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About Author

Avatar für Doug Bernier

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball, 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


  1. Avatar für Tony Cobb

    Hit to short stop with runner on first. Short stop tags second base runner out at second. Runner is safe at first. Is this an error or or a base hit?

    • Avatar für Mark Fuchs

      Not a hit, this is an error by the third baseman because he should have gotten the runner out at first. This is really no different than him dropping the ball and then not making the play at first. His mental error should be treated as a regular error, even if it may officially NOT be scored that way

  2. Avatar für Brendan

    Runner on second batter hits to third baseman who steps on third thinking he has a force but doesn’t. Holds the ball. Does the batter get credited with an infield single?

    • Avatar für Mark Fuchs

      No way he gets a single… this is a fielder’s choice play. Again, in “my book” this should be counted as an error. If the fielder has a clear opportunity to get an out, and doesn’t get one because of a “brain freeze”, he should be given an actual error on the play. He should know where to go with the ball BEFORE it’s hit to him. This is why we practice situational baseball. ERROR ALL THE WAY !!

  3. Avatar für Brendan

    Runner on second ball hit to third baseman who steps on third thinking he has a force but doesn’t. He holds the ball. Does the hitter get credited with a single?

  4. Avatar für Reuben Febus

    I have a question in regards to the old style pitching windup…It is the windup where the pitcher having his foot on the rubber raises both arms twice in throwing the ball. Is the old time windup illegal. If not ,can you explain in detail how to do it? I have seen it on youtube and video and it appears as if the pitcher is braking his hands while pivoting on the mound. Is this a balk? Is the old style windup still legal? I ask because when this self imposed quarantine is lifted I was going to use it in a game. Please expain,thank you very kindly
    Warm regards
    Reuben Febus
    Please rsvp asap

  5. Avatar für Ed

    I know a catcher can talk when he wants to. However, is there a rule about a catcher that shouts ball or strike after the pitch has been delivered.

    • Avatar für Mateen El

      Its is clearly unsportsmanlike for a catcher to do that at any level. It should be controlled by the umpire.

  6. Avatar für Nick Lang

    A couple of trivia questions:

    I’ve noticed that a fairly number of major league batters adjust their batting gloves after every pitch. Is this a nervous tic, or are the gloves really uncomfortable?

    Also, a significant minority of batters seem to glare at the pitcher while walking back to the dugout after a strikeout. Why do they do this? Bravado, or childish petulance?

    • Avatar für John

      I think sometimes they are looking at the scoreboard video to see what the pitch looked like. Just my guess.

    • Avatar für Brett Carlson

      What is the number for a perfect batting season in baseball? My sons grandfather is telling him it’s a thousand and I said it’s five hundred, what’s the correct number

  7. Avatar für Paul Hamilton
    Paul Hamilton on

    Rule question:
    Situation: runner on 3rd, one out. Batter strikes out for out #2. Catcher roles the ball back to mound thinking it is the 3rd out; as the team runs off the field the runner on 3rd scores. The defensive teams coach complains that the home plate umpire had told him there were 2 outs when he has asked thus given incorrect information. The umpire crew met and ruled the runner to return to 3rd. No umpire ever touched or came in touch with the live ball. Were the unpires correct in returning the runner back to 3rd?

    • Avatar für EJC

      The teams players are responsible for keeping track of what is the status of play. If there is uncertainty they should have asked the ump, a teammate or coach how many outs there were. The runner should have been called safe at home, because in reality, there was only 2 outs (he ran home at his own risk).

  8. Avatar für Max

    I am going to catch tommorow and I know there is that one thing. Before the Inning starts, the Pitcher has 8 pitches and at the last one I have to throw to second. BUT after how many Pitches do i have to shout “Balls Out” ?

  9. Avatar für Gary Pickett
    Gary Pickett on

    Bases are loaded with one out. Batter hits a grounder to the shortstop. He makes a clean pickup, tags the runner going to third and then steps on second for a double play and three outs. Umpire said the runner from third scored before the third out. Isn’t this considered a “double play” and no runs can score?

    • Avatar für Max

      I am going to catch tommorow and I know there is that one thing. Before the Inning starts, the Pitcher has 8 pitches and at the last one I have to throw to second. BUT after how many Pitches do i have to shout “Balls Out” ?

    • Avatar für EJC

      Yes, I believe it is a double play and no score. Usually a play that the runner would be considered making it home safe is when the hitter tries to stretch the play into a double etc. or that the runner on base tries to do that. I believe that is because it is considered that the play is still ongoing/alive (if there is only 1 or 2 outs at the time, with no double play) and the runner should have made it home (at least a few steps) before the base runner(s) tried to stretch/extend the play.

    • Avatar für Simone

      The player on 3rd was running home… so if they reached home plate before he made the tag and threw it to second, the runner on 3rd is safe and the run counts. If he throws the ball to 2nd before the man on 3rd reaches home plate, then the inning is over and the run does not count. It depends what was done first, the man on 3rd reaching home or the throw to 2nd after the tag.

  10. Avatar für John Popowycz
    John Popowycz on

    When an infield fly is called can a runner tag up an if so when can he run? When the ump calls infield fly or when the fielder catches the ball or when the ball hits the ground in case of a missed catch. Or is it ruled a dead ball?

    • Avatar für Lauren

      When an infield fly is called, it removes the force play on the runner/s should the ball be dropped. Otherwise the runner may advance at his own peril, with all the normal rules in place.

    • Avatar für EJC

      A far as I can remember this rule was put in place to end the false play of the fielder purposely dropping the ball for a double play. When the ump calls an infield fly rule the hitter is automatically out regardless if the fielder drops the ball or catches it. However, the runner goes at his own risk (must tag-up correctly, at the time the fielder ‘touches’ the ball).

  11. Avatar für george

    If a pitcher change is made with a current count of 3 and 0, will the new pitcher start with a new count of is it still 3 and 0?
    If a batter cannot finish his count and a new batter replaces him, does the new batter continue with a new count of does he retain the other batter’s count?

  12. Avatar für george

    If you change pitchers in the middle of a batter’s count, such as 3 and 0, does the new pitcher start a new count over or does he pitch to the 3 and 0 count on the batter?
    Second, if you replace a batter in the middle of the count does the new batter stay with the current count or does he get a fresh count?

  13. Avatar für Travis

    Where should I put my best pitcher during little league playoffs, as the starting pitcher, or the closer?

    • Avatar für EJC

      As a manager, I would think it depends on the longevity of the pitcher and how much your team’s offense can stake/support behind the starter. Also, it depends on how good are your relievers?

  14. Avatar für DON KELLER

    When the pitcher is in the wind up or stretch position is there a rule that prohibits him from raising his hands and arms above the head as part of his natural pitching motion?

  15. Avatar für Keith Dunford
    Keith Dunford on

    Can an announced player pinch hitting for the pitcher, reenter the game EVER if he only
    had 1 strike on him and the third out was made on the bases? He is replaced
    by the new pitcher the next half inning.

  16. Avatar für George Thorns
    George Thorns on

    If a player hits the flag on the a foul pole, while the flag is blowing in foul territory, is that a homerun or foul ball?

    • Avatar für EJC

      It does not depend on if a batted ball hits the flag, regardless on what direction it flies. It depends on if the ball hits the foul poll (a homerun) or not and was it in fair ground when it passed by the pole. In your scenario, the ball is foul.

  17. Avatar für Bill

    Two out, runner on second. Batter hits line drive to center for a hit. Runner scores, batter tagged out trying to stretch hit into a triple.
    Does the batter get credit for a double and rbi??

  18. Avatar für Larry W. Lee
    Larry W. Lee on

    Hi Doug. My 18 year old son, who’s 6′ 8″, pitched a HS game this year where he had two outs in the 7th inning before giving up a single and walking the next batter on a full count. His team was winning 3-0, so he was pitching a shut-out and he had two outs and two runners on when he’s coach brought in a new pitcher who pick the runner off first-base for the third out without throwing a single pitch. Would that be counted as a pitch? Is that a shut-out for my son? The score keeper gave the second pitcher one pitch in the box score. Is that correct?
    Thanks for your help.
    Larry W. Lee

    • Avatar für John Gottschalk
      John Gottschalk on

      Your scorekeeper erred. Your son gets the shutout credited. Only pitches to the plate are counted as pitches.

  19. Avatar für Bob

    My grandson is a tad late on his swing. Most of his balls go to center and right field. He has quick hands and most of his hits are line drives. If I adjust his stride it might change his power to the ball. My idea was to throw from the same distance via a pitching machine to get the timing that way. Your thoughts


  20. Avatar für Trey

    Bases loaded ball hit to first first basemen tags first throws home hits run in helmet that was running to first base is ball dead are alive

    • Avatar für EJC

      This question could be better understood if proper punctuation and spelling were made. Otherwise, I can’t tell if you meant he tagged the runner going to first – first, or threw home first. I also am not clear if the throw hit the runner on the helmet who was running home or to 1st. base.

  21. Avatar für Sam

    At what point from the set position is a lefthanded pitcher required to deliver the ball to the batter and avoid a balk being called. — when his right foot breaks the front plane of the rubber; when the right foot passes the left knee or when the right foot passes the back edge of the rubber?

  22. Avatar für Jack T

    I’m a middle infielder in high school, and recently I’ve been struggling with my throws across the infield. My arm action is too long to the point where my arm is almost straightened out behind me. I have also been losing accuracy on my throws. Any tips to shorten my throwing motion and improve accuracy would be appreciated.

  23. Avatar für Tom

    Hi. Im a 16 year old baseball player and this is more of an advice kind of question. I have a very late birthday and i just turned 16 this past September and Im a junior in high school. I really want to play baseball in college but since i had an injury during my sophomore year i havent been able to workout a lot due to my injury. So im a skinnier kid and im only 5’7. Im a second baseman trying to get scouted but i know that you need to make a statement at showcases to really be noticed. Im a catcher but would rather play second incollege. I have a cannon of an arm considering i am a catch too (i start for my high school varsity) and my pop time is 1.95 consistently but i was thinking once i graduate high school next year to take a year off and just play baseball and then try to get noticed and play college baseball with the class i am aged with since i am supposed to be the class of 18 but im actually in the class of 17. Can i still get recruited if im not enrolled in high school? What things can i do at showcases this summer that will get me noticed? I love the game and want to play the rest of my life but i just want some tips on waht to do with the situation and how to be noticed at showcases and also ways to contact coaches?

