Shortstop – Wikipedia
The shortstop’s position on the field Shortstop (abbreviated SS) is a baseball or softball fielding position that is located between second and third base and is regarded to be one of the most difficult defensive positions in the game. Historically, the position was allocated to defensive specialists who were often bad at batting and were frequently relegated to the bottom of the batting order to protect their teammates. Today, shortstops are frequently capable of hitting effectively, and many of them are positioned at the top of the order.
Due to the fact that there are more right-handedhitters in baseball than left-handedhitters, and since most batters have a propensity to draw the balls gently, the shortstop fielded the most hit balls of any position in the game.
A shortstop also fields balls hit to the left side of the infield, where a powerful arm is required to throw out batters before they reach the safety of first base, similar to a third baseman.
According to baseball historian John Thorn andBaseball Hall of Fame scholar Freddy Berowski, Doc Adams of the Knickerbockers was the one who conceptualized the shortstop position. During the first five seasons of the Knickerbockers’ existence, the squad consisted of somewhere between eight and eleven players. The sole infielders were the players who covered each of the bases; if there were more than eight players on the field, extra outfielders were sometimes recruited to help with the coverage of the bases.
It was Adams’ shortstop position, which he began playing at some point between 1849 and 1850, that was responsible for fielding throws from the outfielders and throwing to the three infielders.
However, Dickey Pearce, mostly of the Brooklyn Atlantics, is recognized with being the first player to play the shortstop position in the manner in which it is currently played.
He was a member of the squad until 1860.
Instead of having to start every play in the same location (the pitcher must be on thepitcher’s mound with one foot in contact with thepitcher’s rubber, and the catcher must be behind home plate in the catcher’s box), the shortstop and the other fielders can adjust their positions in response to what they anticipate will be the actions of the batter and runner(s) once the play begins. On the third-base side, the shortstop is often positioned near second base on the third-base side. In order to accommodate right-handed batters’ proclivity to smash the ball more toward third base, a shortstop will often shift closer to third base if the batter is hitting right-handed and closer to first base if the batter is batting left-handed.
- This is especially true because the ground balls he fields have frequently traveled a considerable distance.
- It is necessary for shortstops to cover second base.
- They also cover second base when a runner attempts to steal it, but only when a left-handed hitter is at bat.
- When there are runners on first and second and a sacrifice bunt is attempted toward third base, the shortstop must step in away from third base in order to catch the ball.
- Shortstops are often given priority on collecting pop-ups in the infield as well, which results in them calling off other players on a regular basis, however on deep pop-ups they are more likely to fall back if called off by an outfielder on a deep pop-up.
- In some systems, the shortstop may be responsible for cutting balls from left field that are headed home; however, this is often the responsibility of the third baseman.
- Historically, a good shortstop did not have to be a good hitter in order to be effective.
- Teams have been increasingly reliant on players who can play both the field and the plate since the 1960s, and such poor hitters have become increasingly rare since then.
The year in which a player was inducted into the Hall of Fame is shown in brackets following his name.
- Robin Yount began his career as a shortstop before moving to the outfield where he spent his final nine seasons. John Henry Lloyd and Willie Wellswere selected for their play in theNegro leagues
- George Wright was selected as a pioneer but also starred as a shortstop in the 1860s and 1870s
- And George Wright was selected as a pioneer but also starred as a shortstop in the 1860s and 1870s. (Yount earned the MVP award as a shortstop in 1982 and as a centerfielder in 1989, in addition to his shortstop honors in 1982.)
- Ernie Banks spent the first part of his career at shortstop before moving to first base for the remainder.
Multiple Gold Glove Award winners
Omar Vizquel has played in more games at shortstop than any other player in the history of the Major League Baseball.
