, the pinch runner will do one of three things:

  1. The pinch runner will be replaced by a defensive substitute.
  2. The pinch runner will take the defensive position of the original player they replaced.
  3. The pinch runner will take a different position on the field which will require other defensive substitutions to occur.

When Would You Use a Pinch Runner?

Pinch runners step in for players after they successfully reach first base to take over the physical running of the bases for the original batter. A skill that is seen as desirable amongst pinch runners is speed, and some pinch runners are known for their stride and ability to steal bases.

What's the Difference Between a Pinch Runner and a Pinch Hitter?

Pinch hitters are typically inserted into the game to replace weaker batters such as pitchers at home plate. Unlike pinch hitters, pinch runners do not need to be strong batters. In layman's terms, pinch hitters need to be strong batters first and fast runners second. Basically, pinch runners just need to be fast and avoid getting tagged.

Pinch runners hardly have statistics kept on them, and many people consider it to be the least glamorous position in baseball. With pinch hitters, statistics are much more thoroughly kept and even have their own baseball slag for singles, doubles, triples, and home runs scored by pinch hitters.