  24. Avatar für Hunter Landis

    I’ve been playing baseball my whole life. But I recently took a break for about a year or so, and now I’m on the high school team. The problem is, when we warm up, my arm starts hurting before we even start defense drills. How can I get my arm in better shape?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      We plan on coming out with a arm care series and how to prepare for a practice or game, but until we get it up and running use 3-5 pound weights and do simple shoulder exercises to strengthen your shoulder. Look up Dr. Jobe exercises and you should find a bunch of moves on the internet to get started. Take care of your arm after practice by icing for 10 minutes and listen to your body. It is ok if you have to take days off of throwing. When you are making throws in practice don’t throw as hard as you can every time. Make nice accurate throws and focus on using your legs to drive the throw. Hope this helps a little bit. I’ll be sure to let everyone know when we have arm care posts coming out. Thanks and good luck.
      Doug Bernier

  25. Avatar für Rob

    In the top of the first inning the first 8 batters reach base safely and the pitchers spot in the batting order is up. Can the manager send a (non-pitcher) position player from his bench up to bat and then replace him in the bottom of the first inning with the starting pitcher as a “defensive replacement”?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      No, that would not work. Once the lineup cards are exchanged at home plate those lineups are cemented in. If the manager were to send in a player to hit for the pitcher, the pitchers day would be done even though he never threw a pitch.


  26. Avatar für Patrick

    I’ve looked all over for this answer but can’t find it: of all the swings-and-a-miss over the course of a season, or since baseball began, has anyone every determined what percentage of missed swings are over the ball and what percentage are under the ball? I am guessing that most swings go over the ball because of curves, sinkers, and sliders. And if so, why don’t more batters move as far up in the batters box as allowed (understanding that that would not help with fastballs)? Thanks.

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      That is a great question and if someone has done that research I am unaware. Most people swing over off speed pitches and under fastballs. Hitters usually don’t like to stand at the very front of the batters box because you will have less time to see the ball and react. Seeing the ball is the most important thing when it comes to hitting. Hitters are taught to look to hit the pitch they are most comfortable with hitting and every hitter I know likes the fastball. I think there are times to move around in the box but I believe there are more advantages to being a little deeper in the box.


    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      The best way to clean the shin guards of catchers gear is to use a foam cleaning agent (such as Scrub N bubbles), spray on and wipe away with a towel. You can actually throw the chest protector in the washing machine on cold (that is what I have been told, I’m not a catcher so Ive never done it myself). Don’t throw it in the dryer. The catchers I talked to said that the most important thing when it comes to catchers gear care is to not let it sit in a bag after you have played or practiced in it. Even if you don’t wash it, hang it up so it dries. Hope this helps.


  27. Avatar für Jan

    There is a runner on first with two outs. Batter comes to the plate with say 1 strike and 3 balls. The runner on first is picked off making the third out. Does the batter start the next inning and if so, does he start with a new count? I just can’t remember.

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier


      Thanks for the question. If a runner makes the third out of the inning (picked off, thrown out trying to steal) the batter who was in the batters box at the time the runner was out will lead off the next inning. He will also start with a new count.


  28. Avatar für Gerry Blackwell
    Gerry Blackwell on

    Runners at 2nd and 3rd, two outs, strike two on the batter, the batter swings and completely misses the ball with the bat, the ball rebounds off the catchers shin guards and goes right back in to fair territory and hits the batter runner in the foot as they were running to first. The runner was completely out of the box. What do you have?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier


      I’m not completely sure but I believe that if the ball hits the runner accidentally (the runner didn’t try to kick the ball on purpose) even if the batter is out of the box the ball is live and the catcher needs to still pick up the ball and throw him out at first base. I don’t know a lot of these little scenarios like an umpire would but this is what I believe to be right.


  29. Avatar für Susan McCarthy
    Susan McCarthy on

    If the Mets are serious about wanting home field advantage, why did they play their second string team against the Phillies and lose ALL THREE games to them?

  30. Avatar für Christopher Clark
    Christopher Clark on

    Hey, i am doing research on what type of wood will be the sturdiest for being used in professional baseball games. Can i ask your opinion on what type of wood would you use? (Bamboo, Fungo, Maple) and also why you think this is the best type and why not the others. In your opinion

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      There are three types of wood used for professional baseball bats: Maple, Ash, and birch. Maple is very hard with little flex and can shatter when it breaks. Ash provides flex but doesn’t shatter like maple. Birch has the flex of Ash but has the durability of Maple. Birch has a bit of a break in period, the more you use it the more compressed the wood and the harder it becomes. A lot of it is personal preference. I like Birch personally but I still use maple a little bit. I feel like ash would be used more if it lasted longer or we didn’t have to pay for our own bats. Hope that helps.

      • Avatar für Douglas Pattyson
        Douglas Pattyson on

        Sorry to butt in on this line of questioning, but I can’t seem to find a way to get onto the comment form at this website. I was wondering if you could settle a question I have about the last Cubs playoff game. Why wasn’t Kendricks given the win, since he had pitched 4 and 2/3s innings and was ahead in the game when he eft. Is it an iron clad rule that a pitcher MUST pitch five full innings to be credited with a win. That is not hoe I understand it, so I am a bit

        • Avatar für Doug Bernier


          Thanks for the question. The starting pitcher must complete 5 full innings in order to be eligible for a win. Since he only completed 4 2/3 he was not eligible. Being credited with a loss is a different story. You don’t have to complete 5 innings in order to be eligible for a loss. Any time you are taken out of the game and your team is losing, you will get the loss unless the team ties or takes the lead and then the next pitcher to relinquish the lead will get the loss. Hope that helps.


  31. Avatar für Christopher Clark
    Christopher Clark on

    Hey, i am doing research on what type of wood will be the sturdiest for being used in professional baseball games. Can i ask your opinion on what type of wood would you use? (Bamboo, Fungo, Maple) and also why you think this is the best type and why not the others.

  32. Avatar für Howie

    If the score is tied after 4 1/2 innings and the home team scores in the bottom of the 5th and they get rained out before they complete the 5th inning.does the home team win the game?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      I am not sure. I can see it going both ways. The home team is winning but you didn’t complete 5 innings. Sorry I can’t be more helpful but some of these rule questions I don’t fully understand. I usually leave them to the umpires.

  33. Avatar für Bruce Parmly

    In the baseball situation of:
    Runners @ 1sr & 3rd, w/ less than 2 outs:

    I played baseball through college, but have never understood why almost 100% of coaches look for a sacrifice fly in this situation, when pop-ups and ground balls are just as likely. I constantly see MLB teams fail to score in this scenario, and it absolutely boggles me!

    Is the bunt a skill that no one teaches anymore, or is it just too un-manly?! Why not bunt on the 1st base side? Not only will it score the runner from 3rd, but it moves another runner into scoring position at 2nd, and precludes the strong possibility of a double play. This play would, at worst case, ‘cost” less than the sac-fly, and (with a speedy/skilled bunter) might even provide an infield hit.

    Please help shed light on whatever it is that I am missing here.

    Perplexed in NC,

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      I completely understand where you are coming from. The safety squeeze is a great weapon that teams and people don’t use much anymore. I would say the biggest reason you don’t see bunts going up the first base side is people don’t work on bunting. Its a lost art. If a player can handle the bat this is a great weapon. Last year our manager had me “safety squeeze” a lot. I had right around 20 rbi’s on just bunts as well as some easy base hits because of it. I feel like in todays game managers are hoping for a big inning and are hoping for a ball in the gap that can score both runners. But I agree with you I think you can get some easy runs if this skill was used more often. As pitchers get better and power numbers and batting averages go down, maybe we will see this play happen more often.


  34. Avatar für on

    If a runner is on first and the batter hits a grounder to third who is responsible for second base, Shortstop or second baseman. The way I see it is the short stop covers second and the second baseman backs the shortstop in case of a overthrow. Is this correct?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Thanks for your question. On a ground ball to third base the second baseman will cover second base. The shortstop wouldn’t be able to get to second quick enough because his first step will be towards the ball which would take him away from the second base bag. The rule of thumb is anything to the left side of the infield (shortstop or third base) the second baseman will cover second. Any ball hit to the right side of the infield (second base or first base) the shortstop will cover second base. The only one backing up the throws would be the outfielders.

      Doug Bernier

  35. Avatar für Phil Ferranto

    has a pitcher ever had a perfect game going into the last out of the 9th when a batter hit a ball into the outfield and was thrown out at second trying to stretch it into a double

  36. Avatar für Richard Mawhinney
    Richard Mawhinney on

    What constitutes an out or safe at any base or home plate on a thrown ball? Is the runner out or safe IF the throw and runner reach the bag at the same time (tie) I don’t believe there is a rule describing what produces an out or safe call on a thrown ball where a tag is not involved.

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      A quote for MLB umpire Tim McClelland,” There are no ties and there is no rule that says the tie goes to the runner. But the rule book does say that the runner must beat the ball to first base (or any base), and so if he doesn’t beat the ball then he is out.” The umpire has to determine whether or not the runner beat the ball or tag depending on the situation. I hope that helps answer your question.


  37. Avatar für Max

    Hi, Doug

    What is the easiest way to determine RBOE (reached base on error) for a hitter? None of the major baseball statistic websites record this data, but it is a necessary component in calculating wOBA (weighted on-base percentage). I tried subtracting strikeouts and hits from at-bats, but then that leaves me with when a player got thrown out on just a play AND when he reached base on error; how can I get JUST RBOE? If you know how to do that or of a website that can calculate, it would help a lot. Thanks!


    • Avatar für Sarah Bernier

      Hi Max. I asked Matthew Doppelt over at The Cleat Sheet blog. (We do baseball instruction, not statistics here, but I still wanted to help you out.) and here was his reply:

      There is a flaw in that logic. RBOE is not factored into OBP or wOBA. OBP = H+BB+HBP/(AB+BB+HBP+SF)

      But sorry no, we do not know how to find how frequently a player reaches on error. Sorry we couldn’t help with that!

  38. Avatar für Steve

    David Price pitched last night for 8 innings in his 6th win in a row. He was caught in the later innings buy Curt Casali. They were teammates at Vanderbilt during their college years. Has a catcher from one college ever caught a pitcher from the same college in a major league game before?