- Cal Ripken Jr.: 583 (Baltimore Orioles, 1984)
- Whitey Wietelmann: 581 (Boston Braves, 1943)
- Rabbit Maranville: 574 (Boston Braves, 1914)
- Don Kessinger: 573 (Chicago Cubs, 1968)
- Ozzie Smith: 621 (San Diego Padres, 1980)
- Glenn Wright: 601 (Pittsburgh Pirates, 1924)
- Dave Bancroft: 5
The following is the source: (does not list teams)
All-time single season putout leaders among shortstops
- 401 (Philadelphia Phillies, 1898)
- 404 (Philadelphia Phillies, 1906)
- 395 (Chicago White Sox, 1913)
- 392 (Chicago White Sox, 1914)
- Donie Bush: 425 (Detroit Tigers, 1914)
- Hughie Jennings: 425 (Baltimore Orioles, 1895)
- Joe Cassidy: 407 (Boston Braves, 1914)
- Rabbit Maranville: 407
All-time single-season fielding percentage leaders among shortstops
- J. J. Hardy:.9923 (Baltimore Orioles, 2012)
- Tony Fernández.9919 (Toronto Blue Jays, 1989)
- Rey Sánchez:.9915 (Kansas City Royals, 2001)
- Cal Ripken Jr.:.9956 (Baltimore Orioles, 1990)
- Omar Vizquel:.9954 (Cleveland Indians, 2000)
- Rey Ordóez:.9938 (New York Mets, 1999)
Number of seasons with 100+ double plays turned at shortstop (among Hall of Fame shortstops)
- Cal Ripken Jr. has 12, Phil Rizzuto has 8, Lou Boudreau has 6, Ozzie Smith has 5, Luke Appling has 4, Luis Aparicio has 3, Ernie Banks has 3, Travis Jackson has 3, Pee Wee Reese has 2, Arky Vaughan has 2, Dave Bancroft has 1, Joe Cronin has 1, Derek Jeter has 1, Rabbit Maranville has 1, Alan Trammell has 1, Robin Yount has 1
- Cal Ripken Jr. has 1
- Phil Ri
Obtainable via baseballreference.com
- Award wins at shortstop: This is a list of Gold Glove Award winners at shortstop. List of Gold Glove middle infield duos (in alphabetical order)
- ^abc Dr. John Thorn’s article “Doc Adams” was published by the Society for American Baseball Research. Miller, Robert (November 28, 2011)
- Retrieved November 28, 2011
- (September 26, 2009). “The Ridgefield resident who played a role in the invention of baseball.” The News-Times is a newspaper published in New York City. Miller, Robert (November 30, 2011)
- Retrieved November 30, 2011
- (September 26, 2009). Doc Adams’ legacy and the shortstop position are discussed in detail in this article. The News-Times is a newspaper published in New York City. on December 2, 2011
- Retrieved on December 2, 2011
- The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) published a biography of Mickey Pearce in April of 2021. McKenna, Brian. “Dickey Pearce.” SABR. Retrieved 3 April 2021
- John Thorn is the author of this work (2011). Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Untold Story of the First Decade of the Game Publisher: Simon Schuster
- Page number: 106
- ISBN: 978-0-7432-9403-4 Phillip Mahony’s Baseball Explained is available online. McFarland & Company, 2014. See theWayback Machine for further information
- Dave Seminara is a writer who lives in New York City (2010-07-06). “I’ve been associated with ‘The Mendoza Line’ for the rest of my life.” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch published this article. Retrieved January 9, 2013
- “George Brett Statistics and History”. Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved February 13, 2011
- “Mike Schmidt Statistics and History”. Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 9, 2013
- “George Brett Statistics and History”. Baseball-Reference.com. “Single-Season LeadersRecords for Assists as an SS”.Baseball-Reference.com. USA Today Sports Media Group. Retrieved February 13, 2011
- “Single-Season LeadersRecords for Assists as an SS”.Baseball-Reference.com. USA Today Sports Media Group. Retrieved August 7, 2012
What is a Shortstop in Baseball? (Detailed Explanation)
We rely on the generosity of our readers. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of our affiliate links, we may receive a commission. In addition, we get commissions from eligible Amazon sales because we are an Amazon affiliate. Playing shortstop in baseball is similar to playing quarterback in peewee football in the beginning stages of the game. Each and every team member wants to do it, and the most athletic player on the squad is generally the one that gets to play there. Because the position is becoming more sophisticated and demanding more skill than athleticism, whether or not that athlete goes on to play shortstop for his future teams will be determined by his progress as an infielder in the meanwhile.
The shortstop is a position in baseball that is located between second and third base.
Because of his position on the field and the variety of tasks that he is expected to do, many people consider the shortstop to be the captain of the infield.
What Does a Shortstop Do?
A shortstop is often regarded as one of the most crucial, if not the most important, positions on the baseball field nowadays. This defense position is responsible for a variety of tasks, some of which are listed below:
- Ground balls should be fielded on the left side of second base.
- However, the shortstop should make every effort to cover as much distance as possible, although he usually has precedence on ground balls hit between second base and the location where the third baseman is positioned.
- Given his location in the field and his great defensive abilities, the shortstop receives preference over all other infielders when it comes to fly balls in the middle of the infield. In the event that he requests the ball, everyone else must yield it to him.
- Cut off throws from the outfield and serve as a cutoff man.
- Throws to second and third base are cut off when a ball is hit to the left side of the outfield and a ball is hit to the right side of the outfield.
- The shortstop is the cutoff man on throws to second and third base when a ball is hit to the left side of the outfield.
- The shortstop is supposed to be aware of the number of outs at all times and is responsible for communicating this information to the rest of the defense. In order to communicate this information, he merely holds up the amount of outs with his fingers in between at-bats.
- Keeping the ball in the infield helps to keep the rushing game under control.
- Some teams burden their shortstop with the job of limiting the number of looks the pitcher delivers to the runner on second base while the game is in progress. Simple hand gestures are used to communicate this information. Pickoff plays to second are also called by the shortstop from time to time.
- When a left-handed batter pulls the ball at the plate, the shortstop is often tasked with covering second base in the event of a stolen base.
- On double-play attempts involving ground balls hit to the right side of second base with a runner on first, the shortstop will cover second base.
Is Shortstop the Most Difficult Position on the Field?
As can be seen, the shortstop is responsible for a wide range of tasks that are not always related to receiving ground balls and fly balls in the outfield. As a result, some players believe it to be the most difficult position on the field to perform. However, others would say that the position of catcher is more challenging because of the physical demands of the job. Regardless of where one stands on this argument, most people will agree that teams must place a strong focus on the shortstop position in order to succeed.
