Wednesday Web Gems
Analysis of Unnecessary Baseball Throws
Baseball defenses, who can avoid allowing runners to take extra bases and who avoid big innings of runs scored against them because they avoid making unnecessary baseball throws, give themselves the best chance at winning. This is true at all levels of baseball. Some baseball throws take experienced and advanced baseball players to make and should be discouraged until players gain that experience. Often, those big innings and runners getting extra bases are preventable just by not making the extra throw. With good coaching of baseball instincts, players learn when they should just hold the ball. Instructing players, when it is not a good time to make throws, or the extra throw, prevents the unnecessary advancement of runners and the big innings and leads to more wins.
Following are baseball throws that coaches should discourage, or at least be sure players are “thinking and analyzing,” before making. Of course, the first process in the teaching of avoiding unnecessary throws has to do with coaching players to look, observe and quickly analyze their chances of getting the advancing runner. Youth baseball players often forget that this quick observation and analysis is possible and just make throws thinking that is what they are supposed to do.
Catching Position – The obvious throw for catchers to avoid is the one to second base when there is obviously no play on the base steal. There are many more ways to score from third base than second, especially with less than two outs, so catchers must learn to analyze when runners get a great jump on the pitcher, making the throw a no “chance” one, and therefore, an unnecessary one.
Pitcher – Often, pitchers throw to first on attempted pickoffs for no reason other than to just do it. Unless runners have an obvious big leadoff, pitchers should refrain from too many throws to first and hold runners on with varying their delivery and timing.
First Base – The throw to nail a runner going to second base on a ground ball hit to the first baseman, when that runner is directly in line with the covering-second player, is one that is generally not worth the risk. The precision necessary to avoid that advancing runner makes just getting the out at first the logical choice.
Second Base – Trying to complete the double play, when there is no chance of getting the batter, is another one of those instincts that second baseman must develop. This is a learned “feel play” because it is one play in baseball that is often a blind one, because the second baseman’s back is to the play at first base.
Shortstop – The throw to first from deep in the whole, as well as the spinning throw behind second base, are extremely tough ones that players must trust their baseball instincts before attempting.
Third base – The charging, slow roller throw is a difficult one and one where it may be best to just, “eat the ball” on. Off targets throws on this play often leads to runners not only advancing one base, but all the way to third base.
Outfield – Throwing behind the runner ( to the base runner has already) is the key one for outfielders to avoid. Outfielders must learn to know when they have no chance of getting the advancing runner and throw ahead of the runner to put a stop on the play.
Finally, discouraging these throws with multiple runners on the base paths is an even more baseball coaching necessity.