Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Playing behind the runner at first base

May 27, 2014 by  
Filed under Coaching, First Base

Here are my situations when playing behind the runner at first base is either the right move or at least a possibility:

Not every situation demands holding the runner on at first

Not every situation demands holding the runner on at first


  1. A runner on second or second and third as well.  This is one of the few absolutes in baseball.  DO NOT have your first baseman hold the runner on when there is also a runner on second base or second and third base.  I was disappointed how many times I saw this at the high school level.
  2. Late in the game when you have a few run lead and a lefty is up.  If the runner is quick you can have the first baseman play right behind the runner.  If the runner is slow, he can play a little deeper.
  3. 3-2 count with two outs.  Play right behind the runner so his lead does not get too big.  
  4. A left handed batter up and a complete non-runner at first base.  You’ll sometimes see this done on MLB teams when there is a pitcher at first base.

When you tell the first baseman to play behind the runner, be sure to let the pitcher know that this is happening.  You don’t want the pitcher thinking he is there and throwing a pickoff throw to first base when nobody is there.

Also, in some situations it may be better for the first baseman to play in front of the runner instead of behind him.  Playing corners up for a bunt is one example.

Tomorrow’s post:  Why the less talented player starts over you

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