In part because of his placement being deeper than the third baseman, the shortstop has the ability to cover more territory and field a greater number of ground balls.
If you need more information on why shortstop is the most difficult position on the baseball diamond, see our article “Why is Shortstop the Most Difficult Position in Baseball?” for more information.
Why is it Called “Shortstop”?
In the mid-1800s, a guy by the name of Doc Adams was given the honor of creating the position of shortstop. It was originally intended to be used as an outfield position. During that time period, baseballs were so light in weight that outfielders had a tough time hurling them into the infield. The shortstop was designed to function largely as a transition point between the outfielders and the infielders. It was referred to as a “shortstop” for the outfielders’ throws since it prevented them from having to make lengthy throws that they were not physically capable of making.
Profile of the Typical Shortstop
In recent years, as the current game of baseball has evolved, some of the ancient prototypes of particular positions have begun to be called into consideration. For example, catcher was traditionally considered to be a defensive-oriented position. Teams were usually ready to give up offensive performance from their catcher if he was a top-tier defensive player in exchange for his services. More clubs than ever before are prepared to give up defensive abilities in exchange for offensive productivity from their catcher, according to the increased focus placed on power hitting and the decreased emphasis placed on stealing bases in recent years.
- Only a small number of clubs are ready to give up defensive skill at shortstop in exchange for offensive capability.
- Having said that, there are more shortstops than ever who are excellent hitters as well as excellent defenders.
- In fact, Cal Ripken Jr.
- In addition to his 6-foot-4-inch height, Ripken demonstrated offensive performance at the position that had not been seen in a very lengthy period of time.
- Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Troy Tulowitzki, and a slew of other players who stood at least 6 feet 3 inches tall helped to shatter the stereotype of what shortstops used to look like.
- They must also have a strong enough arm to make difficult throws from deep in the field.
There have been a total of 26 shortstops elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown since its inception in 1947. Derek Jeter, the longtime captain of the New York Yankees, is the most recent shortstop to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Jeter was one vote away from being named the winner of the World Series. He had a 20-year professional career during which he reached the milestone of 3,000 hits. Some have contended during Jeter’s career that he was never the greatest or most skilled shortstop in the Major League Baseball, but no one can dispute with his consistency as a defender and a hitter, which is unquestionable.
He is referred to as “The Captain,” and for much of his career, he was regarded as the face of the shortstop position in baseball.
(Baltimore Orioles) are among the other noteworthy shortstops in the Baseball Hall of Fame, as are Ernie Banks (Chicago Cubs), Ozzie Smith (St.
In 1936, Wagner became the first shortstop to be elected into Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame.
He was one of the first players to bring an attacking presence to the position while simultaneously being an excellent defensive player, making him one of the most influential players in the game.
Why don’t left-handed throwers play shortstop?
Left-handed throwers are rarely used at second base, third base, or shortstop due to the time it takes them to square up their shoulders after collecting a ground ball and make a throw to first base. Whenever a right-handed pitcher fields a ground ball, his or her shoulders and torso are already in a good position to throw the ball to first base. It takes longer for lefties to toss the ball, which adds an extra stride or two for the runner.
What number is the shortstop position on the lineup card?
The shortstop is listed as the sixth position on the lineup card. There is a number assigned to each position that is used for lineup cards and scorekeepers. The position of shortstop is ranked sixth on the list.
Do shortstops have to play in the same spot every play?
Shortstops can begin their games anywhere on the field, not only at the shortstop position. In reality, teams frequently rearrange their players depending on who is hitting, and they may even move their shortstop to the other side of second base on occasion. There have been discussions of the MLB establishing a regulation that would abolish the shift, but for the time being, all defensive players are free to select where they want to start each play. Take a look at these more resources: In baseball, how many bases are there?
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Shortstops can begin their games anywhere on the field, not just at the position of shortstop. In reality, teams frequently shuffle their players about depending on who is hitting, and they may even move their shortstop to the other side of second base on occasion. However, for the time being, all defensive players are free to select where they want to begin each play. There have been discussions of the MLB establishing a regulation that would remove the shift. Check out these other resources as well.
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(For a more thorough explanation, see the following: References The squad consists of everyone who has been inducted.
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Role and Responsibilities
When a baseball is put into play, the shortstop, like the second baseman, is in the thick of the action and close to the action. The shortstop must be acutely aware of the positioning of the other players in the infield and be able to anticipate where the baseball will be thrown next. The shortstop fields a large number of ground balls, and he frequently fields the most ground balls of all of the infielders. Ground balls are baseballs that are hit hard and low to the ground, causing them to bounce off the ground.
After catching the baseball, the shortstop frequently delivers it to the second baseman to begin the double play, or he throws it directly to the first baseman to complete the double play. The following is a list of the most typical obligations that a shortstop must fulfill:
- Raise his hands to catch hit baseballs that land in his region (between second and third base, as well as in shallow left-center field)
- Cover third or second base as necessary
- Be able to throw the baseball to first base, where the majority of outs are recorded
- Be able to turn double plays with the second baseman
Types of Shortstops
Shortstops come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The majority of the differences between these sorts are determined by the type of player. There are three types of shortstops: defensive shortstops, offensive shortstops, and all-arounders.
