What Is Defense In Baseball

Defense (sports) – Wikipedia

Many team sports involve the activity of preventing an opponent from scoring. Defense(American spelling) ordefence(Commonwealth spelling) is the term used to describe this action. Defense strategies, as well as a sub-team whose primary role is defense, are all terms that may be used to relate to the concept of defense. Another type of defensive player is the defense player, who is responsible for keeping the other team’s forwards from bearing down directly on their own team’s goalkeeper or goaltender (also known as a defense player or defender).

By sport

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Field sports

Unlike other team sports, bat-and-ball games require just a small number of players to be on the field at one time, whereas offensive teams send a large number of players on the field to try to score at the same time. These games often include a member of the defense throwing the ball to a member of the offensive team, who then attempts to strike the ball while running to various safe locations of the field in order to score points. The failure to strike the ball properly, or the failure to reach the safe zones before the ball is used against the offensive player, might result in the offensive player being unable to score a goal.


Baseball differs from the vast majority of other competitive sports in that the defense is handed control of the ball during the game. Aside from that, the amount of players on the field at any given moment is unbalanced in favor of the defense, which has nine players on the field at all times, while the offense has somewhere between one and four players. Historically, each player on the squad played a role on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. The designated hitter (DH) rule, which was first used by the American League of Major League Baseball, has been adopted by the vast majority of amateur and professional leagues.

The National Leagueof Major League Baseball and the Central League of Nippon Professional Baseball are the two major leagues that have not embraced the designated hitter rule.

The pitcher tosses the ball toward the catcher, who is responsible for catching the thrown ball if it is not struck by a batted ball.

Generally speaking, there are three primary scenarios in which an out may take place: 1.) If the batter receives three strikeouts, 2.) if a ball hit by the batter is caught by a defensive player before it hits the ground, or 3.) if a runner who is between bases or has not reached a base to which he is forced is thrown out by a defensive player in possession of the ball, the batter is out.

While the offense is occupied with attempting to advance runners across the baseball diamond toward home plate, the defense uses the ball in a variety of ways to force out the runners.

Whenever the defense gets three outs, their team is shifted into the offensive role of the game. The only exception is if they are up in the ninth or extrainning, in which case the game is over and the defensive side is victorious.


Incricket is a baseball game in which the fielding side defends the field and the batting team attacks the field; the batting team can only have two players on the field at a time. When the fielding team runs out the batting team’s batters before they can knock the ball to the boundary or run between the two batsmen’s grounds, they have a better chance of preventing the batting team from scoring runs. If a player strikes the ball in the air and it is collected by a defensive player before striking the ground, the player is out.

By striking out all but one of the batting team’s players, the fielding team finishes their opponent’s scoring round and is free to begin its own scoring turn immediately afterward (though it can choose not to, in the case of thefollow-on).

Water sports

Water polo refers to any sport in which an offensive player, such as a center forward, holds the ball in front of his or her goal and the defender is unable to grab the ball, in which case the defender may purposely commit a foul. After that, the forward is awarded a free throw, but he or she must transfer the ball to another offensive player rather than taking a shot at the goal. A defensive perimeter player may also purposefully commit a foul and then advance toward the goal, away from their opponent, who will be forced to take a free throw as a result.

Depending on his or her opinion, the water polo referee may choose not to call a foul made by a defensive player if doing so would provide the defending side a competitive advantage.

Floor and court sports

There are four officially recognized ice skating team sports in the world, excluding their modifications, and they are as follows: This category comprises the sports of bandy, ice hockey, ringette, and rinkball.

Ice hockey

In ice hockey, there are usually two defensemen on the ice at the same time. One is often a more offensive player who is more recognized for his or her ability to get assists or goals than for his or her ability to play tough defensively. Offensive defensemen are players who play in this position. The other is generally in a more defensive role and does not contribute to the team’s offensive production, but they are critical for their defensive abilities; these players are referred to as “stay-at-home defense.”


Depending on the format of bandy being played (either “large ice” bandy, which is a sort of field format, orrink bandy), the number of defenders on the ice at any given moment varies from player to player.


A usual game situation in ringette calls for two designated defenders to be on the ice at the same time at the same time (the team is not serving any penalties).

As a result of the first-three-in rule in ringette, these scenarios might change; for example, individuals who play in the defensive zone are not always identified as defenders.


