Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

The shortstop’s priority when holding runners on

July 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Shortstop

There are a boatload of little things that shortstops should do in order to effectively hold runners on at second base.  However, one stands out as the top priority and that involves getting the runner (and third base coach!) comfortable with you being just off the runner’s left shoulder.

Unfortunately, many shortstops position themselves here with a runner at second base …

This next visual shows why this is a problem.

The shortstop has too long of a sprint to the bag should a pickoff be called or needed.  Of course, as soon as the shortstop breaks, the third base coach will yell “BACK!” and the runner will easily get back before the shortstop gets to the bag.

In order for the timing and element of surprise to work, the shortstop must position himself off the left shoulder of the runner before the pitch from the get-go and then hustle back to a better location on the pitch.  After doing this for several pitches, runners, innings, etc. both the runner and the third base coach will grow accustomed to you being there.  Now when a pickoff is warranted, the shortstop only has a short sprint to the bag as shown here …

If the pitcher spins at the proper moment (as soon as the shortstop breaks to the bag) then it will not matter if the coach yells to get back.  The shortstop will be at the bag and the ball will be on its way.

Mastering the footwork and timing takes a lot of practice and attention to detail by shortstops and pitchers.  Don’t take the time to practice it to get it right and you’ll miss a lot of opportunities to get an out without having to throw a pitch.



3 Responses to “The shortstop’s priority when holding runners on”
  1. Dave Vaccaro says:

    I will sometimes shift the entire theft side in this situation to compensate for the hole and force the opponent to beat us down the line. This can be done with the right side as well with RUNNERS AT 1st and second since we are not holding the runner at 1st….good stuff!!

  2. Bryan Clayton says:

    I saw an excellent example of this in live action yesterday. Both the runner at 2nd and the SS for our opponent were former Coach McCreary products. Its very cool to see this post after seeing this in real life. It was like baseball ballet watching it.

    Thank you, coach!

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