A defensive shortstop is a shortstop who is more skilled on the defensive side of the baseball diamond than on the offensive side. On most cases, defensive shortstops make minimal errors and have excellent reflexes as well as range in the field. A solid defensive shortstop will also have a strong arm, which will allow him to make difficult plays at first base. Andrelton Simmons and Troy Tulowitski are two defensive shortstops that stand out among the others.
As the name implies, offensive shortstops are the polar opposite of defensive shortstops. They have a reputation for being a little worse at fielding. They could make a few of more mistakes. Offensive shortstops, on the other hand, are superior hitters, and in certain cases, the greatest batters on their team. Alex Rodriguez, Manny Machado, and Tim Anderson are some of the most well-known offensive shortstops in baseball.
As a contrast to defensive shortstops, offensive shortstops play in the opposite field. When it comes to fielding, they are a little worse. Possibly a few of further mistakes. Those that play in the offensive shortstop position are often more proficient batters; they are sometimes among their team’s most productive batters. Alex Rodriguez, Manny Machado, and Tim Anderson are among well-known offensive shortstops.
Shortstops don’t require any special equipment that isn’t available to players in other positions. If you’re going to be playing shortstop, the main difference is that you’ll generally require an infield glove rather than a larger outfield glove. Other pieces of equipment you need invest in if you want to play shortstop:
- A baseball bat, batting gloves, a hat, baseball spikes, sunglasses, a batting helmet, ankle, wrist, and elbow guards are all required.
Because earlier baseballs didn’t go very far, they would frequently fall behind the infield but in front of the outfielders, prompting the creation of the position of shortstop. In response, players immediately understood that if they had an extra infielder between second and third base, they would be able to catch more balls and force fewer errors. Honus Wagner was the first well-known shortstop in baseball history. Wagner began playing baseball in 1897 and continued to do so until 1917, primarily with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
For a long period, the situation remained unchanged.
Shortstops’ fielding abilities used to be more significant, but lately hitting has become an essential aspect of their overall performance.
Shortstops do not have any unique statistics that may be used to evaluate them. However, the numbers that are relevant fluctuate with time.
The importance of errors to shortstops, for example, may be greater than that of other positions since shortstops field more balls than other positions. Baseball, on the other hand, has a plethora of various statistics. Some of these statistics are as follows:
- Batting average (AVG)
- Hits (H)
- Runs batted in (RBI)
- On base percentage (OBP)
- And other statistics. WAR stands for wins above replacement.
The fundamental shortstop approach is the same as the fundamental shortstop strategy at every other position: field the ball if it is hit close by. Nowadays, strategy encompasses a broader range of activities. The shift and covering second base are the two major methods that shortstops must take into mind when playing the position. The Shift in Perspective Shortstops are often left alone on the left side of the field as a result of the shift, forcing them to cover additional area. Additionally, shortstops may be required to play near third base in order to prepare for a potential bunt in particular situations.
The shortstops and second basemen communicate on who will cover second base in a given situation.
This reduces the number of hit-and-run possibilities to the greatest extent feasible.
Shortstop Skills and Techniques
A shortstop is required to have a wide range of abilities. Most of them are the same as those required by other fielders, but there are a few that shortstops require more than others. The five tools are commonly used to refer to the most important abilities.
- Speed, power, hitting for average, fielding, and arm strength are all important.
Shortstops require higher arm strength than second or first basemen, and they must be excellent fielders in order to succeed.
Hall of Fame Shortstops
Shortstops are tied for the most inductions into the Hall of Fame among position players, with a total of 26 inductions. There are some great shortstops in baseball history who have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, as seen in the following list. Honus Wagner is a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Luke Appling is a member of the Chicago White Sox. Ernie Banks is the owner of the Chicago Cubs.
|Honus Wagner||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Luke Appling||Chicago White Sox|
|Ernie Banks||Chicago Cubs|
|Ozzie Smith||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Cal Ripken jr.||Baltimore Orioles|
|Derek Jeter||New York Yankees|
Top MLB Shortstops
In order of team, the following are some of the best shortstops in Major League Baseball today:
|Trevor Story||Colorado Rockies|
|Andrelton Simmons||Los Angeles Angels|
|Gleyber Torres||New York Yankees|
|Javier Baez||Chicago Cubs|
|Fernando Tatis Jr.||San Diego Padres|
|Francisco Lindor||New York Mets|
Some of the best shortstops in Major League Baseball, organized by franchise, are listed below:
What does a shortstop do in baseball?
The primary responsibility of a shortstop is to field ground balls in their immediate vicinity. Besides that, they cover second base, receive relay throws from the outfield to second base or even home plate, and supervise the infield.
What are the types of shortstops in baseball?
Shortstops are classified into three categories: defensive shortstops, offensive shortstops, and all-around shortstops. Shortstops are ranked according to their skill level, which includes their ability to field, hit, or do a combination of the two.