A player’s ability to defend on the ice at any given time is dictated by the format in which the game is being played.

Skateless winter team sports

There are three known organized skateless winter team sports in the world that are not organized versions of snowball fighting, and they are: ice hockey, ice hockey and ice hockey. Broomball, spongee (sometimes known as “sponge hockey”), and Moscow broomball are all sports that fall within this category.


A team’s number of defenders on the ice at any one moment is determined by the format in which it is being played.


The number of defenders on the ice at any given moment in Inspongee (also known as “sponge hockey”) is determined by the format being played.

Moscow broomball

The number of defenders on the ice at any given moment in Moscow broomball is determined by the format that is being played.

See also

  • Goalkeeper
  • Goaltender
  • Man-to-man defense
  • Offense (sports)
  • Goalkeeper


  1. Run-ups are permitted in various forms of cricket, but they are not permitted in international cricket.
Offense(Skill position) Defense Special teams
Linemen Guard,Tackle,Center Linemen Tackle,End,Edge rusher Kicking Placekicker,Punter,Kickoff specialist
Quarterback(Dual-threat,Game manager,System) Linebacker Snapping Long snapper,Holder
Running backs Halfback/Tailback(Triple-threat,Change of pace),Fullback,H-back,Wingback Backs Cornerback,Safety,Halfback,Nickelback,Dimeback Returning Punt returner,Kick returner,Jammer,Upman
Receivers Wide receiver(Eligible),Tight end,Slotback,End Tackling Gunner,Upback,Utility

How Baseball Works

A baseball game is played between two teams – the home team and the visiting team – and is called a baseball game. The name of the city where the visiting team is from is frequently emblazoned across the front of the players’ shirts. Each team consists of at least nine players, each of whom holds a certain position on the playing field. Most professional teams field a roster that contains far more than nine players, allowing for substitutes. During an inning, each side takes turns at the plate.

As each player on the batting squad comes up to home plate and stands in the batter’s box, he tries to hit the ball that is thrown toward him by the pitcher.

There are nine defense positions in all on the offensive side:

  1. When the pitcher stands on the pitcher’s mound, he or she tosses a ball to the catcher in an attempt to get the batter to swing and miss or else put the ball in play so that it may be caught by a defensive player (in which case the batter is “out”)
  2. CATCHER- Squats behind home plate and collects the pitcher’s throws
  3. He also throws to the bases in order to throw out players attempting to steal those bases, and he fields the area in front of home plate. First baseman is responsible for fielding the area near first base. Second baseman is responsible for protecting the area between first and second base. Third baseman is responsible for fielding the area near third base. Shortstop is responsible for fielding the area between second and third bases. Left field is the area of the outfield that is on the left side of the batter while he is facing the field
  4. It is also known as the left fielder. Center field is responsible for fielding the center area of the outfield. Defends the section of the outfield that is on the right side of the batter while he is facing the field
  5. Right fielder

All of the fielders work together to keep the other team’s hitters and base runners from getting hits and scoring runs. An out is recorded when a fielder catches a ball, tags a base runner with a ball, or captures the ball and steps on the base that a runner is attempting to reach before the runner reaches the base that was being attempted to reach. When a batter strikes out, it is also recorded as an out (see the next section). An inning and a half is completed when three outs are recorded on the scoreboard.

Getting into Position: Baseball

Read for 1 minute and 45 seconds on December 31, 1899. Every time the ball is in play, there will be at least 10, and maybe as many as thirteen players on the field—eight defensive players, one hitter, and as many as three baserunners.


The batting squad is on the offensive side of the field. Pitches are delivered by the defensive team in turn, with batters taking turns attempting to hit them. The hitter then sprints as far as they can around the bases without being caught by the defensive team in order to reach home plate and score a run.


The player who gets the pitch and hits it with the intention of making it all the way around the bases to the home plate.


Baseball is a team sport, and the defensive team is represented by players on the field. In baseball, when an offensive team’s hitter strikes out and sends a ball into the field, the defensive team’s aim is to either tag the batter with the ball before he or she reaches home plate, or to get to the next base before the batter does.


On the defensive side, pitchers throw to hitters and there are players on the field. Once a batter from the offensive side hits a ball into the field, the defensive team’s aim is to prevent the batter from reaching home plate either tagging them with the ball or reaching the next base with the ball before the batter gets there.

