17 Defensive Responsibilities For Pitchers

  • Updated
Youth pitching program
ATTENTION PITCHERS: One of the big misconceptions in baseball is that playing the game keeps you in shape to pitch. I wish that was true. It's not. To get to the next level, preparation matters. Big league pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching.

If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my proven programs for pitchers of all ages.

Madison Bumgarner pitching gif
Madison Bumgarner

The pitcher as the fifth infielder.

Good fielding pitchers will give up fewer hits, turn more double plays, and take away many cheap infield hits by being quick reacting, tough, agile fielders.

Defensive Techniques and Drills for Pitchers

The following are techniques for fielding bunts:

  • Read speed and angle of bunts
  • Bunts on 1st base line - step back inside to clear B-R
  • Fielding squeeze bunt attempts
  • Footwork and throwing techniques to 1st-2nd-3rd-and home.
  • Responsibilities on various pressure bunt defensive plays.

Covering 1st Base - proper angle, tag, position to throw

  • Normal 3-1 play, make verbal calls
  • Bobbled ball- hold base for throw
  • 3-6-1, or 4-1 technique - sprint to base, set up, be a 1st baseman.

Come backers - crow hop; double crow hop

  • 1-6-3, 1-4-3, 1-5-3, 1-2-3 double plays
  • Look runner back to base, throw to first.

4. Cover play on pass ball, runner at 3rd.
A. Give R plate, then take it away; how to avoid collisions and injury.

5. Slow rollers between fielders, pitcher calls - “Ive got it” or “you take it”.
A. Between 1st base and mound, 3 to 1, or 1 to 3.
B. Between mound and 3rd, triangle read for 3rd baseman.

6. Directional calls for catcher on ball in dirt
Front - back - under - 1st - 3rd

7. Pick off techniques
A. At each base
B. Spin move to 2nd, reverse pivot to 2nd
C. 31 play; fake to 3rd, throw to first
D. 3 and 2, 2 out pick off play

8. Run down responsibilities
A. Backing up base - 1st-3rd-home
B. Forcing runner one way; make runner run hard.

9. Backing up bases
A. Distance, angle, protecting dead ball area

B. Defensive Situations For Pitchers

1. Use of step back technique
A. To check runners or to disrupt runner’s timing pitcher
B. To check for squeeze or sac attempt
C. 1st and 3rd defense

2. Pitch out techniques
A. Slide step
B. Fastball vs curveball pitch out
C. Location of pitch out

3. Issuing an intentional walk
A. Checking runners
B. Pitch location and velocity

4. Defending 1st and 3rd offensive plays
A. Step back technique
B. 31 move
C. Open pivot move
D. Flag at ball on catchers throw to second
E. Cut off responsibilities on special plays
F base coverage and back up on run-downs

5. Responsibilities on pop-ups
A. Cover vacated base
B. Catch low pop ups or balls between fielders

6. Making the appeal play
A. Put ball in play, name runner
B. Check and freeze other runners
C. Alert for another offensive play on appeal attempt
D. Getting the 4th out on appeal

7. Hidden ball play
A. Pitcher’s actions and position without ball

8. Making tags on runners
A. At a base or plate
B. In the base line

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Youth pitching program
One of the big misconceptions in baseball is that playing the game keeps you in shape to pitch. I wish that was true. It's not. To get to the next level, preparation matters. Big league pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching.

If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my proven programs for pitchers of all ages.

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