Shortstop In Baseball – Baseball Position
When it comes to baseball, the shortstop position is distinct from every other position on the field. It is one of the most vital positions in baseball, and it is frequently the position that sees the most baseballs in a typical game. Its name is also distinct from the other positions on the field, which makes it a good fit. The shortstop position is located between the second baseman and the third baseman on the baseball diamond. It derives its name from the fact that it demands the player to halt on the short side of the field and function as a cutoff for the left and center fielders, which is where it is positioned.
The shortstop position is denoted by the letters SS on box scores and visuals as well. What is the origin of the term “shortstop,” and why is it such an important position on the baseball field?
Why It’s Called a Shortstop In Baseball
In a nutshell, the position was developed by a player by the name of Doc Adams. In 1859, he was a member of the New York Knickerbockers baseball team. Baseball fields were traditionally populated by eight players, with one player at each base and three outfielders in addition to a pitcher/catcher. Because of the huge number of right-handed hitters (which continues to be the case in today’s game), the distance between third and second base was enormous. Doc Adams made the decision to relocate from his outfield position to a position closer to what we know as the shortstop position.
Later, the position was changed to shortstop, since he would no longer serve as a cutoff man, but rather as a stop to the short side of the field instead.
This meant that players in the outfield would be unable to reach a base or even return the ball to the pitcher’s hand.
In his final season with the Knickerbockers, Doc contributed to the invention and revolutionization of one of baseball’s most productive positions, that of pitcher.
What A Shortstop Does In Baseball
In baseball, the shortstop position is one of the most critical positions on the field. As previously stated, the majority of baseballs are hit to the shortstop position. As a result, the shortstop must have the greatest glove on the field, as they will be the ones who see the most action. Shortstops are required to have a strong glove, the ability to turn double plays, and the ability to serve as a bridge between the center fielder and the left fielder. Believe it or not, the results of baseball games looked a lot like the results of American football games.
The insertion of the shortstop closed up the big gaps on the left side of the field, resulting in a significant reduction in the score.
Additionally, the shortstop position is responsible for catching fly balls and turning double plays from the second baseman and other infielders, on top of receiving ground balls.
Why Is The Shortstop Position Numbered 6 and Not 5?
The shortstop position is numbered 6 when looking at a box score or a graphic of baseball positions, for example. While each base position is numbered from right to left, the 3rd base is numbered 5 and the shortstop is numbered 6. This does not make sense to the conventional counting eye, as each base position is numbered from right to left. Despite the fact that the shortstop position was founded after all of the other positions had previously been established, The addition of this extra position amounted to the addition of a new number to the infield.
Instead of renumbering all positions, it was simpler to refer to the shortstop as position 6 and keep the rest of the base positions as they were. The outfield was renumbered after nine players were added to the field to bring the total number of players on the field to a total of fifteen.
Why The Shortstop Position Is The Hardest
Because the majority of balls are hit toward the shortstop, shortstop is one of the most difficult positions to play in the infield. They are frequently the most athletic players on the field, and they have the greatest glove for fielding ground balls. Shortstops are the most athletic players on the field. Because the vast majority of baseball batters are right-handed, they are more likely to draw the ball toward shortstop, which is on the left side of the diamond on a right-handed pitcher. Because the third baseman is responsible for protecting the foul line, the shortstop must extend his range to the left and right of the plate.
- Getting the ball on the run is a common sight for the shortstop, who must turn his hips back around and throw the ball sidearm in order to make contact.
- Shortstops who are fielding a backhand can be seen throwing with the same type of motion as pitchers.
- A half-second longer if the shortstop paused, placed his foot on the ground, and then threw the ball all the way across the diamond would be required.
- If you want to play the shortstop position, we recommend that you practice fielding ground balls from both the right and left sides of the field.
- When throwing to first, the shortstop’s skill set necessitates rapid lateral movement as well as pinpoint precision.
Can A Lefty Play Shortstop?
The fact that the shortstop is located on the left side of the diamond means that shortstops are more often than not right-handed throwers. A left-handed shortstop would have to gather the baseball, turn their entire body, and then throw the baseball, whereas a right-handed shortstop would be able to scoop the baseball and throw it immediately. Because of this lengthy cycle, it is more logical for lefties to play first base or the outfield instead of both. Ground ball outs in baseball can be determined by fractions of an inch, and every second counts while fielding, gathering the feet, and throwing the ball across the diamond to the other team.
To assist bridge the gap between the second and third basemen, shortstops have been introduced to the game of baseball. Because of the high proportion of right-handed batters, the ball is frequently hit between the 2nd and 3rd base holes. This is what resulted in the development of the shortstop position. Prior to the shortstop, baseball scoring resembled football scores, and the innings seemed to stretch on interminably. In addition to allowing the second baseman to play in the space between second and first, the shortstop also allowed the defense on the right side of the field to be more efficient.
In the past decade, the shortstop position has transformed baseball, and it will continue to produce the top ten highlights during the whole baseball season.