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Field the balls and toss them to one another in a circle. First, second, and third basemen are responsible for defending the areas surrounding the bases. They must be able to grab both ground balls and fly balls, as well as throw consistently. The shortstop is the man that plays between second and third base, and he is the one who receives the majority of hit balls on a regular basis. Infielders are known for having fast feet and being able to quickly shift from fielding to throwing in order to remove the runner out of the game.


A team’s outfielders hunt down fly balls and pitch them to their respective infielders in order to tag a member of the opposing side.


a player who stands behind home plate in front of the umpire and receives the ball thrown by a pitching machine. The catcher is in charge of the vast majority of the plays on the field, depending on their age. Once kids reach an advanced age and level of proficiency, they are able to comprehend the scenario of the game and call games.

Does Defense Matter in Baseball?

In baseball, fielding is a crucial aspect of the game. All plays that do not result in a strikeout, a walk, or a home run are considered defensive plays. It is an unavoidable aspect of the game, and certain teams are able to take full use of their defensive prowess. However, despite the fact that fielding constitutes such a big amount of the game, is there any real benefit to having skilled fielders? Strong defensive players are in high demand, but how much of a difference do they really make in terms of determining who wins baseball games?

  1. Basketball and football are two sports where defenses may carry teams into the postseason, but baseball is a game where there is only a limited amount of force on the opposing team’s defensive side of the field.
  2. Unlike Silver Sluggers, Gold Glovers are not targeted by organizations in the same manner that Silver Sluggers are targeted.
  3. This is one of the reasons why the designated hitter position has become a more widely acknowledged one over the course of the years.
  4. After examining defensive data from the 2020 season, the findings revealed that there was minimal association between higher fielding skills and winning ball games.
  5. The New York Yankees were the poorest club in this category, despite the fact that they were a postseason team with real title hopes.
  6. In terms of fielding percentage, even the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers finished 19th.
  7. Wally Skalij of the Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.

Due to the inclusion of the amount of putouts, assists, and total chances in this statistic, the discrepancy was almost equal to a 28 error separation.

In all respect to the other defensive measures, mistakes can be a deceptive number to use in conjunction with them.

For example, a middle infielder with range will generate situations that can result in a fielding or throwing mistake, but ordinary fielders may just allow the same ball to pass through for a base hit, allowing their scorecard to be protected from being compromised.

The number of defensive runs saved (DRS) is one of the most reliable indicators of fielding performance.

In a truncated season, the poorest club in baseball was outscored by six games and saved the sixth most runs.

When it comes to DRS, there were more postseason teams in the upper level of the league, but also terrible clubs like the Pirates that climbed the ranks, while more skilled teams like the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves failed to preserve runs.

*Team defensive runs have been postponed until 2020.

Although hitting and pitching are obviously top objectives, other factors such as the ballpark, the temperature, and the team’s geographic location all play a part in determining whether or not a team signs or trades for specific players.

A good reason why previous Gold Glove Award winners like as Juan Lagares, Byron Buxton, and Brett Gardner do not play every day is because they are injured.

There are some awful outfielders, such as Dominic Smith and Kyle Schwarber, who start every game without hesitation because they have the ability to smash the ball around.

He was a 300-hitting pitcher when he played.

The fact that the 2007 batting champion got the job done at his position is all that truly matters in the end.

Teams would obviously prefer a good defensive squad, but it is seldom a top priority during the off-season because most positions are replaceable, particularly in the outfield, and free slots on a roster are typically more suited for an offensive weapon than a strong defensive team.

Catchers, centerfielders, and middle infielders are the positions with the most reliance on defense.

The fact that players such as J.T.

Given the difficulty in finding offensively gifted catchers in the Major Leagues, clubs throughout the league have increasingly turned to defensive catchers as a more viable alternative.

Managers have come to believe that as long as a player learns how to play the outfield, they can put them anywhere on the field, which is a popular belief today.

Outs Above Average (OAA) is a method of determining how many more outs a particular player contributes to his or her team.

Although it was a short season, Kiermaier had 17 OAA in 2019, which may be used as a baseline to compare to a full season.

While both Myers and Conforto hit well over.280 with a slugging percentage of.900 or higher in 2020, Myers and Conforto hit well over.280 in 2019.

How many runs are saved on defense, and how many are lost on offense, is a mystery.

Because they are usually the primary catalysts involved in turning a double play, middle infielders are critical to the success of any team.