  39. Avatar für Roger Bisges
    Roger Bisges on

    The St. Louis Cardinals recently won a 1-0 game and never had to bat in the bottom of the ninth. (the Cardinals were the home team). I think the Cardinals won the game with only about 26 or 27 at-bats. Is there a record of winning the game with the least number of at-bats?

    • Avatar für Sarah Bernier

      I’m sorry Roger but baseball history really isn’t our thing. If you have a question about how to hit or field a ground ball, game strategy or some other baseball instruction related question, Doug and the other pros would be happy to help. Warm regards

  40. Avatar für Luis

    I have a question which arose from watching a minor league game.

    Bases are loaded with 1 out. Batter swings but it lands in front of the catcher and pitcher but close enough to where the catcher picks it up runs back and taps on home plate (out 2) then throws to first base (out 3) . How is that scored? 2-3 Unassisted double play?

  41. Avatar für Charles Catanzaro
    Charles Catanzaro on

    1. The pitched ball hits the dirt at the plate. That ball is discarded and a new ball is put into play.

    2. The batter hits the ball that hits either the infield dirt, the outfield grass or both. That ball is, in any event, scuffed. That ball is returned to the pitcher to be pitched to the next batter.

    Why are the balls treated differently? A scuff is a scuff either way.

    Thank you.

  42. Avatar für Gordon Rathbun
    Gordon Rathbun on


    My question is why don’t more players hit off their front foot. It seems to me that the swing is flatter if you do that. Also, hitting off the back foot seems to give a slight uppercut and the head often lowers a bit. It seems to me that Roberto Clemente and Henry Aaron both hit off their front foot and they weren’t too bad.

    Also, and this is a novice question, but isn’t it harder to be fooled by off speed pitches if you hit off your front foot?

    Thank you,


  43. Avatar für Joe Ebuen

    Question on base running….. situation- runner on 1st. Ball is hit deep and the 1st base runner passes 2nd and is on his way to 3rd. However, the ball iss caught. Can the runner legally go back to 1st even though he has passes 2nd base?

  44. Avatar für Brayden Brown
    Brayden Brown on

    I’m a sub in little league, but I have the highest on base average of my team. I’m always in the outfield, but I would like to practice some of the easiest and the best pitches for someone under 14. I would like to impress my coach. Please message me on facebook @ Brayden Brown. My profile picture is a kid wearing a blue hat with a yellow shirt with blue stars.

    • Avatar für Sarah Bernier

      I’m sorry Stan but baseball history really isn’t what we do here at PBI. If you have a question about how to hit the baseball or field a ground ball, game strategy or some other baseball instruction related question, Doug and the other pros would be happy to help. Warm regards

  45. Avatar für GRAHAME D.ANDERSON


  46. Avatar für Percell

    I have two teams with the same winning %.

    Team A is 11-1, Team B is 10-0-2. Team B beat Team A (4-3) for team A’s only lost. Team B is arguing they should be in 1st place even though they only have 10 wins. Can you provide the ruling on ties.


  47. Avatar für scott

    question. men on second and third, line shot to the short stop he catches it throws to second, doubles up the runner for two outs. Then the second baseman throws to third to double up that runner because he did not tag either. Do we just have to tag the bag or the runner. the reason i ask is that i thought since we went to the bag behind the lead runner first that we would have to apply a tag

  48. Avatar für jeff

    Runner on first base ground ball hit back to pitcher who covers second base ss or second with a right hand batter.

  49. Avatar für Craig

    The runner steps over home plate and the team in field does not call for the ball. What is the correct response if there is no appeal.

  50. Avatar für Steve Polewacyk
    Steve Polewacyk on

    Dear Doug: I have been unable to find lifetime, individual career stats for Carl Yastrzemski vs. Tommy John. Towards the end of their career’s Tommy was whiffing Yaz almost every time at bat. Eventually, when TJ was pitching against the Red Sox, Yaz would take himself our of the line up. It would be great if you could show me – or tell me – year by year, how Yaz fared against Tommy John.

    Thank you very much,

    Steve P.

  51. Avatar für zachary t

    Hi Doug,

    I just bought your batting book and was watching your videos and I hear you refer to chopping the ball and not to drop the barrel and swinging up. It seems like there is some differing theories about this. Ted Williams in his book refers to the angle of the pitch and meeting it on an upward patch to create lift. While other talk about a to c hitting and chopping to create back spin. Watching lots of slow motion video of great hitters from today and the past seems to show an upward ark on their swings. Should this change how I approach tee drills. Thoughts?


  52. Avatar für Barry Jenkins
    Barry Jenkins on

    Runner on third 2 outs score is 2-2 bottom of 6th last inning kid at plate hits home run but misses 2nd base the other team appeals he’s out which is the 3rd out but would the runner on 3rd still score

  53. Avatar für Ken

    If the bases are loaded with one out and the fielders call infield in and then a runner is hit by a ground ball. Now remember the infield is playing in…is the runner out even though he is now behind any fielder and technically not interfering with a play? Is the runner out or safe?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier


      Yes, the runner is still out even if the infielders are playing in and the baserunner is behind the fielders. Any time the runner gets hit by a batted ball, he is out.


    • Avatar für Doug Bernier


      Thanks for your question. There are many different types of pads or braces players put on their hand when running the bases because of certain injuries that may have happened in the past or they are still trying to get past. I am not 100% sure on what Yasiel Puig is wearing but what it looks like is a neoprene glove that has a strap around his wrist. The interesting thing about his is that his fingers are still exposed. (Brett Gardner of the Yankees has something similar but his fingers aren’t exposed, its almost like a winter mitten, which helps to prevent jammed fingers). The strap gives his wrist extra support when sliding into a bag. He may have jammed it in the past or just wants a little extra support. The neoprene part that covers the hand and wrist could be in case an infielder steps on his hand. If you notice he only has this glove on his left hand and that is the hand he usually grabs the base with when he slides. I think the whole thing just gives him a little extra protection from getting stepped on and may give his wrist extra support when sliding into a base as hard as he does.


  54. Avatar für Ted

    I have noticed most teams that score in the top of the first inning usually lose the game. So much so, that as a fan I cringe when my team scores in the top of the first. I can’t seem to find any stats or threads discussing this trend. Any thoughts?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier


      I actually think the team that scores first may have a statistically better chance of winning the game but I am not sure either. I will look into it a little more and hopefully have some numbers for you. I wouldn’t cringe too much, I think its always better to get the lead. The real problem is when teams get a lead and just try to coast the rest of the game rather than trying to add on runs. Its never over until the last out is made, don’t take anything for granted. Thanks for the question I will try to find some numbers, I am interested as well.


  55. Avatar für Greg

    I had an umpire make this call, I wanted to check if he was correct. Ground ball is hit, the batter steps over the 1st base without ever making touching the bag, the ball comes a step and a half to late and the first baseman is standing on the bag when he catches the ball. Is the force out still in affect? The umpire stated that the runner must be tagged out after passing first regardless of if he touched the bag or not. I felt that the defensive team should not be punished due to the offensive runner missing the bag. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF THIS IS CORRECT.

    • Avatar für Anthony Masi
      Anthony Masi on

      The rule of an appeal would suggest that Blue was wrong. Base runners frequently miss the bag. An appeal is made at the base, and a ruling is made.

  56. Avatar für Toni

    Batter hits ball to left of first baseman. First baseman fields ball and stumbles to the ground, still retaining ball in glove. Doesn’t have time to get to feet, instead rolls and reaches over with other hand and touches 1st base before runner touches the bag. Is the runner safe or out? This occured in a tournament for 15U age group.

  57. Avatar für Brian Volk

    If there are runners on first and second and the pitcher throws a pitch, catcher tries to block it, but the ball deflects off the catcher and over the backstop. Shouldn’t the runners only be allowed only one base? Just second and third? Is based on who threw the ball, not who touched it last, correct?

  58. Avatar für Jon B.

    Commissioner Bud Selig retired the uniform number 42 to honor Jackie Robinson. Why up until his retirement in 2013 was Yankee Mariano Rivera alowed to wear this number?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier


      Great question. On April 15, 1997 Jackie Robinson’s number 42 was retired throughout MLB. The number was no longer given out to any new players. All players that were wearing number 42 before that date were allowed to continue to wear it until they retired. Mariano happened to have a very long career and was the last person to wear that number in the MLB.


  59. Avatar für Jon B.

    Commisioner Bud Selig retired the uniform number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson. Why up until his retirement in 2013 was Yankee Mariano Rivera able to wear the uniform number 42?

  60. Avatar für Sy Cohen

    Man on second and third with one out in the first inning. Slow roller hit to the shortstop. Should the runners advance immediately or wait for the throw?

    • Avatar für Anthony masi
      Anthony masi on

      second base runner stays (ball hit in front you, stay, beiond you, go.) Third base runner makes a judgment based on speed of the ball. SS will surely check up.

  61. Avatar für keegan

    Hi my little brother is a right handed batter and laid down a bunt. The ball spun down the first base line and then entered foul territory and struck his bat. The umpire called him out. Is that the correct call?

  62. Avatar für Lary

    I just bought a Louisville Slugger Prime M110 bat and no one can tell me why the label is opposite of every other wood bat I’ve ever seen. The label is stamped on the side of the wood grain direction rather than on the top of the wood grain. Should I keep the label up or does it not matter? If I keep the label up the grain will be in a weaker direction.

  63. Avatar für Tyler

    Hi Doug,

    I am 15 years old and I am new to pitching. I keep getting down on myself because I will throw a bad pitch every once and a while, but also because I can’t pitch as fast as everyone else at my age. I was wondering if you had any tips and drills to help increase my throwing speed, and some overrall tips for a new pitcher


  64. Avatar für Kevin

    Doug, first of all love the site and your in-depth answers to these questions. I’m 45 and just starting in a men’s over 30 league after a long layoff (15 years or so). I’m finding that the swing mechanics are back and in viewing video they look ok, but my timing is WAY off. I’m hitting a lot off the end of the bat and or near the hands, which tells me I’m lunging at the ball too early. Any tips on how to get my timing back?

  65. Avatar für Zane

    Hello my name is Zane I’m 14 years old. I was wondering if u could give me a tip on your favorite batting drills that improve you hitting the best? Thank you.