10 Qualities of a Great Shortstop
Shortstop is one of the most difficult positions to play in baseball, and it is also one of the most physically demanding. The best shortstops in MLB history, such as Derek Jeter, Ozzie Smith, and Cal Ripken, Jr., are well-known to most baseball players, but what made these baseball players so good is a mystery. We’ll take a look at the 10 characteristics that distinguish an excellent shortstop in the section below. Shortstops are often considered to be good hitters because they can cover a lot of ground, they are athletic, they have powerful arms, and they are good runners.
The majority of the time, competent shortstops are productive on both sides of the plate, but what precisely are the characteristics that distinguish a good shortstop?
1) Cover a Lot of Ground
When it comes to the infield, shortstops have a lot of ground to cover. Although the distance between second and third base is only 90 feet, shortstops are responsible for a great deal more than just the 90 feet between second and third base. The shortstop will be required to track down a fly ball that has been hit into the outfield until an outfielder signals them to stop. Depending on how quick the outfielders are, the shortstop may have a significant amount of ground to cover while racing with their back to the ball in the outfield.
Shortstops must race towards the outfielder who is receiving the ball in order to be somewhere in the middle of the field between the base and their outfielder in order to be effective cutoff men.
Generally speaking, if the outfielder has a strong arm, the shortstop will not need to run as far into the outfield, but if the outfielder does not have a strong arm, the shortstop will need to run further into the outfield to ensure that the ball can be brought back into play in the shortest amount of time possible.
If the scenario calls for it, either the second baseman or the third baseman may find themselves unable to cover their respective bases.
2) Have a Strong Arm
Generally speaking, shortstops can be located anywhere between 85 and 130 feet away from first base on the field. If the batter hits the ball closer to third base, the shortstop will be further away from first base; but, if the hitter hits the ball up the center of the field, the shortstop will be closer to first base, and vice versa. Because shortstops might be located quite a ways away from first base, they must possess a powerful arm in order to consistently deliver the ball to the first baseman.
When the shortstop fields the ball in the hole, he or she is often going away from the first baseman or batter.
In order to witness an example of a shortstop with a very powerful arm throwing from the hole, watch the little YouTube video shown below.
When shortstops receive the ball from their outfielder, they are still standing in the outfield grass, ready to receive the ball.
It will be necessary for the shortstop to have a powerful arm in order to attempt to throw out any runners who are making strides forward. Check out the video below to see an excellent demonstration of why a shortstop has to have a strong arm on the relay throw.
3) Have Confidence
Shortstops are responsible for the majority of the defensive activity on the field, thus they must be confident in their abilities. The fact that shortstops will field a large number of hits throughout the course of a game means that they should anticipate the ball being hit to them. When players anticipate that the ball will be thrown to them, they should also have confidence in their ability to make the play when it does. Confidence may be one of those characteristics that appears to fluctuate from game to game, but shortstops can assist boost their general level of confidence by just practicing more often and consistently.
4) Make Accurate Throws
Another important aspect of being a successful shortstop is having the ability to toss the baseball with accuracy. Having a powerful arm is advantageous, but having a powerful arm without being precise can result in throwing mistakes by the shortstop. Shortstops must have much of experience throwing the baseball to first base from a variety of positions throughout the infield before they can toss it correctly. Sometimes the batter may hit the ball closer to third base than usual, requiring the shortstop to make a precise throw from a greater distance than usual.
- To avoid overthrowing their first baseman in these situations, shortstops must be cautious not to throw too far.
- The relay man’s responsibility is to bring the ball to the proper location in the infield as fast as possible after it leaves the field.
- Shortstops will occasionally be required to make throws that are less than average in order to throw out a baserunner, and those throws will need to be pinpoint accurate.
- It is quite easy for a player to make a mistake when underhanding a ball to second base, since they might throw the ball either too hard or too low, leading the second baseman to entirely miss the catch.
5) Reliably Turn Double Plays
One of the most important characteristics of a competent shortstop is his or her ability to throw the ball accurately. A strong arm is advantageous, but a strong arm that is not accurate might result in throwing errors by the shortstop. Shortstops must get enough of experience throwing the baseball to first base from a variety of positions across the infield in order to be accurate. The hitter may hit the ball closer to third base than usual, requiring the shortstop to make an accurate throw from a greater distance.
- To avoid overthrowing their first baseman in these situations, shortstops must be cautious not to throw too hard.
- The relay man’s job is to bring the ball to the proper location in the infield as fast as possible after it leaves the field of play.
- Shortstops will occasionally be required to make throws that are less than average in order to throw out a baserunner, and such throws will need to be pinpoint accurate in order to do this.
- Whenever it comes to correctly underhanding a ball to second base, many players make the common mistake of throwing the ball too hard or too low, leading the second baseman to miss the catch entirely.
To ensure their throws are soft and high enough for their second baseman to make a catch, shortstops will need to practice underhanded throwing.
6) Know How to Be a Relay Man
Another important aspect of being a successful shortstop is having the ability to throw the baseball properly. Having a strong arm is advantageous, but having a strong arm without being precise might result in throwing mistakes by the shortstop. Shortstops require a lot of practice throwing the baseball to first base from all different positions across the infield before they can toss it correctly. When the batter hits the ball closer to third base, the shortstop must make an accurate throw from a greater distance.