Shortstop, in particular, is expected to be the best defender on the team due to the fact that the position receives the most possibilities to defend the ball.

Despite having a disappointing defensive season in 2020, Simmons is still on track to become the finest fielder in the game since Ozzie Smith retired in 2008.

Smith ranks first in MLB history in Defensive WAR (Wins Above Replacement), with a 44.2 mark that is over five wins above the league average.

Simmons has a 26.6 Defensive WAR at the age of 30, which ranks him 14th all-time among defensive players.

Defense can only take a team so far in terms of success.

He was unable to assist the Braves achieve anything noteworthy during his first four seasons in Atlanta, and he has failed to help the Angels go any farther in the season than they were before acquiring him.

The ability to be replaced is the most important element.

Even though there is a large discrepancy between the weakest and greatest fielders, this is not an impediment that cannot be overcome.

Pitching and hitting are the key foci of the sport, with fielding being just “expectable.” This is why players who perform admirably on the diamond do not receive the same compensation as home run hitters and dominant pitchers. Although fielding is vital, victory does not rely on it solely.

Defending the Defense in Baseball

There are echoes of Willie Mays here. In baseball, there is nothing more exciting than a spectacular defensive play. Whether it’s scaling the wall to deny a player a home run, making a high-speed, full-extension diving grab, or doing a behind-the-back flip to turn two, there’s something for everyone. Defensive plays have the ability to completely alter the course of a game. Exception being the 2004 Red Sox, every club that has gone on to win the World Series since 2001 has had a fielding percentage and an error rate that were among the best five in the league.

  1. Trying to win games while allowing a team to have more than 27 outs is a difficult undertaking.
  2. Having a field full of strong defenders may significantly improve a baseball team’s chances of winning games.
  3. When you think about defensive stars in today’s game, names like Jim Edmonds, Andrew Jones, Scott Rolen, and Torii Hunter spring to mind.
  4. However, who is the most talented at each position?
  5. How many of your favorite players do you think will be included on this list?
  6. Throughout his career, he has made 160 errors without being penalized for it (also an MLB record).
  7. 3) TODD HELTON – A three-time Gold Glove Award winner, Helton has been an outstanding defender his whole pro football career.

TWO-THIRD BASE 1.PLACIDO POLANCO – Polanco has been a bright star in the Detroit Red Wings organization, going errorless in 683 opportunities last season.

MARK ELLIS is one of the league’s most underappreciated defenders, and he deserves to be recognized.

He may not be the most flashy player on the field, but there is no questioning his ability to be a rock at the second base position.

All season, he combines natural agility with good technique and an unshakeable heart to convert himself into baseball’s version of the magician, making base hits disappear on a consistent basis around the league.

Over the course of his career at shortstop, the New York Yankees skipper has been nothing short of extraordinary.

November is a model for the position, having been the topic of several great replays, being a three-time Gold Glove winner, and being a defensive genius.

He got his first Gold Glove in 2001, and he added another one to his collection this year.

3.OMAR VIZQUEL – Vizquel is another player who has maintained his place for an extended period of time.

THIRD BASE OFFICIAL WEBSITE If you’re talking about defensive infielders, you’ve probably heard the name Scott Rolen mentioned more than once.

He is a seven-time Gold Glover, and while injuries have reduced his offensive production, his defense remains among the best in the league.

He is a joy to see in action and makes plays that the ordinary third baseman would go to bed thinking about making the next day.

3.ERIC CHAVEZ – Chavez is one of those players that can be relied upon to perform consistently throughout a game.

PITCHER 1.GREG MADDUX – This should come as no surprise.

He holds the distinction of being the recipient of a record 17 Gold Gloves.

Secondly, Kenny Rogers is a five-time Gold Glove Award-winning pitcher whose defensive play can be summed up in an one word: heart.

Without a doubt, he is the best defensive pitcher of his generation, with the exception of Maddux.

Mussina has been a steady defender throughout his career, even when his pitching hasn’t been as good as it has been.

Catcher 1.IVAN RODRIGUEZ – Pudge is a 13-time Gold Glove winner in the position of catcher, and with good cause.

2.YADIER MOLINA – Molina is the most feared catcher in the league, especially among baserunners on the opposing team.

This demonstrates that not many people had the audacity to stand up to him.

While Ross is more recognized for his strong swing, he is much more than simply a fearsome catcher.

