3 common tells where pitchers give themselves away, as well as how to recognize tendancies that will help you with how to steal 2nd base successfully
Stealing 2nd base off a right hander is more of a reaction movement. All the pre pitch analysis is the same as it is with a lefthander. Base stealers have a couple different places they will look on a pitcher to get the best read possible.
1. Left Heel. Some base runners will look at the pitchers left heel
- If the pitchers left heel comes off the ground and his right foot is still in contact with the rubber, he is pitching the ball home.
- If you are focused on his left heel and you see feet shifting or his right heel come off the ground, he is picking over to 1st.
- This movement of his right heel is so he can get his feet in a good position to throw over to first. The movement of his feet does not start without his right heel coming up off the ground.
2. Front Shoulder. Another place to look is the front shoulder. This along with the heel is the first body part that will move to start his motion towards home plate.
- If he turns his front shoulder in, he is throwing home.
- If his front shoulder opens up he will be throwing over to first base.
3. Back Knee. Some base runners will look at the pitchers back knee.
- This move is similar to the heel. If the back knee gets a little more bend in it once he starts with some movement he will be pitching the ball home.
- This knee bend is made possible by weight shift that the pitcher is trying to complete before he delivers the ball home.
- If his back knee stays straight and starts to spin, he is coming to first base.
Pro Base Stealing Tips
Tip #1: If a right handed pitcher is holding you on at first and his feet are close together, he probably doesn’t have a very good move.
Tip #2: If a right handed pitcher is holding you on at first base and he comes set with his hands at his belt, his pick off move will be a little slower. Starting in a low position his arm has to come up to get to a proper throwing position, that will take a fraction of a second longer.
Watching the entire pitcher VS watching specific body parts.
Watching the Entire Pitcher
Pros: Looking at the entire pitcher can be highly effective because you can better read his intent. Reading the whole body allows for you to get a good overall look at what pitchers are trying to do.
Cons: There are base runners that feel by looking at the entire pitcher and waiting to see what he does, slows your reaction time down and gives you a slower jump on your stolen base attempt.
Watching Specific Body Parts
Pros: Some base runners feel the only good way to get a great jump on a pitcher is to focus on something small that starts his motion and read that body part.
Cons: Some runners feel that if you focus on one part of the body (ie. The heel or front shoulder), you may be more susceptible to being picked off if a pitcher has a good move. Since these small body movements can easily be misread.
Sometimes a pitcher can be very subtle with his movements and if he is very subtle with the area in which you are looking (heel movement or shoulder turn) he may be able to pick you off.
Also, if the umpires are not on top of his move to first base, the pitcher may be able to get away with a “balk move”. This is a pick off move that is disguised as a pitch to home plate. This is not legal but if the pitcher is good at this, he will be able to pick off a lot of base runners.
A few examples of this would be if (1) Maybe the back knee buckles and the pitcher still picks over to first base; or (2) if the pitchers front shoulder closes off and then picks over to first.
The follow are tendencies to look for when trying to steal off of a righty.
1. Come Set or not.Some right handers come set when they are pitching home and they don’t come set when they are picking over to 1st.
2. Rhythm.Certain pitchers will keep the same rhythm when they pitch.
- A pitcher may come set and wait a certain amount of time every pitch (ie. One second).
- Once the he comes set, just start counting in your head and see if he pitches home on the same number every time.
- You may be surprised how many pitchers will not change up their rhythm.
3. Come set position.Some pitchers may come set in a little different position when he is throwing over to 1st and when he is pitching home.
- A pitcher may have his feet a little wider apart when he is attempting a pick off.
- A pitcher may do something different with his head. (ie. Look down before he picks over to first. Or maybe have quick head movements when he is going to try to pick you off)
- Some right handers will come set with their hands in a different spot. Especially if a pitcher comes set around his belt buckle. To throw to first from this position takes a lot more time than if his hands are higher. He may come set a little higher if he is planning on picking over to 1st, especially if he normally comes set pretty low.
Some teams have pitchers pick over to first on certain counts. Just pay attention to what a pitcher is doing out on the mound.
Many times a pitcher gets the pick off sign from the catcher, so he will shake yes and throw over to 1st. If he shakes no at least once, it could be a good indicator that he is not going to throw over to 1st. He may just want to throw a certain pitch and he is not shaking off a pick off attempt.
I hope this article with tips for how to steal 2nd base off a righty has been helpful. If so, I hope you’ll share with your friends and help us get the word out about the great free resources for serious baseball players from Pro Baseball Insider. Also, I invite you to leave feedback or ask questions in the comment section below. Play hard! – Doug
More on Base Stealing:
- How to Steal 2nd Base Off a Lefty – Pro tips for how to steal 2nd base when facing a lefty
- Stealing 3rd Base – How to steal third base
- Stealing Bases on a Wild Pitch – Pro tips for stealing bases on wild pitches, balls in the dirt, or passed balls.
- 12 Signs of a Good Base Runner – Twelve things that all good base runners should do.
- Base Running 1: Rules of Thumb – Three “rules of thumb” that every base runner needs to know.