- In these situations, shortstops must be careful not to overthrow their first baseman.
- The relay man’s job is to bring the ball to the proper location in the infield as fast as possible after it leaves the field.
- Shortstops will occasionally be required to make throws that are less than average in order to throw out a baserunner, and those throws will need to be precise.
- Whenever it comes to correctly underhanding a ball to second base, many players make the common mistake of throwing the ball too hard or too low, leading the second baseman to miss the catch entirely.
7) Ability to Run Down Bloop Hits
Catching a bloop-hit, commonly known as a blooper, may be challenging for shortstops to pull off successfully. An outfielder or an infielder is called a bloop hit when a hitter hits a weak fly ball that falls in the region between the outfielder and the infielder. In order to cover the left side of the field when a batter hits a bloop, the shortstop must turn their backs to the infield and race towards the location where the ball would land. Sometimes shortstops can run and get into position to make the grab, while other times this play necessitates shortstops making an over-the-shoulder catch while on the move to complete the play.
8) Coordinate With Pitcher and Second Baseman on Pick-offs
Another important part of being a successful shortstop is the ability to communicate with their pitcher when attempting a pick-off. Picking off the pitcher does not require verbal communication on the field, and this is especially true while attempting a pick-off attempt. Instead, shortstops, second basemen, and the pitcher must come up with a strategy for how they will attempt to pick off a runner at second base in the upcoming game. For example, they’ll all have to respond to the issue of who covers second base on a pick-off attempt in the field.
It is necessary for the second baseman to back up the shortstop if the shortstop is going to cover second base on a pick-off attempt.
It’s a dream come true if the pitcher, second baseman, and shortstop are all aware that a pick-off attempt is about to take place because they’ve all previously agreed on some form of signal that indicates that a pick-off attempt will take place.
9) Coordinate With Second Baseman on Steal Attempts
In the same way that the pitcher and the second baseman must cooperate on a pick-off move, the second baseman and shortstop must collaborate on who will cover second base in the event that a runner steals second base. When I was younger, I played on teams where the second baseman always took the throw to second base, and when I was older, I played on teams where the shortstop always took the throw to second base. On the other side, out of all of the teams I’ve played on, the most typical strategy for covering second base on a steal attempt is for either the second baseman or the shortstop to cover second base, depending on whether or not the hitter hits the ball with his right hand or with his left hand.
Thus, when there is an out at first base, the second baseman is closer to second base when a right-handed batter is up, and farther away from second base when a left-handed batter is up.
However, because the strategy for covering second base might differ from game to game, it is typical for the second baseman and the shortstop to confer in between pitches on who will be covering second base.
10) Be a Great Hitter
When we think of shortstops, we often think of guys who make great plays from deep in the hole. However, another important component of being a successful shortstop is the ability to hit the ball on the offensive side of the field as well. Baseball is won on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, and while it’s impressive to play a full game without making a mistake, it’s much more impressive to smash the ball and score some runs for your team. When coaches assess players, they don’t only look at their defensive abilities; they also look at their overall performance.
So, if you’re a shortstop trying to earn a spot in the starting lineup, your ability to put the ball in play, get on base, and score runs is just as vital as your ability to make defensive plays in order to succeed.
Consequently, don’t neglect a shortstop’s offensive ability — it’s what might distinguish one shortstop from another.
Shortstop Situational and Positioning Depths
The depth to which you may play particular batters is determined by the inning, the score, how quick a runner is, and where the runners are on the bases at the time of the decision. When you’re at these depths, give everything you’ve got to these depths. If you’re on the defensive, don’t be concerned if the hitter bunts.
If you are in the game, it is OK if he gets a ground ball by you. Keep in mind that you are frequently dealing with percentages, and that sometimes they do not work out. However, avoid being in the middle since it is when we make mistakes.
Summary: Basic Situational Positioning for Shortstop.
Infield Positioning in Relation to the Situation
If there are less than two outs, use Double Play Depth (position 2). If there are two outs, the depth placement will be reset to the regular position.
Runners at 1st And 3rd Base:
If there are less than two outs, use Double Play Depth (position 2). If we have a depth position 3 available, we may also use it. The rationale for this is because we can turn a double play on a hard struck ball. We get the out at home on a ground ball that is hit more slowly. If there are two outs, the depth placement will be reset to the regular position.
Runner At 1st And 2nd Base:
If there are less than two outs, use Double Play Depth (position 2). If there are two outs, the depth placement will be reset to the regular position.
Depending on the scenario, positions 2, 3, or 4 are appropriate. Keep an eye out for the manager’s phone call.
You are attempting to win by the percentages. More time to respond is gained by starting from a distant position in the game. It becomes more difficult for the hitter to knock a ground ball through the infield as your range improves as the game progresses. However, as a result, the throw to first base will be longer, and the game will take longer to complete. Based on criteria such as the speed of the runner, the power of your arm, your degree of comfort on the field, and the hitter’s habits, you may want to make a minor adjustment, moving slightly forward or back.
When you are setting up for a play at first base, or when the bases are completely empty. The standard position will be maintained whenever there are two outs.
