Baseball FAQ

Get your baseball questions answered here. If you don’t find the answer, feel free to post your question in the comments below.

Our goal is to provide simple, accurate answers from MLB or MiLB players, coaches or trainers.

Common baseball terms explained

What is an RBI?

RBI means “Run Batted In” If a player has 68 RBI’s on the season, that means he scored a base runner 68 times.

What does “BB” mean in baseball?

BB, or “Base on Balls”, and refers to when a batter advances to 1st base because of 4 balls, or 4 pitches outside the strike zone.

What is a plate appearance?

Not to be confused with an at-bat. A “plate appearance” just refers to anytime a player comes to the plate, including walks and other situations that would not be considered an “at-bat.”

What does it mean to “hit for the cycle”?     

Hitting for the cycle means a player has hit a single, double, triple, and home run all in one game.  It’s pretty rare, almost the equivalent of a pitcher throwing a no hitter.

What do the numbers mean in baseball plays?

The numbers represent field positions. Click here to view a diagram of the positions.

How many baseball players are on a team?

Twenty-five guys can be active on a roster. There may be more guys on the DL (disabled list). And, of course, 9 guys on the field.

How do baseball minor leagues work?

All professional baseball teams (eg. New York Yankees) have a hierarchy of Minor League Baseball teams which are used for player development. The lowest levels are “short season” and “rookie ball.” Next comes low A, high A, double A, and finally triple A is the highest minor league level.

What is a single?

The batter gets a hit and advances to first base.

What is a double?

The batter gets a hit and advances to second base.

What is a triple?

The batter gets a hit and advances to third base.

What is a walk?

A batter has been walked (BB, or Base on Balls) if he advanced to 1st base because the pitcher threw 4 balls (i.e. pitches outside the strike zone).

What is the strike zone?

The strike zone is an imaginary box through which a pitcher must throw the ball for it to count as a strike. If the umpire deems the ball was throw outside of this imaginary box, he will call it a “ball.”Officially, the strike zone is from an imaginary line at his chest (halfway between the top of the hitter’s shoulders and the top of his pants) to just below the knee caps. However, hitters and pitchers will tell you it changes from umpire to umpire, and usually is more like waste to knees. The rule book also says, “The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter’s stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.”

What is a walk-off hit or home run in baseball?

A hit or home run that scores the winning run/s and ends the game. Since the home team bats second, this can only be done by the home team during the last inning of a game or during extra innings.

What is a balk in baseball?

The official rules state, “A BALK is an illegal act by the pitcher with a runner or runners on base, entitling all runners to advance one base.” Balks are enforced in order to keep pitchers from trying to deceive base runners. This article explains what a balk is and how to recognize one.

Field FAQ’s

What is the distance between bases? 

90 feet. The distance from home plate to first base is 90 feet, and that is the same for 1st base to 2nd, 2nd to 3rd, and so on.

What is the distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate?

60 ft 6 inches.

Are all major and minor league fields the same size?

Yes. Distance between bases, size of the batter’s box, and nearly every other measure is exactly the same. The exception is the distance to the outfield wall, can change significantly from field to field. However, when it comes to outfield dimensions, sometimes the minor league fields are larger and sometimes the major league fields are larger.

 

About Author

Avatar für Doug Bernier

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, PIT 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. (You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier) Where is he now? After 16 years of playing professionally, Doug retired and took a position as a Major League scout with the Colorado Rockies for 2 years. Currently Doug is the Data and Game Planning Coordinator with the Colorado Rockies

3 Comments

  1. Avatar für Kelly Sapp

    This is my 1st yr watching the college WS, tho I’ve been watching softball world series for many years.
    1. Can a senior be drafted by a ML team, but choose to return for another yr at college? Why would they do that? Isn’t getting into the majors the important thing?
    2. How many yrs can one play college baseball? It’s different than college football, is that correct?
    I am sincerely interested in learning about this. I am a home grown FSU Seminole (fan). So this yr, I’m happily watching the Noles.
    Thank you so much for your time!!..
    May I return if I have more questions?

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