A Gold Glove winner in center field for the previous seven seasons, Ichiro has gifted us with elegance and supremacy in center field from the day he stepped onto a Major League Baseball field on April 2, 2001.

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2.JIM EDMONDS – Yes, some people believe he is a washed up actor.

I’m confident they’re referring to his previous infraction.

In the history of the game, several of his receptions have gone down in history as the best of all time.

3.ANDRUW JONES – Jones has established a high bar for defensive outfielders by setting a high standard for himself.

His speed and vision are on par with his drive, providing him with the capabilities to make any catch he sets his sights on.

Watching him play first base, on the other hand, was a different story.

Over the previous two seasons, no starting first baseman has committed as many mistakes or had a worse fielding % than Josh Donaldson.

However, he has a long way to go before he can be considered an effective defender.

He is prone to dropping not only balls that are hit to him, but also balls that are thrown to him.


His problem is that he is a slacker.

1.IAN KINSLER – Kinsler has had the poorest fielding percentage and error total among second basemen over the previous two seasons, according to Baseball Reference.

He could undoubtedly make improvements if he put forth the effort.

Jeff Kent is a player that does a lot of things to help his team win games, but one of those things is not making major defensive plays on the field.

When it comes to errors committed and fielding %, he is consistently around the bottom of the league.

His 43 blunders in the last three seasons are not anything to be laughed at.

SHORTSTOP 1.HANLEY RAMIREZ – Ramirez is still in his early twenties.

Now that Carlos Guillen is at first base, Ramirez has earned the distinction of being the worst fielding shortstop in baseball.

2.FELIPE LOPEZ – His 65 errors over the past three seasons are the most in the majors.

The fact that Lopez makes a lot of difficult plays, combined with his inability to make the easy ones, earns him the reputation of being a bad defensive player.

3.DAVID ECKSTEIN – Yes, the tiny person tries his hardest to succeed.

But, no, he isn’t a really effective defender.

Because his arm is so weak, he needs to hurl his entire body into his throws to make them effective.

THIRD BASE 1.MIGUEL CABRERA – Cabrera is a valuable member of his team who makes a positive overall contribution.

He does, however, need to build on his defensive skills.

2.EDWIN ENCARNACION – Encarnacion’s offensive stats have improved, but his fielding has stayed stagnant.

His fielding efficiency and error totals are at atrocious levels.

He has performed admirably in critical situations.

He lacks the big-game experience and makes a number of unforced errors.

PITCHER Over the previous two seasons, Jose Contreras has had the poorest fielding % of any pitcher in baseball, according to Baseball Prospectus.

DONTTRELLE WILLIS – Willis has committed more mistakes than any other pitcher over the course of the past three seasons.

Three-year veteran Scott Kazmir has never been a particularly excellent defensive player, but in 2007, he had his worst fielding % since his rookie season.

Brian McCANN is the type of catcher who could entice David Ortiz to attempt a stolen base attempt against him.

Only two catchers made more mistakes than the rest of the team last season.

He made nine mistakes in the previous season and has shown no signs of improving this year.

His ability to defend himself, on the other hand, was not one of the assets he brought to the table.

OUTFIELD 1.PAT BURRELL – In left field, Burrell is nothing short of an embarrassment.

Burrell is sluggish and unsteady on his feet in the outfield, and he needs to improve his ability to read deep fly balls.

He possesses the speed to get to the majority of the balls.

He commits a lot of blunders, as seen by his nine errors in the penultimate season of the season.

He has a reputation for being a poor defender.

He has been criticized of being sluggish and not putting out his best effort on every occasion.

So there you have it, my selection of the finest and the worst of the worst. I hope you found this article to be interesting. I’m looking forward to reading your comments and hearing any feedback you may have.

Graphics of Every Baseball Infield Defense w/Explanations

Where should a coach position his infield in order to provide the greatest potential defense given the current circumstances? When teaching young baseball, what are the fundamental baseball infield positions that should be taught? What kind of shifts should players make based on the handedness of the batter?

In this guide to baseball infield defenses, we’ll cover both simple and advanced shifts and strategies:

  • Defenses include standard infield depth, the infield “in,” the infield Halfway (a seldom used option), shifting, and several more options.

Using the table of contents below, you can go forward to any point in the article. Check out my book below, and be sure to subscribe to my baseball YouTube channel if you’re searching for a terrific pitching resource as well. This essay, as well as my other resources, will be an excellent starting point for any coach trying to improve his baseball IQ.

