Monday, December 11th, 2017

Hey base stealers, steal early in the count

June 20, 2014 by  
Filed under Base Running, Hitting

When I played in college and pro ball I was a stereotypical two hitter in the line-up.  I switched hit, had descent speed, used the whole field, and could sac bunt, base hit bunt, and hit and run pretty well.  I also didn’t mind taking a pitch or two.  And as you get to the higher levels of college and beyond, being ok with

If you are a base stealer, go early!

If you are a base stealer, go early!

taking a pitch or two is essential for hitters in the second spot of the order.  That’s for three reasons.  First, seeing more pitches helps the big hitters behind you learn more about the pitcher.  Second, working the count gives you a better chance at walks and therefore puts a runner on for the three and four hitters coming up next.  Third, leadoff hitters usually are base stealers as well and should be good at getting on base in front of you.  Taking a couple pitches allows the base stealer to get to second base so the two hitter can use his at-bat to at least move him over to third base for the RBI guys coming up.

The third reason is what I want to focus on here in this post.

If you are a leadoff hitter who gets on base and steals a lot, be aware of what your second hitter is doing for you.  As I said, second hitters understand (or should be taught to understand) that part of the job description for that role is to give you a pitch or two to steal second base.  

Two hitters will get pretty annoyed if you wait too long to steal because taking strikes puts them in a hole.  0-1 is the price you pay for batting second.  If a two hitter has a problem with it, he shouldn’t be batting second.  0-2 and 1-2 are a different story.  If he’s gotten to those counts and the runner hasn’t tried to steal yet, the runner is making it very tough for his teammate.  

If he is going to willingly get into a hole for you, be sure to return the favor and steal within the first couple pitches.

Next post: Underhand and backhand flips to second base

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