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Hi Zane. I use hitting drills differently depending on how I feel that day or that week. For example, if I am hitting too many fly balls, I’ll spend some time working on the High Tee Drill. The only drills I do regularly every day are (1) the Regular Tee Drill, where I move the tee around to simulate different pitch positions, and (2) Someone flips the baseball to me and I stop the bat at the contact point. This forces you to watch the baseball hit the bat (developing good habits to see the ball properly), and helps to back up the point of contact if you are hitting it too far in front. It may shorten your swing if your bat path isn’t following the best direct path to the ball (a long swing can cause all sorts of problems).

      There is a right and wrong way to do these drills, which is why I put together this book explaining the benefits, common mistakes and proper mechanics. They are intermediate / advanced batting tee drills, but I think you are old enough and can probably handle them fine. When you buy the book, it also unlocks 20 free videos, so you can see each drill done on video. To save $ there is a digital download, or you can get the paperback version so you can take it to the batting cage with you.

      I hope this answers your question. Good luck with your season.


  66. Avatar für Mike Curtin

    Hi, Doug.

    Would you please provide some comments on the following scenario: Bases loaded, no outs, fly ball to medium left field. Runner tags. Does 3B take the cut with SS peeling over to cover third base, or does 3B stay home with 1B running across field to take the cut?


  67. Avatar für Bill

    Hit or no hit or reach on error? Runner on second no one on first, batter hits to SS, runner on second takes of for third, SS throws to third instead of first and third baseman misses the ball. Hit or No hit? batter advances to second.

  68. Avatar für Tom

    Doug we have a varsity catcher who has excellent skill. He has put a lot of time in on the position. One issue we have with him is his set up with men on base, He will get any extreme stagger with is throwing arm foot leaving that side extremely open which leads to his reaching across his body for outside pitches. I also feel it is so extreme that it puts pressure on the pitcher to throw over the plate more to avoid passed balls. How would you instruct a high school catcher to set up his feet and target for the best opportunity to get strikes, throw and block with men on base. Who would you watch in the major leagues that is most fundamental. I think a key reason for doing this is to make himself quicker to 2nd.

    Thanks for all your help


  69. Avatar für Keith

    If any other fielder besides the catcher blocked a runner from a base without the ball it would be obstruction, correct? (Example: 1st baseman blocks bag on pick-off attempt) I can’t find any rule in the book allowing the catcher to block the plate. Is this just an unwritten rule or what is it that allows the catcher to act differently than other positions?

  70. Avatar für Tony Guidotti
    Tony Guidotti on

    Hi, in the common box score it shows LOB by player. In the team recap those numbers do not match, seems to always be lower in the team recap WHY?. Also in the player section the LOB numbers by individual players is quite often much higher than the number of hits, walks errors. How can this be?


    Tony G

  71. Avatar für Nick S.

    I am a 9th grader who needs to get better at hitting. My season goes from march to august. After that I have until the snow falls to do drills and get better. How often should I do soft toss/ tee work, etc.? What other drills should I do and how often should I do them? Any tips for hitting would be great. Thanks for the help!

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Thanks for writing in. The cool thing about hitting off a tee or doing soft toss to help you improve your hitting is that you can do it as much as you want. There is no set time that will turn you into a great hitter but it is more important to do a little bit every day. Even when the snow falls you can be creative and put a net in a garage and hit into it using a tee. I built a (net) using old carpet that was lying around the house. I still use it to hit balls into. The batting tee seems very basic but it can help you tremendously on hitting mechanics. If you are looking for drills or more direction for hitting off a batting tee, check out our book that you can find on our website. It comes with video as well and it will give you some ideas on what to work on to improve your hitting. Just because the snow is falling there is always a way to get some hitting in. Good luck
      Doug Bernier

  72. Avatar für Ryan


    I am looking for a baseball player in particular, and I thought maybe you might be able to find him. He played in 84 games in his career, but never had an at bat. He was used for pinch running situations, and stole plenty of bases in his time. He also appeared in 3 World Series games.

  73. Avatar für Dan

    When stealing 2nd base, my first 3 steps are the hardest and slowest. I have very long legs and I feel like Im not moving as fast as I should. Ive watched a lot of video on Ricky Henderson and have tried to utilize the drop step technique. Any other ideas?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Thanks for writing in. I understand where you are coming from, I feel I have the same problem with my first steps when trying to steal second base. Juan Pierre the active leader in stolen bases was working with me a little this off season and the biggest thing he kept telling me was to stay low on my first few steps. It is natural to raise your head up when you start running. Fight to keep your head down and look at the ground as you take your first couple steps. Almost feel that there is a bar a few inches above your head when you are taking your lead, and as you take off you need to stay under that bar so you don’t hit your head. When you come up a little when you start running you lose momentum going towards second base. Remember to stay low, keep your head down, and work on your starts (first 3-5 steps). Good luck and keep working.
      Doug Bernier

      • Avatar für dan

        I can already see a noticable difference in my speed. So simple to fix. Good luck with Minnesota (except when playing the Mud Hens or Tigers)

  74. Avatar für joe

    Batter calls time, not granted by ump. The pitcher stops in his motion, with runners on 2nd and 3rd…….is this a balk?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Yes, this is a balk. The pitcher should only stop if the umpire calls time. Just because the batter calls time out does not mean the umpire has to grant it. Thanks for writing in.
      Doug Bernier

  75. Avatar für Tom

    In a High School baseball game I come across several scenarios that confuse me. One is the following. Game Scenario: Top of 4, 1 out (score 4 – 1). There’s a man on first base. The batter (2-1 count) hard bunts an outside pitch which is fielded by the 2nd baseman (odd – where’s the pitcher). the batter is 10-15 feet from 1st while the second baseman throws to second to make the play on the lead runner. Runner from first slides under tag at second – safe. Batter is safe on first. Normally this would be a sacrifice bunt if the second baseman made the play on the hitter. However, everyone is safe – Is this fielder’s choice or a single.

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Thanks for your question. First off on a hard push bunt it will usually get past the pitcher and the second baseman will have to make the play. If the second baseman could have thrown the runner out at first base but decided to try to get the runner at 2nd but he was safe it would be fielders choice. If the official scorer felt that the person bunting would have been safe at first base then it would be scored as a single. Hope this helps
      Doug Bernier

  76. Avatar für Tom

    Hi Doug,

    I have recently got back into playing baseball after a very long time away from the game. I played a lot of softball , but there is a big difference with baseball. I am playing 2nd base, but I normally play outfield. I read your instructions on how to setup depending on various scenarios. One thing that I don’t seem to be getting a hang of is holding the runner. Any tips would be helpful.

    Thank you,


    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Thanks for your question. As a second baseman I feel it is important to be about 15 feet behind the second base bag and maybe 5 – 10 feet to the left of the bag. As the pitcher is coming set start walking straight toward the pitcher. (Being deep makes it difficult for the runner to see you, it makes the runner a little wary because he doesn’t have a good feel of where you actually are). As you get closer to the base make your decision to either shuffle a couple steps away from the bag and get ready to field a ball or break to the bag. Usually I like to pick out a spot on the field, if the runner gets to that spot I like to attempt a pick off, if he is short of that mark I like to shuffle back and get ready to field a ball. As you shuffle into fielding position don’t feel you have to get all the way into a normal second base position. Get a couple shuffles and be ready by the time the ball crosses the hitting zone. You have to give up a little range to keep the runner close. Good luck on your transition to the infield, hope this helps and good luck.
      Doug Bernier

  77. Avatar für Tyrell

    Hey Doug I was just wondering if you could help me to get a chance with the Yankees. I am a sophomore in high school so i have a little bit to go, but i go to a small scool(1A) and I do not know how to contact any scouts or managers. Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you,

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Thanks for writing in. Good Luck to you and your journey on becoming a professional baseball player. As a player I learned that I only play and that I don’t have any influence on who gets drafted. I wish I could help you in that area. But the good news is that even if you are playing at a small school and you don’t know any scouts or managers, thats ok. I didn’t either. I played at a small school as well. If you play well enough they will find you. Also if you are playing against players that could be drafted and scouts are there to look at them, if you play well they will notice you as well. There is plenty of opportunity to get drafted, keep working hard to improve and play hard. That will give you the best opportunity to get to the next level. Good Luck
      Doug Bernier

  78. Avatar für Joe

    Hey Doug, awesome info on here! I am a 13U select boys coach in Texas and I reference your website all the time. As a former player, everything you talk about are things I know and do naturally, however I struggle with explaining the basics of how and why to my young players. Your explanation of fundamentals is something I use all the time and I’m now giving my players print outs of your articles for them to read on their own. Thank you!

    I have a question that I was hoping you could shed some light on. I have a power hitting lefty that is struggling making contact right now. From what I can tell it is because he has developed a bad habit where his head tilts towards his back shoulder during his swing, almost dropping his left ear to his left shoulder, causing a change in swing plane. I have told him over and over, so he knows he is doing it, but I just can’t get him to break the habit. Do you of any cage drills to fix this?

    Thanks for your help!


    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Thanks for your question. I am glad to hear that our website is helping you. Its that kind of feedback that gets us excited, thanks. You have a tough question because I feel like I struggle with a similar head movement. There are a couple things I did that really helped my head not drop to my shoulder so drastically. First off during drill work (tee and soft toss) I was constantly reminded to keep good posture with my head. I even had a coach tell me to pretend I had a glass of water on my head and not to spill it during my swing. Secondly make sure he is seeing the ball and pitcher during his setup with both eyes. My head would tilt more when I was pretty much using my front eye to see the pitcher. Make sure he is seeing the pitcher with his left eye as well as his front eye. Focusing on seeing the pitcher with his left eye will force him to turn his head more towards the pitcher and hopefully give him better posture throughout his swing.

      A cage drill that could be helpful is straight on front toss from the first base side of the cage. Move the L screen about 5 -10 feel towards the first base side of the cage and flip over the plate. This drill will force him to turn his head more than he would normally in order to see the ball. It will also force him to see the ball longer in order to hit the ball to the opposite field which is what this drill forces you to do. I did this drill for that reason and it helped me a little bit. Hope this helps and I am glad you are enjoying our website.
      Doug Bernier

  79. Avatar für Serenity

    Hello, My name is Metta and I am in 9th grade and I am writing a sports article for my Journalism class. I am writing an informative article about how in baseball, foul balls have a tendancy to injure unwary fans. I am wondering that if you have the time if you could give me a quote for my article. This quote could be about anything about the subject of foul balls injuring unwary fans. It could be your opinion, if you think its likely to get hit by a ball, if you think its unlikely, how you think the problem could be resolved, if you think it’s even a problem. Anything regarding the subject. And of course I will be citing you in the article.
    Thank you so much!