I normally gauge this by how far away the outfield grass is from the infield grass. The further back you can position yourself, the greater your range and the greater the number of balls you can reach. The depth of your throw across the infield is determined by how comfortable you are with your toss. The further you are from first base, the longer the throw will be. This may be anywhere between 5 and 15 feet in front of the outfield grass, and the distance can be varied depending on the pace of the runners and the strength of your arm.
Double play depth
It’s a double-header.
When there are less than two outs and first base is occupied, it is reasonable to expect to play at double play depth. This includes situations where there are runners at first and second, as well as bases loaded.
The depth of a double play varies somewhat for each shortstop and is influenced by how quick or slow the runners are, as well as how fast the field is playing. My regular position is roughly 3 steps closer to the hitter, and I will take 3 steps closer to the second base bag from where I am currently standing. Depending on whether a right-handed or left-handed batter is hitting and what their tendencies are, I will adjust my positioning somewhat. The number one goal is that you are able to get to the second base bag as quickly as possible when a ball is hit to the pitcher or second baseman, without them having to wait for you.
Apart from that, the majority of pitchers I’ve faced have been attempting to get the batters to hit a ground ball up the middle into our placement, so they’d want you to get to the balls up the middle more frequently than the balls in the hole.
On the figure below, the double play depth is indicated by the number 2.
Shortstop positioning for fast runners
Don’t let a quick runner have the better of the play.
You’re aware that the batter or baserunners are quick.
The shortstop position for quick runners requires only a minor change. Moving one step closer to the hitter will allow you to field and throw the ball with the same time as you would with a little slower runner in the same position as you were previously. The idea is to field and throw in the same manner as you typically would, without speeding up or changing direction. When we accelerate, we are more likely to make mistakes. Moving one step closer does shorten the range, but if you have to go too much either way, he will most likely beat out the ground ball regardless of how near you are.
- There is a modest modification in shortstop placement for speedy runners. Moving one step closer to the hitter will allow you to field and throw the ball with the same time as you would with a little slower runner in the same position as you are currently. Instead of sprinting, the idea is to field and throw in the same manner as usual without speeding up. We tend to make more mistakes as we accelerate. The distance between you and him is reduced by one step, but if you have to go too much either way, he will most likely beat out the ground ball.
- This is the position in which your starting point will be the location where the infield grass and the infield dirt meet. (See figure 4 in the picture below.) This distance can be adjusted somewhat, generally dependent on the speed of the runners
- Nonetheless, it should not be exceeded.
In the end, the decision on whether or not to participate is made by the manager or coach, so pay attention to the signal in these cases. Occasionally, particularly early in games, the manager will elect to let the runner to score rather than taking the guaranteed out. However, if it is in the middle to late stages of the game, and especially if the score is tight, you may anticipate the coach to bring the infield closer together. See figure 4 in the diagram below.
A Variation to Infield In: Half-way Depth.
It’s possible that you’ll want to keep more alternatives available to yourself in some instances than playing deep into the game permits. In this setting, you will be on the baseline, which is a few steps away from the infield grass, which is a difference from the previous one. If there is a sluggish runner in third place, you will have more time and will be able to catch up. Also, if there are runners on first and third and you want to maintain the option of turning a double play open, you should use this strategy.
If you don’t hit it hard enough, you’ll receive the out at your place of residence.
With this location, we are ensuring that if we give up a hit, they will only receive a single and will not be able to stretch it out to become a two-hit shutout victory.
It is most probable that this tactic will be employed in the 8th or 9th inning, and if the score is tied, or if your side is winning by one or two runs, respectively.
A normal depth of 5 to 6 feet is used by the corner infielders, while the foul line is kept closer to their bodies. In addition, the outfield is playing from a farther distance. This implies that the shortstop and second baseman will have to cover extra ground in the event of a fly ball.
Note: Sometimes Depths are classified by numbers:
- A standard depth of 5 to 6 feet is used by the corner infielders, while the foul line is kept closer to them. In addition, the outfield is playing from a further back position than before. Therefore, the shortstop and second baseman will need to cover more ground if a fly ball is hit into their zone of responsibility.
Infield Positioning in Relation to the Situation
What to Read Next: More articles on shortstop positioning.
- Fundamentals of the Cut-off for Infielders. Using an outfielder’s throw as a cutoff man, this article describes how to get into the best position possible, as well as how to execute the relay throw as quickly and precisely as possible. Bunt plays are covered in detail in Shortstop Positioning, Part 2. Positioning of the short stop for conventional and wheel bunt plays
- The Positioning of Relays: Part 1, Cut-offs and Relays. What is my responsibility on throws from the outfield to home plate as the shortstop? The second part of the Relay Positioning series is entitled Double Cuts and Relays. What is my responsibility as the shortstop in various relay situations
- Priorities will appear in a pop-up window. This article and diagram demonstrate what region you are expected to cover when a fly ball is hit, who you have priority over if more than one player is attempting to make the play, and what to do in the event of a potential collision. Drills for Hitting– A new book, Baseball Hitting Drills for a Batting Tee, has been released.