Friday, December 15th, 2017

Don’t rely on teammates

The title of this post may seem a little strange on the surface since the essense of teamwork is working together and relying on your teammates.  However, relying too much on teammates can

It would be nice for the catcher to speak up on a bunt but don't rely on it

It would be nice for the catcher to speak up on a bunt but don’t rely on it

cause some problems and prevent players from efficiently making plays.  Here are three examples:

1. On a relay throw to the third baseman from the left fielder, the ball strays offline.  The catcher fails to say “CUT, HOME!” so the third basemen lets it go.  The runner scores easily.

Technically speaking, the third baseman did his job by letting it go when he heard nothing from the catcher.  However, if he saw the throw heading offline to the catcher, he should have cut it regardless of what the catcher says or doesn’t say.  It’s a case of relying on the catcher too much and not acting on what the player can clearly see for himself.

2. A pitcher jumps off the mound to field a bunt.  As he approaches the ball, the pitcher is listening for the catcher to tell him where to throw it.  The catcher either speaks too softly, not at all, or waits too long.  The pitcher fields and then freezes because he was not told where to throw it.

Once again, some of the blame clearly goes to the catcher but the pitcher made the mistake on relying too much on the catcher.  Ideally, the pitcher should know where the runners are, how fast they can run, the situation at the time – score, outs, etc., and therefore should know his options no matter what the catcher says or doesn’t say.

3. A runner breaks off first base on the pitch on an attempt to steal second base.  The first baseman says nothing.  The middle infielder who is covering on the steal gets there too late and the catcher’s throw goes into the outfield.  The runner gets to third base.

If the middle infielders are doing what they should be doing before the pitch, namely a “double peek” at the runner (just when the pitcher starts to deliver AND after the pitch crosses the hitting zone), it should not make any difference at all whether a single person on the field or dugout says “RUNNER!

There are other examples of this as well.  The point is that even though it would be nice if everyone said what they should say at the correct time, most plays do not require help from your teammates.

Next post: Fake pickoffs to second base

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