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Good luck in your class and I will help you the best I can. Foul baseballs and bats being thrown into the stands are very dangerous. I have seen many times where balls get hit hard off the bat and go screaming into the stands. Many times (I don’t know how) it manages to miss people, but when it does it can be very painful and dangerous. First off, seeing as many games as I do I won’t let my family watch a game anywhere other than behind the home plate net. I know pop flies can still go over the net but at least they can see it coming and can possibly move. The worst place to watch a game that has a potential for getting hit with a foul ball is right over the dugout. The balls can come off the bat at over 100 mph, there is no time to react. Even if you were paying attention and had a glove it would be nearly impossible to make a play.

      They call third base the “hot corner” because they are closer to the hitter than the other infielders and get really hard hit balls hit at them routinely. If you are sitting above the dugout or between the dugout and the home plate net you are closer to home plate than the third baseman at some fields. This is very dangerous. I have seen people get hit in the face with foul line drives, it is not pretty when it happens.

      Foul balls in the stands are definitely a problem and it scares me. I would like to see the net behind home plate extend to just beyond each dugout. That at least gives people a little further away to react.

      Two things happen at baseball games that can contribute to getting hit by a foul ball. 1. Paying attention. Most people are not paying attention where they could really get out of the way of a hard hit foul ball. 2. When a ball is coming at a section there always seems to be one guy who stands up and acts like he is going to catch it. Him doing this obstructs the people behind him from seeing the ball. Once he see’s how fast the ball is coming he then ducks and one of the people behind him gets drilled.

      Foul balls are scary because you want to come watch a game for entertainment and the last thing you are thinking of is getting hurt at the game. I hope your article can help spread awareness about respecting foul balls and the damage they can do. Thanks, if you need anything else be sure to write me back.

      Doug Bernier

  80. Avatar für DEAN FERGUSON

    My son hits foul balls straight back. he is hitting the bottom of the ball. is there anything you can suggest to get him to correct this?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Thanks for your question. There is a misconception about fouling balls straight back. Most people think they are perfectly timed up with the pitcher and are just missing the baseball. The reality is that if you are fouling balls straight back you are actually a little late. The ball is probably getting a little too deep into the hitting zone and he compensates by keeping too much weight on his backside and then rotating (this is common because he is trying to create space to hit the baseball). The best way to fix this problem (which is not uncommon. Me and plenty others on my team share this issue) is to try moving your contact point a few inches closer towards the pitcher. Don’t do anything too drastic but focusing on hitting the ball out in front of home plate should help this problem. Every hitter will foul balls straight back so he will still do it occasionally but realize that his aim on the baseball is not the problem, his timing is a little late. Hope this helps your son’s hitting and thanks again for your question.
      Doug Bernier

  81. Avatar für shannon

    During spring training, what is the difference between AAA camp and Minor League camp? Are the locations different from the major league camp?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Thanks for your question. There is no difference between AAA camp and minor league camp. It is split between major league camp and minor league camp. On the minor league side you have all the levels working out at a complex that usually has 5 or 6 fields. The levels include 2 rookie ball teams, low A ball, high A ball, AA, and AAA. All minor and major league camps are in the same city, sometimes they may have different complexes but most of the time you will see the minor league fields behind the major league spring training fields during spring training. Thanks again for your question.
      Doug Bernier

  82. Avatar für Tom

    Doug, your website is a great plus to baseball and your tee drills publication has really helped us organize winter practice stations . I have a question in regards to arm mechanics when professional players turn doubles plays. To the human eye it appears they are making some throws almost side arm. Is this what they are doing and how does the hand and elbow position relate to the throw as well as upper body position?

    Thanks for your help

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Thanks for your question. In regards to throwing mechanics when turning double plays a middle infielders arm can definitely drop and can become almost a side arm throw. This is more common with shortstops. If the shortstops feet are not going in a straight line towards first base the arm has a tendency to drop lower. I think this is alright for shortstops because as the runner is trying to break up the double play as the shortstop drops his arm it forces the runner to slide earlier than he would like. If he doesn’t slide he might wear the ball in his face.

      Now the second baseman should have a higher arm slot because he is blind to the runner and lowering his arm slot will not protect him on a double play like it would for a shortstop. His number one priority to make a good throw is to get his momentum going towards first base which can be difficult to do with a runner bearing down on you. Once you plant your feet and get your momentum going towards first base keeping a higher arm angle will make the throw more accurate and give you better velocity. Once you drop your arm it is very difficult to be accurate because usually your bodies momentum is going towards third base. This incorrect body momentum is why your arm drops. I think it is more important for the second baseman to have a higher arm slot than the shortstop.

      Thanks for your question Tom, I hope this helps.
      Doug Bernier

  83. Avatar für Cameron

    Hello Doug, I am a short stop and have been looking for a new glove for the up coming season. the one i found is a pro flare series and was wondering if that is a proper glove i could use for the infield. I’ve only read a couple reviews on pro flare series and still am not sure if i can rely on them being in the infield. please help me if you have any knowledge of this. thank you.

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier


      Thanks for your question. I understand how tricky finding the perfect glove can be. I recommend the pro flare series from Louisville. I actually use this glove myself. I love the natural design of the glove with the flaring of the fingers. These gloves have been durable for me. I can’t say that about some of the other gloves I have tried from different companies but I do like these. I have been using them for about 7 years now. They do take me some time to break in, but once it’s broken in it lasts a while. Just like with any glove make sure to take care of it with a leather conditioner to keep the leather hydrated and strong. I use Lexol and it comes in a spray bottle. I use it maybe once every 2 weeks, rub it in and let it sit overnight. Don’t overdo it because the leather absorbs the spray conditioner and it will make the glove heavier over time. If you are unaware of a size for your position, check out our glove size chart. I hope this glove works for you, I like mine.

      Good Luck,
      Doug Bernier

  84. Avatar für Tom

    Doug, you have an excellent webbsite. Could you provide me with 4 or 5 physical skill measurements you would routinely check with high school age players not only as a measurement of their skill level but to also to provide the player with an incentive to improve upon these skills.

    Thank you

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Thanks for the kind words. That is a great question and hopefully my answer can help a little bit. I have 4 physical skill measurements that i believe would help measure skill level and help players improve. They may seem simple but I like simple.

      1 Set up a tee in the batting cage and hit line drives to the back net. Get 10 swings and see how many hit the back net without hitting the ground or the net up above. Being able to do this shows that a player has a good repeatable swing. Hopefully after working on this a few of them will be able to get 10 in a row. Make it more difficult by using a tennis ball or even moving to side flip with a baseball or tennis ball. It is harder to square up a tennis ball.

      2 For your infielders have a net or L screen set up at first base and have them field ground balls or you can even set up cones they all need to throw from and see how many times they can hit the net out of 10 throws. Throwing accuracy is very important in the infield and this can measure accuracy and you will be able to track improvement.

      3 For your outfielders have them all throw from the same spot in the outfield marked with cones and have them use a long hop when they throw to a desired base. The throw doesn’t have to be extremely long, it can even be short enough where they could reach the base all the way in the air if they wanted. This will show them the importance of keeping the ball low enough to be cut off if needed and being able to use a long hop makes life easier on your infielders and it will also improve throwing accuracy with your outfielders.

      4 In batting practice I am a huge believer in situational hitting. I believe one round should include a couple bunts, hit and runs, hitting the ball to the right side, and scoring a runner from third base with less than two outs. The number they complete successfully will be the number of swings they get their next round of batting practice. This makes them concentrate and gives them incentive for getting the job done.

      I hope these help, these are just my opinion but I see value in them. Thanks again for the questions, you always give me good ones that make me think.

      Doug Bernier

  85. Avatar für Dan

    Hey Doug,

    I play in a wooden bat league and like the bat I use, but it is a medium barrel. Ive been thinking of maybe switching to a large or extra large barrel (same length and weight 33/30). I am a 3-5 hitter and wonder if this would help me drive the ball more? I can’t afford to spend $90.00 on 3 different bats to decide I like one more than the other. I use a M9 T141 but dont like the M9 C271NC if that helps any.

    I would love your input.

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      I am glad you like the site I appreciate it. I tried to answer your question before but I have one other thing to add. I know bats are expensive and it is tough to find out what you like sometimes without spending an arm and a leg. I don’t believe the bigger barrel will help you drive the ball more. You may hit more balls on the barrel because it is a little bigger but you won’t hit it further. If you like the T141 stay with that, you may also want to try a P72. That model seems fairly close to how a aluminum bat feels (in my opinion) and it has a fairly long medium barrel. Remember being comfortable with your bat is more important than the size of the barrel.

      Doug Bernier

  86. Avatar für John

    Hey Doug
    I always hear how baseball players need to be explosive. So to help my explosiveness I have been doing explosive pushups and box jumps. I was wondering what will these help me with? Throwing? hitting? Also how long until I see results as I have tryouts in a at the end of the month?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Thanks for your question. Explosive workouts and movements are needed, but they should be used with weight training. I am not a strength and conditioning coach but I have been told that since baseball movements require explosive movements (hitting, throwing, running) it gets your body used to making these moves and it forces you to trigger your fast twitch muscles rather than your slow twitch muscles.

      Explosive movements (plyometrics, box jumps, explosive pushups, med ball throws, etc.) turn your strength into functional POWER. There are many strong guys at the gym that can’t throw a baseball 90 feet. It is important to make your strength functional.

      I hope this helps and good luck at your tryouts

      Doug Bernier

  87. Avatar für Tom Tisdale

    I have a question which seems very simple but is a real issue in our community’s baseball program. We have instructors at all level who are not requiring that a protective cup be worn in games and practice (including catchers). What kind of policy would you have for player from the lower levels of play through the high school level of play no matter the position they play including pitchers?