For Reference: Player Position Numbers

Due to the fact that positional numbers are not taught as frequently as they were in the past, it is necessary to review them rapidly here. Parents use applications like Gamechanger to keep score in the bleachers, which is more convenient for players who used to feel more comfortable holding a baseball scorebook in their hands.

  • Fielders are designated as follows: pitcher (P), catcher (C), first baseman (1B), second baseman (2B), shortstop (SS), third baseman (3B), left fielder (LF), center fielder (CF), right fielder (RF), and pitcher (P). Pitcher (P) is fielder1, catcher (C) is fielder2, first baseman (1B), second baseman (2B), shortstop (SS), third baseman (3B), and pitcher (P).

Basic Baseball Infield Defenses

In order to get started, let’s go over the fundamentals of baseball infield defense – the tried and proven handful of team positions that will be utilized in the majority of circumstances.

Watch this video for an in-depth explanation

By “standard,” we simply refer to the way players would be lined up on the field before the hitter even steps into the batter’s box before the game begins. Even at the top levels of baseball, there isn’t really just one right technique to set up — there will always be some degree of shading (slight movement in either direction), shifting, and other variations based on circumstances such as:

  • The hitter’s left- or right-handedness
  • • The hitter’s reaction time
  • The current state of the game
  • The proclivity of a batter to bunt or not to bunt
  • A hitter’s proclivity to hit to one side of the field more often than to the other side

Even when playing straight-up, as seen in the figure below, a variety of elements come into play, but the basic baseball defense includes a few noteworthy aspects to be aware of:

  1. Because the throw to first is not nearly as far as it is for the shortstop, the second baseman will play deeper than the shortstop. Because he is so near to the base, the first baseman will be forced to play deeper than the third baseman. Because the third baseman has a long throw, and most bunting hitters will attempt to push the ball down the third base line, the third baseman will typically start closer to the plate early in the count, then move back if no runners are on base and the hitter has passed the point of bunting if no runners are on base. After they have one or two strikes against them, batters rarely attempt to bunt, while third basemen are typically unconcerned with bunt threats after a strike has been called.

As a result of the shorter distance between second and first base, the second baseman will play deeper than the shortstop. Because he is so near to the base, the first baseman will play deeper than the third baseman. As a result of the third baseman’s long throw and the fact that most bunting hitters will attempt to push the bunt down the third base line, the third baseman will typically begin closer to the plate early in the count, then move back if no runners are on base and the hitter has passed the point of bunting.

Infield “In” Can Preserve a Victory

Bringing the infield in is a game-ending play when the tying run or go-ahead run is on third base with 0 or 1 out and the game is tied. This run must be stopped from scoring, therefore all four infielders are pulled in to the edge of the grass to prevent any ground balls from being tossed in to the stands. The infield insituation is one that is frequently misused by greedy coaches in order to prevent a run from being scored early in a game. Although the infield is in, the difficulty with it is that it significantly decreases the range of the infielders.

In many circumstances, bloopers can land on the infield dirt and be turned into base hits, while medium-hit ground balls can also be turned into base hits since the fielders are so near. It is acceptable for the infield-in defense to be utilized early in games if the coach thinks the following:

  1. A very high likelihood that the hitter will hit a grounder is implied by this statement. We believe that giving up a hit as a result of decreasing infielder range will not result in an inning with many runs scored. It is possible for the pitcher to exert sufficient influence over the game to merit anxiety about a single run.

Bringing the infield into play early in close, pitchers’ duel-type games where it is evident that one run may make or break the game is a strategy used by some coaches to prevent an early run. Depending on the circumstances, this might be a wise decision. However, in the majority of cases, bringing the infield in is done in the late innings when the outcome is evident and only a single run to draw or win the game must be kept from scoring.

Double Play Depth: Where it IsWhy It’s So Important

What is the definition of doubleplay depth? A hard-hit grounder with a high probability of turning into a double play causes the shortstop and second baseman to move closer to second base in order to be prepared to receive a rapid throw on the grounder. Ground ball double plays can occur in a variety of situations, the most significant of which are as follows:

  • They have been impacted very badly. Their location is dangerously near that of a fielder.

