When a baseball team is in the field, it must function as a unit to properly defend against the team at bat and have a good baseball defense plan. When the ball is hit, every player assigned to baseball defense has an assignment-a place to go, a maneuver to execute.
The fielders, of course, try to anticipate plays in advance and determine what will be done if a runner steals, if a pitch is bunted, if the batter lashes a hit to center-field, etc. To make adjustments, the fielders consider several things: The kind of hitter at bat, the strength of the pitcher in relation to the hitter, the type of pitch to be used and the general strategic situation, such as the score and inning.
Take a look at some of the simpler aspects of a Team’s baseball Defense.
The Hitter: If the batter hits consistently to left, the infield and outfield should move a step or two toward left field. If the hitter is short and light of build, he probably hasn’t much power. Bring the outfielders in two steps, the infielders in one step.
The Pitcher: Does the pitcher overpower most of the hitters? If so, the baseball defense should move a step or two to right for right hand batters, a step or two to left for left hand batters. This move is made on the assumption that the hitters will be a little late with their swing against a strong pitcher. If the pitcher has average speed, but throws a lot of curve balls, the outfield should move up and toward left field a step or two. A hitter has to supply much of his own power when hitting the curve. He also will bring the bat around quicker.
The Situation: With a runner on 1st, none out and the score even, or the batting team ahead, the defense must be prepared for the Sacrifice Bunt. Specifically, the outfielders should be ready to back up the bases; the shortstop should be ready to go to 2nd, and the second baseman to 1st. The pitcher, catcher and the third and first basemen should get set to rush in on the bunt. The diagrams on pages 90-99 show the defensive positions that are taken to offset certain plays by the offense. Here is a word description of what occurs in each situation.
THE SACRIFICE BUNT WITH RUNNERS ON 1ST
In addition to the moves described in the preceding paragraph, it should be noted if the third baseman fields the ball, the catcher must swing to his left and go forward to cover 3rd.
The outfielders, on anticipating the bunt, move forward about three steps on the pitcher’s downward swing. The left fielder, as soon as he is certain the ball will be bunted, circles to his right, running hard, until he comes to a point about 30 to 40 feet in back of 3rd. He’s ready now to back up a throw to 3rd from anyone on the right field side of the diamond.
Bunt Baseball defense with runner on 1st. If third baseman fields ball, catcher circles left after charging into diamond and continues along baseline to cover 3rd.
The center fielder, after he’s certain the ball will be bunted, charges to a point some 20 to 30 feet behind 2nd, where he can back up a throw to 2nd by the catcher, pitcher, third and first basemen.