    Looking forward to your response

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier


      Thanks for your question. The use of a protective cup is an issue that needs to not be overlooked. Let me start with a quick story. My freshman year in high school the coach of our team required us to wear cups. I was against it because it felt uncomfortable and I thought my hands were quick enough that I could protect myself. Everyday our coach would come to where we were stretching and choose one player to drop a baseball on his groin area to see if he was wearing a cup. So you could take your chances that he wouldn’t pick you, but if he did and you weren’t prepared you would be hurting and he would make you run. But a strange thing happened I started to get used to wearing a cup and after a few weeks it seemed no different than a standard piece of equipment I would normally wear (socks, belt, etc.). Even to this day I can hardly stand to even put on a pair of baseball pants without a protective cup. Over my lifetime I have been hit in the cup a handful of times. It didn’t feel good with protection I couldn’t imagine what it would be like without one. I have seen players get hit without a cup and many of them had to be taken to the hospital, it can be very serious.

      If I was in charge my policy would be for everyone including pitchers to wear a protective cup starting from at least 9 or 10 years old. I think all players should get used to wearing them because at this age most players play multiple positions. A left fielder may also catch and a pitcher might play first base or shortstop, so its important for all players to be protected. At this age players start to hit the ball harder and the fields aren’t perfect, so there is a high probability that a bad hop will happen. The biggest reason players don’t like cups is because they aren’t comfortable. Find one that is the right size and fits snuggly in an appropriate size athletic supporter to keep everything in place. After a couple weeks it shouldn’t be a big deal.

      It would be really easy for the coach (or even a umpire) to ask his players to tap their cups so he knows they are there. I believe that if a player refuses wear a cup he shouldn’t play in the game. There should be extra ones near by if a player forgets his. There is no difference between this rule and how some leagues require face guards on their helmets.

      I hope this helps, I know this is my opinion but I know how dangerous it can be for a ball to square someone up without a protective cup.

      Doug Bernier

      • Avatar für Jeff

        I too cannot put on baseball pants without a cup. In fact the hardest hit I’ve ever taken to the cup was on a Sunday night coed softball league playing third base on a ripped up field. Better safe than sorry.

  88. Avatar für John

    Hey Doug I am trying out for my High School team. We were talking about records during workouts. One was the hitting record that stands at 46. What can i do to beat it? Also how can I hit more line drives? I am a 2B and RF.

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier


      Thanks for your question and good luck at your high school try outs. I am not really sure what you mean by 46, I am guessing 46 game hit streak. If thats the case all you can control is hitting the ball hard and on the barrel. What happens after that is out of your control. Work on hitting line drives and the hits will come. This link will take you to our hitting page. Proper mechanics will help you hit more line drives which will help you get more hits. Good luck keep working hard and check back pretty soon, we are about to launch a book that will provide hitting drills on a batting tee. This will go into more detail about proper mechanics and how to get the most out of your hitting drills.

      Doug Bernier

  89. Avatar für michiel zeguers
    michiel zeguers on

    dear professional baseball players ,

    i have a question for you , first off i wil give you some more info about my baseball career.
    I am a belgium baseball player ( left handed pitcher )
    I started playing baseball when i was 7 years old , at the age of 14 they finally got me pitching on the mount for the first time , a year later at the age of 15 i attended the MLB europe try out for the very first time.
    I was pitching an average of 74mph , all strikes , even the curveballs and change-ups were in the zone.
    Now I am 18 years old and im pitching around 89 – 92

    First question : Is 74mph at the age of 15 something i should be proud of or should i be hitting the 80’s at that age ?

    Second question : I have been dreaming about a professional baseball career it means the world to me , its a though i had when i was 7 years old and it never left my mind , if i attend another try-out throwing an average of 90 as a left handed pitcher , could this get me drafted to the USA ?

    PS; I have been seriously doubting myself about this because i am to afraid to fail , it will literally crash my dream if i fail the test

    thanks for listening to my story and please give me some advice for me this is a really hard subject to talk about because in my head i just need to play majors

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier


      Thanks for your questions. First off I am not a scout but I interact with them often and I have an idea what they are looking for.

      To answer your first question “yes” you should be happy with 74 mph. You should always be happy with what you can do. I have seen guys throwing harder and slower at that age but remember people mature at different ages so mph isn’t a big deal at 14 or 15 years old. Now 89-92 for a lefty is pretty good. I would think that would be enough for a team to give you a chance but there is a lot more to pitching than mph. 89-92 will get the scouts looking in your direction but you still have to pitch. I have seen plenty of pitchers that can hit upper 90’s that can’t get to the big leagues. Throwing strikes, movement on pitches, and a hard nosed mentality is what separates pitchers.

      I am not sure you can get drafted outside of the USA but I know there are ways to come over here like being a non drafted free agent. You may know better than me. You keep throwing like you are with the velocity and exposing your talents in try out camps you are doing all you can do.

      Even if you get drafted and play in the US, that is not the end of the road. Your journey is just beginning, I am telling you that there will be days where you struggle. But that’s ok, everyone fails or struggles, you just have to be mentally tough enough to come back the next day, work hard and compete again. Baseball is a game of failure and it is tough mentally. Give it your best opportunity by going to try outs and working as hard as you can. If you do that and things don’t work out, you didn’t fail. I believe someone fails when they don’t try.

      Keep trying, keep working hard, believe you can make it and compete. If you do that you will be the best player you can be. Good luck and let me know how things go in the future.

      Doug Bernier
      Pro Baseball Insider

  90. Avatar für db

    To prevent injury is it best to stretch a little bit before you do warm-up runs, then stretch some more before you go into your sustained run – and do a final stretch afterwards? Or is it best to start with a slow run, then build up to your run speed and stretch afterwards? Thanks, DB

  91. Avatar für John

    Hey Doug I was just wondering about what your thoughts are about using heavier than usual baseballs to warm up. Also about using under wieght/overwight training (throwing a heavier, lighter, and regulation ball) to gain velocity and how much velocity would I gain ?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Thanks for your question. I personally don’t like using weighted baseballs to throw, but I did ask some pitchers what they do and what they see. Most did not use them because they felt that throwing is difficult on the arm to begin with and when you add extra weight to the throwing motion it could create a problem. Also they didn’t like how it affected their accuracy. They believe that accuracy has a lot to do with feeling the ball come out of their hand and when you add weight it messes with that feel.

      They did say that there is usually one pitcher on a team that will play light catch with a heavier ball, just to warm up the shoulder. Usually they don’t throw the weighed ball past 60 feet. None of the pitchers actually used the weighted balls or knew anyone that does to gain velocity. They used it more for warming up.

      In my opinion there is a tremendous amount of stress put on a players shoulder and elbow every time they make a throw. I don’t think its beneficial enough if any to use a heavier ball. I would focus on proper mechanics and mixing in long toss 3 times a week. That is only my opinion and I know there are pitchers that do use a heavier ball, so if you do go that route listen to what your arm is telling you and don’t over do the weighted ball.

      Thanks for your question,
      Doug Bernier
      Pro Baseball Insider

  92. Avatar für ROOKIE


    • Avatar für Doug Bernier


      My personal preference is the 11.50. It gives you a little more surface area so you have a little more room for error. However, the bottom line is what do you feel comfortable with when turning a double play – because this is the main reason to use a smaller glove. If you feel comfortable turning double plays with the larger size, then all the better. Personally I like the extra quarter inch.

      This page baseball glove sizes guide talks a little more about the logic behind sizing. Check out the section called “middle infield glove sizes.” Hope this helps.

  93. Avatar für Kyle

    Hi Doug so I did some testing and top 2 bats for speed were. A 34/31 at 85mph. And a 35/33 at 82mph my question to you is what would be more benifit +2oz but loose 3mph and have better coverage or -2oz and have a 3mph faster swing speed? On field it’s tough to tell distance but that extra inch dose help with coverage….what do you think ….? I know it’s thanksgiving so whenever your free is perfect for me jus shoot me a email with your thoughts or post what you think ….thanks Doug

  94. Avatar für Bill

    At the risk of being slapped with a lifetime suspension from your website for arguing, I believe a situational hitter, like the one we were discussing, would be a) vulnerable to the inside pitch; b) incapable of fully taking advantage of the pitch right down the middle; and c) seeking to hit the outside pitch the other way regardless of the situation. I too believe hitters, especially right handed hiters, should never become pull-happy, and I agree that that hitters should be selective but not so selective that they forego their best swings or unduely fall behind in the count while they patiently wait for a pitch they can more comfortably hit to the right side. I believe that right handed hitters should be looking to hit a line drive just slightly to the right of second base in nearly every situation, but this is something on which you and I seem to agree … I think. So when you say that this approach should be used “even with nobody on base,” you sound to me like you are questioning situational hitting too. And if I may engage in some admittedly questionable speculation, a typical .280 hitter, in an effort to become a team player, may be, for all we know, inadvertently transforming himself into a .220 hitter. I do concede that I may be wrong about much of what I just wrote. But based upon what I believe can’t possibly be anything more than conventional baseball wisdom, largely unexamined, are you so thoroughly convinced that I can’t possibly be right? Perhaps too we agree with each other a little bit more than either of us is willing to admit?

  95. Avatar für Kyle

    Thanks a lot …u were of great help… I normally 34/32 but I herd this and I was thinking maybee I should try a 35/32 if it’s gonna give me that little bit of boost in leverage and power….I’ve used as big as a 34/34 in a game without a real issue I’m not worried about average I jus wanna hit for power numbers and that’s it….do you think making the change from 34/32 to 35/32 would be a smart move or do you think it’s too big of a jump and obvisly worse wood quality going from -2 to -3 ……thanks a lot for all your help I’ll be sure to reccomend you

  96. Avatar für Kyle

    I ask this because I know a longer golf driver does resault in more speed…..I know it is obvisly harder to get around with….but do you think it resalts in more power…I dought it but thought I’d ask ….thanks

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier


      Thanks for the question. Using a longer bat can give you more leverage which could result in hitting the baseball further. But, using a longer bat usually means a heavier bat. The name of the game in hitting is bat speed. If you swing a heavier and slightly longer bat with the same bat speed as a smaller bat then it may be a good choice. But if you are sacrificing bat speed you won’t hit the ball any further. It will actually make hitting more difficult. Practice by hitting off a tee on a field and see how far you are hitting the baseball. Try using a heavier bat, then try a lighter bat. You will be able to see which bat works best for your swing. I hope this helps.