The time it takes to convert a double play will be excessive if a fielder must charge the ball for a long period of time. A fielder who needs to run a great distance to field a ground ball will also take an excessive amount of time to turn the ground ball. The majority of double plays occur on hard-hit ground balls that are within a few steps of a fielder’s position in any direction.

Middle Infielders’ Positioning in the Infield

Double plays happen in a VERY short period of time. This necessitates the positioning of both middle infielders closer to second base than is customary, because in order for a double play to be successful, they must be able to receive and get rid of the ball in the shortest amount of time. Furthermore, because double play balls are hit forcefully, they must be able to get to second base in under a second. This implies that their posture prior to the play must situate them approximately 8 steps away from the bag – often eight steps above and behind it in a diagonal fashion.

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FirstThird Baseman: Their Roles in the Double Play

The first baseman will be responsible for keeping the runner on first base, and he will move in front of the first base line when the pitch is thrown to him. The third baseman will either be on the same side as the third base bag or in front of it. The location of both of these fielders has a clear function as well: to get the ground ball fielded and on its way to second base as quickly as possible after it is hit. Playing at the back of the field takes up too much time. When a double play is in order, I notice far too many youth players (16U and under) playing in their typical alignment, which is unacceptable.

Depth in doubleplay should be an element of practice from a young age, and it should be emphasized throughout games.

More Advanced Baseball Infield Defenses

Infield positioning decisions are seldom black-and-white, and theInfield halfwayposition is a gray area of defense that may be exploited by opponents.

Infield Halfway – A Gray Area Type of Positioning

Halfway implies exactly what it says – the shortstop and second baseman both play in considerably further than they normally would, but not so far in that they lose their range (as they would if the infield were completely “in”).

How Infield Halfway is Best Used

In situations where smart coaches want to give their players two alternatives, they bring the infield in halfway.

  • In situations where smart coaches want to give their players two choices, they bring the infield in halfway.

When the Halfway Defense Makes Sense

  • Runner on third with one out
  • First and third when the run is essential
  • Runner on third with one out

To put it another way, the infield halfway defense is intended to allow the shortstop or second baseman to exercise their judgement and go home on a ball that is hit too softly to be turned into a double play. To not yield a run in situations where they would ordinarily do so, such as the 5th inning with a runner on third and one out, is known as the “ORI” technique. The coach might decide to move the middle infield in halfway rather than allowing the run to score on a simple grounder to third.

Many times I’ve witnessed this technique in action, and it’s successful at all levels of baseball.

Slight Shifts in Positioning for 1st3rd Basemen

Although this is not a real shift in the sense that all of the players are moving in a dramatic manner, it is a ROUTINE shift that ALL high-level players perform on a regular basis when playing standard odds according to usual hitter tendencies:

  • The majority of batters will draw the ball far more than they would go the other way. It is extremely unusual for a hitter to hit a ball down the line in the opposite direction of the pitching motion.

As a result, when a lefty is on the mound, competent third basemen make a typical shift away from the line. When a right-handed pitcher is on the mound, good first basemen make a typical shift away from the first base line.

How a 3rd Baseman Positions Himself with a Lefty Up

Take a look at the spray chart overlay (in red) to see how lefties prefer to spray the ball in a more or less regular distribution.

How a 1st Baseman Positions Himself with a Righty Up

The shortstop and second baseman may also move a little, although it is not usually a significant amount of movement. They do this in circumstances where the bases are clear and they are not required to protect their home base, hold a runner on base, or receive a throw on a steal, among other things. When the third baseman is not required to hold the bag for any reason and a lefty is up, he will move 6-10 feet toward second to play the odds and cover the gap between third and short, conceding more of the line because it is highly unlikely that a lefty will hit a ball down the line in the opposite direction as he does when he is holding the bag.

This should be taught to your players!

Should Youth Baseball Teams Use The Shift?

And at what point should teams switch their infielders and outfielders around? Is one at-bat or one game’s worth of data enough to make a determination? Learn the reasons why tiny samples in baseball are not a good signal of what to do by watching the video below.

Common Infield Defense Coaching Mistakes

When it comes to modifying their infield positioning, many amateur coaches make a blunders. Here are a few examples of common blunders.

Mistake1: Bringing the infield in too early and/or often

Keeping in mind that, while pulling the entire infield in early in the game may seem like an excellent technique to prevent a run from scoring, it gives infielders such little time to respond that it causes a significant number of potentially routine outs to become base hits.

