How to Sacrifice Bunt

How to Sacrifice Bunt.  Learn when the hitter should consider a sacrifice bunt, the best placement for the situation, and 9 steps to execute the bunt so you can get it down every time.
Pro Bunting Tip:

You want to show the bunt early and give yourself the best opportunity for the defense to throw you out at first base.

The sacrifice bunt is a skill that can be used to advance runners. I believe with kids growing up using aluminum bats, there is less of an emphasis on learning and using the bunt.  Bunting is an important skill to learn.

Handling the bat and being able to bunt is a skill that can be taken for granted, until you are unsuccessful, and then your mechanics become magnified.

A sacrifice bunt is exactly what it sounds like, you are sacrificing yourself to advance the runners. If you advance the runners, you have been successful.

How to Sacrifice Bunt

1. Square Up.

Start out by getting in a regular batting stance and make sure your feet are square towards home plate. If you normally hit with an open stance, square your feet up and be in a relaxed position.

2. Step to the front of the batters box.

We give ourselves an easier angle and more room to keep the ball fair than if we were further back in the box.

3. Take your back foot and pivot towards the pitcher.

Make sure to pivot all the way around, so your back hip is facing the pitcher. When you make a complete pivot, your bat will end up in front of the plate, which is a much more consistent position to bunt from.

SWB Yankee Greg Golson prepares to bunt. Pro tips for how to sacrifice bunt

How to sacrifice bunt. Image by Frank Lauri

4. Hand Position.

Move your top hand up the bat to just above the label. Keep your bottom hand near the knob of the bat, don’t bring it up to meet your top hand.

5. Extend your arms toward the pitcher.

This accomplishes two things:

  1. The bat is in fair territory. It is easier to keep the ball fair if your bat is already there.
  2. Keeping your bat away from your body allows your hands to work independent from the rest of your body, and will help you make adjustments to the pitch coming in.
  3. Your eyes will be able to see the ball make contact with the bat, if your hands are out in front of you properly.
6. Start with the bat at the top of the strike zone,

for two reasons:

  1. It is easier to lower the bat to bunt a baseball than to move it up.
  2. Anything that is above your bat will be a ball, so all you need to worry about are balls beneath the height of your bat.
7. Keep the barrel of the bat above the knob of the bat at all times, even at contact.

If the barrel drops then we have a much better chance to pop up a bunt, or miss the ball all together. Be extra careful on pitches away, we may feel we get more plate coverage when we need to drop our barrel. Not true.

8. Use your legs.

To bunt a ball lower than where our bat started, we need to drop in our knees to get lower and keep our angle on the bat the entire time. This is where we can get lazy and just drop our barrel and not use our legs.

9. Finally, catch the ball with the bat.

Be soft with your hands, don’t jab at the baseball.

Need a wood bat?  Check out our Guide to the best wood bats for help selecting just the right ones.

When should I put down a sacrifice bunt towards first base?

Answer: Put a sac bunt toward first base when there is a runner at first base only.
Why?
The first baseman has to hold the runner on at 1st base, and can’t break toward home plate until the pitcher breaks to throw home. The third baseman and the pitcher are charging hard, so the open area to lay down the sacrifice is towards first base.

When should I put down a sacrifice bunt towards third base?

Answer:
For a sacrifice bunt, you should bunt toward third base when there are runners at 1st and 2nd base or second base only.

Why?

  • The 3rd baseman can’t get too close to the hitter or the runner at 2nd can steal third base.
  • The first baseman doesn’t have to hold the runner on at 1st base, so he and the pitcher are charging hard.

Make the third baseman field the ball because if he does than no one is covering 3rd base, so the runner can walk into that bag.

His only play will be at 1st base unless the ball is bunted really hard where he can then try for a double play at 2nd base.

Next:  5 Pro Bunting Tips to get the bunt down every time

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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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