      Doug Bernier

  97. Avatar für Bill

    Thank you for that last answer. You confirmed my belief that in baseball what we should be trying to do and what we are actually doing are NOT always the same thing. Hopefully you can handle one more question. Do you think situational hitting might be a bit overrated? Except for in the most extreme circumstances, isn’t it better to adopt a more consistent approach and simply go up to the plate seeking to hit a line drive somewhere. I mean is trying to hit the ball to the right side when there is a man on second and no outs always such a wonderful thing to be trying to do? Hitting is difficult enough, and if you’re a great hitter with great bat control, it only means you are likely facing a great pitcher. I think trying to hit the ball to the right side gives the pitcher too much of an advantage. Better to turn on that inside pitch and hit a double to left center or if the pitch is right down the middle, shouldn’t we be taking our best swing at that pitch? I think players and managers often take strategies of questionable value and then rely upon them to far too great an extent merely to demonstrate their knowledge of so-called inside baseball. What are your thoughts? (My other example would be when corner infielders are practically standing on top of the foul line in the late innings of a game that is tied. I think these players are simply trying to get credit for being heads-up players who know the finer points of baseball when in reality, they are taking dubious strategies way too far.)

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier


      Thanks for your question. I don’t think situational hitting is overrated. Not at all. I understand, why not just take an inside pitch and drive it in the left center gap. Thats great, but for how many balls in the gap do we ground out to shortstop or fly out to left. This is an unproductive out. I believe that first of all pitchers get too much credit. All pitchers need to pitch inside (especially with a runner at 2nd and a right handed hitter up) but few can, even in the big leagues. If its on the corner, its tough to handle, he misses a couple inches in, its a ball, a couple inches over the plate it can be hit up the middle. There is not a lot of room for error when pitching inside. Pitchers still throw pitches on the outer part of the plate. You need to have a quality approach and wait for your pitch. Sliders, and change ups go just as far as fastballs especially when they are thrown in the zone you are looking. I don’t believe in just hitting a ground ball to the second baseman. Drive the ball up the middle or in the right center gap. That should be the approach we have anyway, even with nobody on base. When we stick to this approach if we don’t hit the ball perfect (ground ball to second or fly ball to right and sometimes centerfield) the runner can still advance because of a productive out. If we try to pull the ball and we don’t get a hit, the runner stays at second base. Stats show that it is easier to hit a fly ball to the opposite field than pulling the baseball. That opposite gap approach is important with a runner at 2nd and at 3rd base. Also, looking up in the zone is a good way to get ready to hit off speed pitches. When off speed pitches are down, they are usually nastier and tough to drive, getting the same pitch up usually hangs and is ready to get crushed. Also I really believe it is selfish baseball by not even trying. I can see with two strikes battling and just trying to put the ball in play, but make the first two strikes for the team. Baseball is a momentum game and in a good pitching matchup be about execution. Situational hitting is a great momentum grabber and may be the only way to score runs off of a quality pitcher. I hope this helps answer your question. These are my views but I believe and I know coaches believe in situational hitting.

      Thanks for sending me your questions. I like them, they get me thinking a bit.

      Doug Bernier

  98. Avatar für Bill

    What is your opinion regarding linear hitting and rotational hitting? There are obviously linear and rotational elements in every good swing, but as an older player, I truly cannot believe how much better I can now hit since I adopted the principles of linear hitting. But since there seems to be so much on the internet about the superior benefits of rotational hitting, I would be very interested in your opinion on this subject.

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier


      Great question. I personally feel that there are good things from a weight shift swing and good things from a rotational swing. Some of the best hitters in the game incorporate the best from each type of swing.
      I believe the positives of the weight shift swing is that you will put the ball in play more often. This is because your bat stays in the hitting zone a lot longer than someone who is rotational. This type of swing is geared to hit pitches middle to the outside part of the plate well. You probably hit the ball up the middle and the other way well which is great. Being able to hit the ball the other way makes hitting much easier because when you can hit the ball the other way, you can also handle off speed pitches better than someone who is pull happy.
      With the increase in head movement you may struggle with hard fastballs on the inner part of the plate. I also believe you may sacrifice a little power for a better average using a weight shift swing.
      My junior college coach made our team read the “Mike Schmidt Study”. This book basically compares the early weight shift to the Charley Lau and Walt Hriniak weight shift to the Ted Williams rotational swing. It talks about the pros and cons to each and talks about taking all the pros to make an ideal swing. Its an older book that you can probably find pretty cheap online. But it may give you a little deeper answer to your question. It is a good book and I still look at it from time to time, I recommend it.
      I hope this answers your question or at least points you in the right direction. Keep checking our website, we are adding videos to our articles real soon. Thanks for your question and if you have any more let me know.

      Doug Bernier

      • Avatar für Bill

        Thanks for a great answer. Okay, here comes a related question. After YOU have loaded your hands and taken your stride and you have now decided to swing at the pitch, which part of your body do you FEEL leads the way? Your hands or your hips? I spoke to an ex-minor league player recently who told me that you have to lead with your hands if you ever want to be able to catch up to a good fastball. Now I suspect that the hands and hips move together for the most part, but I also believe it can make a big difference which FEEL you cultivate. As for me, I definitely have a much quicker bat when I FEEL that I am leading with my hands and that my hips are only rotating in response to the movement of my hands. But so many reputable baseball people seem to argue that the hips pull the hands, at least during the first part of the swing, including Ted Williams if I am not mistaken. What does it feel like to YOU when you start your swing when you are hitting well?

        • Avatar für Doug Bernier


          This is a very interesting question. I have asked this same question to many players and hitting coaches and everyone I have talked to says that the swing starts from the ground up. So your back knee starts to drive towards your front knee and your hips follow your knees and then your hands follow. When your swing is in sync your hands will start just a millisecond after your hips.
          Now with that said, I know that with myself if I focus too much on throwing my lower half or hips I fly open with my shoulders and lose every bit of torque I was trying to create. So I will think about throwing my hands. My lower half usually does what it is supposed to do without me thinking too much about it.
          There was a time this year where I was doing a lot of drills that focused on using my hands by taking the lower body out of my swing. I noticed that when I focused too much on these drills some of the muscle memory transferred over to the game and it made me sluggish with my lower half. This made my hands slow and it actually makes my bat path inconsistent.
          Hopefully this reply isn’t too confusing but I believe that the hips start in your swing before your hands. But you need to be conscious of your hands more so than your lower half. A perfectly made swing will put your hands in the right position, but it is your hands that make any last minute adjustments to any sort of movement on a pitch.
          Hope this helps.

          Doug Bernier

  99. Avatar für ROOKIE


    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Hey Rookie,

      Thanks for your question, sorry it took me so long to get back to you. We just got done with our season.
      You are correct with your assumption that breaking the game up in thirds is innings 1-3, innings 4-6, and innings 7-9. Usually there is no strategy that comes from breaking the game up into thirds. Sometimes players for mental purposes will break a game up into three smaller games, to help them focus. But, depending on the score of the game as the game gets closer to the 9th inning you may play the game a little more conservative or more aggressive depending on the situation.
      Hope this helps, keep checking back to our website. We are planning on adding videos to our articles. Thanks for your question.

      Doug Bernier

  100. Avatar für Cindy

    I thought you have to tag all the bases,so what is the neighborhood rule can you please explain it to me.

    Thank you

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      You are right, you have to touch all the bases. The neighborhood play is when a double play is being turned and sometimes the middle infielder may catch the ball and his foot is already off the bag. He is usually trying to get out of the way of the sliding runner. In actuality the runner should be called safe. If the throw to the middle infielder is a good throw sometimes the umpire may let him get a little extra space if it is not too obvious. However if it is real obvious or the throw pulls the middle infielder off of the bag the runner will be called safe.
      Some umpires (not all) will be ok with the middle infielder being close to the bag and not on it when he catches the baseball. I don’t recommend putting the decision in the umpires hand. I believe you should always make sure of the first out and then try for the second.
      I hope this clarifies the neighborhood play.


  101. Avatar für Nolan

    I am a recently transitioned centerfielder (I moved there from second base). What are some good drills that will help me with my footwork in center, when I start playing juco ball? Do you suggest an agility ladder?
    I’ve also been doing a good amount of tee work everyday I was wondering if I should limit myself to a certain amount of time everyday or not.

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Thanks for your question. Transitioning to the outfield takes work and it sounds like you are putting in time and effort. I hope your transition goes well.
      First off the agility ladder is good for everyone, not only outfielders. If you have one keep using it, if not you can jump rope, or even put tape on the ground and hop around how you would through an agility ladder. Being quick on your feet is very important especially for a centerfielder who needs to be able to run down fly balls.
      Some good drills are working on your first step. It is important to make your first step count. Work on using a crossover step and running towards one of the gaps, have a person throw a ball that you have to catch. There are a couple variations to this drill that we discuss in more detail on our outfield drill page. Taking good angles to the baseball is very important.
      Make sure to shag baseballs during batting practice live off of the bat. This is the most realistic way to practice. The balls a coach hits are good practice but they will be different than live hit baseballs. Work on seeing the ball quickly and well off the bat. The quicker you know where the ball is going to end up the better jump and angle you can get. You will know when you are getting better when you can consistently make your initial jump and not have to make any adjustments.
      I wouldn’t limit your hitting or practice time. Take as many swings as you feel you need to get better. Working hard will pay off.

      I hope this helps, keep up the hard work.


    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Hey Pam,

      Thanks for the question. If you could be a little more specific I may be able to give you a better answer. Is your son right or left handed? Is he hitting balls in the air or ground balls to second base? These 2 questions should give me a better answer for your son.
      Thanks, Doug

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      I believe the steps to become better are best seen by you. Self evaluate and find out what you need to work on. it can be a difficult thing but be honest with yourself and work hard. If you want to be a better baseball player, the biggest thing is consistency and always giving 100% effort. I know that may sound vague but you don’t have to be great in all aspects of the game. There are some things we are better at than others. If you work hard, run hard, and are consistent the coach will appreciate you. It makes it more difficult if a coach doesn’t know which player is showing up that particular day. Giving the same effort level and doing what you do well everyday will make you a better baseball player.

      To be a little more specific work on your throwing even if you have to tape a square on a wall and throw into the square. Work on catching and fielding. Offensively it is important to limit your strikeouts. You never give yourself a chance if you are not putting the baseball in play. Hopefully this answer helps, and I recommend you take a look through some of these links to our website:

      Fielding – (1) The Pro Infielder’s Secret, (2) Routine Ground Balls, (3) Backhand Plays, (4) Forehand Ground Balls… Categories 1 and 2 on this page: Shortstop will be helpful.

      Hitting – Starting with The Baseball Swing 1 – Rhythm and continuing from there. This page links to all the hitting articles.