This basically opens the floodgates and allows an inning to continue to progress. Bringing the infield into the game can be effective in specific scenarios and/or be low-risk at certain points early in the game, but many coaches end up hurting their teams by overusing this strategy.

Mistake2: Failing to utilize the “infield halfway” position

When you have a runner on third base with 0 or 1 out, you do not necessarily have to allow a run. Furthermore, you do not necessarily have to bring the infield in all the way to prevent this conceded run. The infield midway position may be extremely successful when manned by two intelligent middle infielders who are aware of their arm power and can make split-second decisions about whether to go home, to second, or to first base. If they are able to do this, halfway may be feasible.

Mistake3: Being too rigid about positioning

The ability to position one’s self in the infield in baseball requires a great deal of skill and situational awareness – it’s not something that should be overly rigid about because players of different ages have different skills and their positioning should reflect their range, arm strength, and other factors. Never put a player in an incorrect position simply because it is the customary position for a player to set up. Certain areas are required for a purpose, however as players progress in their development their skills alter at a quick pace.

Mistake4: Not shifting on righties vs lefties in non-force situations

This is a no-brainer: players, particularly corner infielders, must shift slightly in order to maximize their chances of winning when the situation calls for it.

More Baseball Resources

I hope you found this essay about the various infield positions in baseball, both simple and advanced, to be of use. Check out some of my other resources listed below for more useful information.

  • I hope you found this essay about the many infield positions in baseball, both easy and advanced, to be of use. Please see my further resources below for more useful information.

Additionally, you may get a copy of my pitching book at the link below.

FAQ – Common Questions About Infield Positioning in Baseball

It is common for the shortstop and second baseman to take positions closer to second base when a hard-hit grounder has the potential to turn into a double play. This is known as double play depth. Typically, this entails taking eight steps back and eight steps forward.

Why is the infield in position not used all the time?

It significantly reduces the range of infielders, allowing ordinarily easily retrieved ground balls and bloopers to go through the cracks and score runs for the other team.

Baseball: The Only Game Where the Defense Has the Ball

ESSENTIAL COMPETENCES Written by Darren Fenster In a nine-inning baseball game, each team receives a total of 27 strikeouts. Great defensive teams don’t offer any more opportunities to their opponents than that. We’ve already established that the teams who play catch the best are almost always the greatest teams in the league. Those who find it difficult to continuously handle the ball neatly are more likely to make mistakes. Extra outs are a result of errors. Extra outs equate to additional runs.

Great defensive players, regardless of position, are not developed in games, but rather via practice.

Develop your skills by breaking them down to their most basic components, isolating a single portion of a certain talent, and then building them up from there.

Putting your infielders on their knees to field hand rolled ground balls is similar to a batter starting his day on the tee.

Tell your outfielders to take their gloves off in order to learn how to catch the ball accurately in front of them, above their heads, and with strong fundamentals, much like pitchers do in order to improve their delivery.

Give them one item to concentrate on, and you’ll find yourself fast moving on to the next phase before you realize it.

We are always eager to move on to the next thing so that we may go on to the thing after that, and we do so much too often before our players are actually ready for the next thing.

When they are able to perform the tasks we are asking them to perform.

If they can’t do it slowly, they won’t be able to do it quickly.

The second stage is to increase the speed of the procedure.

Assemble your catchers to throw to the bases with the ball starting in their glove so that they may practice exchanging the ball into their throwing hand.

Also, there is a time and a place when infielders and outfielders can progress with the glove on their hands as well as, if not better than, they can improve anyplace else.

There is no exercise or fungo that can better simulate a game-like practice repetition than batting practice, which allows the defenders to improve on their pre-pitch (or ready) stance, their first step quickness, and routes to the ball during batting practice sessions.

Gold Glove Award recipients utilize it to put in long hours of effort.

When kids begin their day with a game of catch, they learn how to catch the ball.

In his current position, Darren Fenster works as the Boston Red Sox’s Minor League Outfield and Baserunning Coordinator in the Minor Leagues.

In 2012, Fenster joined the Red Sox organization after serving in a variety of capacities on the Rutgers University Baseball staff, where he was a two-time All-American for the Scarlet Knights.

A former player in the Kansas City Royals minor league system, Fenster joined the Red Sox organization in 2012. Aside from that, Fenster serves as the Founder and CEO of Coaching Your Kids, LLC. He can be reached on Twitter at @CoachYourKids.

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