Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

Fake pickoffs to second base

May 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Pitching

As pitchers get older and runners are able to steal, the ability to hold runners becomes more important.  What a lot of young pitchers fail to realize is that holding runners does not have to mean picking runners off.

Don't wait for the infielder to go to the bag.  Spin and fake a throw!

Don’t wait for the infielder to go to the bag. Spin and fake a throw!

 I’m a big fan of pickoffs and think pitchers often overlook that possibility during games but even so, a pitcher can do many things to keep runners close without actually picking them off.

One such method is a fake pickoff to second base.  Too often pitchers will only spin to second for a pickoff when a middle infielder goes to the bag.  Spinning and faking a throw regardless of what the middle infielders do has a lot of merit on its own.  Coming set, looking back at the runner, and then spinning like you’re going to throw to second base has a few big advantages for pitchers.  First of all, you let the runner know that you are paying attention to where his lead is.  That alone will stop some runners from stealing on their own.  Second, if you have quick feet, you let the runner know (and all his teammates who are watching as well) that you have a quick move to second base and next time there might just be throw.  That also can shorten future runners’ leads.  Third, if a pitcher has accuracy issues when throwing to second base, the other team doesn’t know it.  That’s because a throw is not made.  You are convincing them to shorten their leads based on your footwork, not your throw.

If you are a pitcher then don’t sit back and wait for pickoffs to be called by someone else.  Take it upon yourself to try some on your own and just don’t throw the ball.  You can do this to any base but the fake pickoff to second base is the most effective.

Note:  If you try a fake pickoff to first base, you must step back off the rubber first before faking otherwise it will be called a balk.  It can be done but I don’t recommend fake throws to first.  Personally, I don’t think they are very effective.

Tomorrow’s post:  Give your teammates a breather

Comments

2 Responses to “Fake pickoffs to second base”
  1. Brian Edwards says:

    As a young Little Leaguer I was known for a deadly pickoff move that involved faking the throw to second base but actually throwing to first. Most runners on first when they see a pickoff coming to second they will look toward second waiting to see if the ball goes past into the outfield. During this move if they do that they are goners. This is especially effective when your first baseman is not holding the runner on. He can sneak in behind the runner during the move such that a quick flip over to first results in an easy out. I don’t know how many runners I picked off of first base in my career using that move but it was probably mid to high double digits.

    • Thanks for the comment, Brian. I can honestly say I’ve never seen your move done before. It sounds great though! I’ve seen a fake to third and then a throw to first base but never a fake to second base. I’ll look into it! Thanks again for sharing! – Coach McCreary

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