      Good luck, Doug

  102. Avatar für joshua

    What position should i play if i dont like the outfield and try my best for infield but I’m not a very good thrower and i really want to know where i could play?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      My first thought would be to play first base. That is the one infield position where you throw the least. If their is another infield position that you like or would like to play keep working on your throwing. It takes time but if you keep working on your skills you will get a lot better and feel a lot more comfortable.

      Best of luck this season, Doug

  103. Avatar für keith

    Can you talk about the finer points of fielding hot shot line drives that bounce 3 feet directly in front of the infielder? What’s the best technique to play those consistently, eliminate fear, and keep from getting a bad hop in the face?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      This is not an easy play and it takes a lot of trust in your hands to keep your face in their and watch the baseball. Even guys that trust their hands sometimes will get their head out of the way just out of reaction.

      There are a few things that I tried that helped me with this play. First a drill I still do today is I will get on both knees and have someone hit me ground balls. This drill makes you feel a little vulnerable because you can’t move your feet so you are at the mercy of the ground ball and are forced to use your hands. After a while you get used to handling this situation.

      Another move that can help especially at third and first base is to get comfortable using a drop step. When a ball gets hit at you and your eyes tell your body you need more room to field the ball easily you can drop your left or right leg to try to give you a couple more feet to see and field the baseball. When a ball is hit hard in your direction many times you don’t have time to move your feet, but there is usually enough time for a quick and simple drop step. This will put you to the side of the baseball which will keep your face safer and will give you a little more space to field the tough line drive short hop.

      Hopefully this will help, continue to practice these drills and moves and they should make this play a little easier to deal with. Thanks for the question.
      Doug Bernier

  104. Avatar für Keith c

    Can you discuss 1st and 3rd double steal defense at the Major League level? And under what conditions would an offense try to do a double steal in the Majors?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      The first and third defense usually has 4 options.

      1. The catcher is throwing through to 2nd base and the middle infielder is not concerned with the runner at 3rd base, he is getting the runner stealing 2nd base.

      2. The catcher is throwing through to 2nd base and the middle infielders read the play. If the runner at third base takes off the middle infielder will take a couple steps towards the catcher (from the 2nd base bag) and throw the ball home. If the runner at 3rd stays you make the tag and get the out at 2nd base.

      3. The catcher will come up and throw directly to 3rd base. In this defense the middle infielders will hold their ground and not leave their positions. They will let the runner at first have second base.

      4. The catcher will pump fake to 2nd base. The middle infielders will hold their position and the third baseman will cover the third base bag in case the runner gets too far off.

      Growing up sometimes the catcher would peak to third base and if the runner was too far off the 3rd baseman would hold his hands up. This play is too difficult for the catcher and 3rd baseman to read, so we don’t do it.

      From an offensive standpoint, the runner at third base would wait to see the catcher making a throw to second base and then take off. This play is usually determined by the speed of the runners, especially at third base. With two outs, the runner at first base doesn’t want to get tagged to make the 3rd out before the runner crosses home plate, so he may stop and get in a run down.

      It wouldn’t be a true double steal, the runner at third base is reading the catcher.

      Hope this helps, thanks for the question
      Doug Bernier

  105. Avatar für Keith c

    First, thanks for the absolutely best website on baseball I have ever found!

    When hitters like Ryan Howard get an extreme shift played on them leaving a huge hole around 3rd base, why don’t they just tap the ball that direction for an easy base hit?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier


      Thanks for the kind words. I have a couple reasons why Ryan Howard or any other hitter who have extreme shifts played on them don’t tap or bunt the ball to third base just to get a hit.
      As crazy as it sounds the defense will let them do it every time. Teams see these hitters as dangerous hitters that can hit the ball out of the ballpark every time they step up to the plate. Usually these players are also slow and can clog up the bases. So a team would gladly take a bunt single and have a slow runner on first base than the possibility of him hitting a homerun or double.
      Also, bunting is not something these players are asked to do very often, so something as simple as putting down a very average bunt may be pretty difficult. And if they did try to bunt and fouled it off for strike one, or made a terrible bunt and bunted it right back to the pitcher, they would be pretty upset. These players are paid the big money to drive players in and swing the bat. They are much more dangerous in the batters box than standing at first base.

      Thanks for your question.
      Doug Bernier

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      John – You may have heard this before, but playing long toss is the best way improve arm strength and throwing velocity. When you are stretching it out, you can feel when everything is working perfectly and you get off a perfect throw. Concentrate on using your legs and really finishing with your wrist. These two components are often overlooked, but are very important.

  106. Avatar für John

    Hey Doug, when I bat i have a big uppercut “golf” swing. I have been told by some that it is bad but others have said that it is good. Is it best to have a straight or uppercut swing?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      John, off the top of my head, I can think of a few reasons why a flatter swing has advantage over an “uppercut” swing.

      1. A level swing is a shorter path to the baseball. This is good for several reasons, including being able to wait longer before you swing. This means you’ll have more time to see the ball and can make better decisions.
      2. Swinging up hill has you fighting gravity, and might be sacrificing a little bit of bat speed.
      3. An uphill swing has you tilting your head, changing the way you see the baseball. Instead of being upright, like reading a book, your brain has to get used to an unusual perspective.
      4. Swinging uphill means your rotation won’t be as crisp. The tendency is for your front hip to slide, so you’ll drift during your rotation which affects many things about your swing in a negative way.

      So basically, all these seemingly small things add up and you’ll have a longer swing, and longer swings have a much more difficult time hitting velocity. A hitter might get away with it against pitching that is 85 mph, but it won’t work when facing 95 mph.

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier


      The barehanded play and what I call the “two hand play” take the same number of steps. You would field as you step forward with the left and throw as you step forward with the right. My guess is that your referring to what is said on the video on this page On the Run Plays: Fielding Slow Rollers ? I just went back and watched it, and I should have made it more clear. The last frame that says fielding with two hands is “faster and more efficient that the one hand” is referring to option 1 in the video (1) one hand (2) bare hand and (3) two hand.
      “one hand” is just gloving it with one hand and then taking that extra step to make the transition to your throwing hand.

      So, again to clarify, the barehanded play and the “two hand play” (fielding with your throwing hand right beside your glove) take the same number of steps. The traditional way of reaching with just your one glove hand would take an extra step.

      Sorry for the confusion. Hope this helps.

  107. Avatar für Thomas

    Doug I really enjoy your web site. My question is in regards to baseball instruction. How do you sort good information from bad or fact from opinion. Example; Is long toss good or bad? What throwing drill are best for young pitchers? What is the best age for formal pitching instruction?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Thanks for your question and complement. In my opinion it is difficult to sort good information from bad information. That is the battle everyone faces. But i have a few markers that may make it easier to sort through all of the information that is out there.

      For your first question, I turned my answer to you into a blog post… How to Know Good from Bad Baseball Instruction.

      My answer to: is long toss good or bad? I believe that long toss is good, but not every day. Maybe three days a week or every other day.

      It is most important to how your arm is feeling. If it is sore take a day from playing long toss. My belief is that if you want to run faster you sprint. If you want to throw harder throw long and with effort. If you never get to where you are throwing 100% and one day you try to do it in a game it may not be there, 90% may be your 100%. You have to practice throwing. Long toss builds arm strength. I believe in it, i have been doing it since i was a little kid. Some times i only get to 150 feet and i keep the ball on a line (getting up to 100% effort). Sometimes i will get further back and put some air under the ball and try to throw it as far as i can. When i get to 100% i may only make about 5 throws at this effort level. It can be easy to over due. Listen to what your body is telling you.

      The overwhelming best drill for young pitchers is to throw to a wall or net with a box painted or some sort of target. Doing this over and over will help the young pitcher learn a feel for throwing. He will eventually be able to see that he is missing his target and he has to figure out how to get the ball to the target. It is a lot of trial and error for the kid, but you learn so much about throwing when you figure it out for yourself. Since throwing strikes is the biggest problem for young pitchers feeling your body is much more important than perfect mechanics.

      However, mechanics are important to protect the pitcher from hurting their arm. Having feel with your fingers and arm for throwing strikes is very important but mechanics keeps you consistent and healthy. Kids can start with formal pitching lessons as early as 8 or 9 years old. These lessons should be very basic on how to use proper throwing mechanics. I believe kids should not be taught off speed pitches this early but that is the discretion of the parent. Once kids can start pitching in organized games can be a good entry point for lessons. In case you want to pass them along to your players, here are some articles on the mechanics of throwing a baseball.

  108. Avatar für Thomas

    Why does Pujols of the cards hold base runners at first by being in towards the pitcher and not on the corner of the bag?

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Thanks for your question, I will do my best to answer it. I believe there are two reasons why Albert Pujols holds runners on being a little closer to the pitcher and not on the corner of the bag.

      1. If you notice he is not only about a step closer to the pitcher he is also squared up to the pitcher as well. This will help Albert not get tangled up on a pick off attempt from the pitcher that is thrown into the runner. He is out of the runners way and can go after the baseball without worrying about any sort of interference.

      2. Being squared up to the pitcher allows Albert to get an extra shuffle step when the pitcher is throwing the ball home. In a traditional pick off set up where your feet are in line towards the pitcher, you won’t be able to get more than one shuffle step away from the foul line. If he tried from this set up, he would be in the air in mid shuffle when the ball is in the hitting zone, and would be out of position if the ball were hit to him. Being squared up to the pitcher allows him to get two shuffle steps and still have his feet planted when the pitch goes through the hitting zone. It also cuts down the hole between Albert and his second baseman, making that large hole just about a step smaller.

      I believe Albert knows where he is in relation to the base, so if there were a potential base stealer and he see’s a good pick off throw from the pitcher he can always drop step with his right foot, bring it back to the corner of the first base bag, and be back in the optimal pick off set up which will allow for an easier tag.

      This is a slightly slower way to make a tag on a base runner but lurking in the back of the base runners mind is that Yadier Molina is behind the plate and he is probably the best catcher in baseball shutting down the other teams running game. He loves to throw and he has thrown out 42% of runners attempting to steal from 2005-2010. So, he definitely has influence on Albert not being in the traditional pick off set up.

      Hope this answer helped. Thanks for your question.

    • Avatar für Justin

      After you complete your stride should you just rotate off your back foot. Because I see major league hitters after they stride they start with the back knee