First Base Tips – Turning Double Plays

First base tips – How to make the throw to 2nd when starting a double play.

first base tips for turning a double play when throwing to 2nd baseImportant Note on Double Plays.

If you are expecting a double play, you need get back to the bag after you make the throw.

The pitcher will try to get there but it is a difficult play for the shortstop to hit the pitcher on the run and for him to catch the ball and find the bag. If at all possible, get back to the bag to take the throw from the shortstop.

If you are throwing to 2nd, then you likely are either (1) positioned to hold the runner on 1st, or (2) playing behind the runner.  Your approach should vary based on the game situation and what you are trying to accomplish.

Situation 1: When Holding A Runner On First Base

There are two different ways to make a throw to 2nd when holding a runner on at first base.

Tips from a Pro

Making the Throw to Second Base…

As a Left Handed 1st Baseman.

The throw to 2nd is a little easier for a left-handed 1st baseman. Whether its hit to his backhand, forehand, or right at him, he just needs to field the ball, take a step or two inside the baseline (towards the catcher), and make a throw.

This move of clearing yourself from the baseline and the runner is so you have a clear throwing lane to 2nd base and your shortstop can catch the ball with no interference from the baserunner.

As a Right Handed 1st Baseman.

The setup for this throw can vary a little bit, according to your personal preference. I recommend that you work ahead-of-time to decide which of these two approaches makes you feel most comfortable and allows you to get your body in a quality position.

  • Option 1: Move your body.

    The first way is to get in front of every ground ball that you can, even if it is hit to your right. Once you field the baseball, you can spin counterclockwise and be in a good position to make the throw.

    Make sure you clear yourself from the baseline and the runner, so your throw to the shortstop doesn’t hit the runner. All you need is a clear throwing lane, so your move may just be one step towards the catcher – or, you might need to move two or three steps depending on how close the baserunner is running to the infield grass.

    A ball that hits the baserunner is still in play. For example, if it ricochets off the runner into the outfield, he might be able to advance extra bases.

    Beware. A common source of errors is when the fielder starts spinning before ball is secured, and ends up not making the play. To avoid this, be sure you secure the ball before you spin. As I will talk about in the fielding section, you can have your feet starting the movement as long as your upper body stays square and still. This will allow for a quick spin and for you to field the ball.

  • Option 2: Backhand.

    The other way is to backhand balls that come directly at you or to your right.

    When using this approach, after fielding the ball, keep your feet moving toward the pitchers mound (to clear yourself for your throw).

    Once you have a throwing lane, get your feet moving in the direction of 2nd base.

    This is where the problems arise.  If your feet are not moving towards second base when you are making the throw, you are making the play much more difficult than it should be. Another good thing about this way is that you are watching the play develop in front of you the whole time, you never show your back to the runner and shortstop.

Situation 2: When Playing Behind the Runner.

The depth at which you would play behind a baserunner on 1st base varies based on two factors:

  1. How close you want to keep him to the 1st base bag, and
  2. How much ground you are trying to cover to guard against the hitter.

All of the techniques and throws to 2nd are the same whether you are holding the runner on or playing behind. The only difference is that when you field the ball behind the runner, you don’t need to clear yourself to create a throwing lane. The lane is already there because of your pre-pitch positioning.

More Instruction for 1st Basemen:

About Author

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. Where is he now? After batting .200 in 45 at-bats and fielding .950 during 2017 spring training with the Rangers, Doug was assigned to the Ranger's AAA team the Round Rock Express. You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier

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