Pitchers Pickoff Move To Second Base

By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro

Bam! The leadoff runner just hit a screaming double to the fence. What can a pitcher do? You have two options; let him bask in his glory on second base, or you can pick him off.

There is a right way, and a wrong way to pick a runner off second base. There are also several ways to do it the right way. Confused yet? Good, keep on reading to learn how to pick off a runner on second base.

The inside move is a simple and quick way to keep the runner on second base honest. Most of the time, a pitcher won’t be able to pick the guy using the inside move, but it is very effective for keeping him close to the base.

To perform the inside move, start your leg lift like you would deliver a pitch. At the peak of your leg lift, right before you would normally start moving towards the plate, shift your weight to the outside of your back knee, and spin your body towards your glove hand side until you are facing second base. If done correctly, you should be able to plant your left foot (for a righty) towards second base, and make a good throw.

The inside move can be used without the aid of a middle infielder. Doing it this way will not usually pick a guy off, but it will keep him close to the base, and will check to see if the batter is planning on bunting.

Another pickoff to second base is the jump turn. The jump turn is the quickest and most successful pick move to second base. There are multiple ways to run the play, but first a pitcher must know how to perform the move properly.

There are two ways to throw the jump turn. The pick can be executed while taking signs, or after the pitcher has come to the set position. They are both very similar in their execution. The main goal of the jump turn is to get your body in the throwing position towards second base as quickly as possible.

The jump turn is performed in the opposite direction of the inside move (A right handed pitcher will spin glove side). When making the jump turn, refrain from jumping higher than necessary. This will cause you to make a slow move, and/or lose control. Only jump high enough to make turn the entire 180 degrees.

When jump turning, it is helpful if you can make progress towards second base. By this, I mean when you make your jump, try to jump a bit towards the base so when you land, you are on the back side of the rubber. This will get your momentum going in the right direction, and cut down on the overall time of the play.

The jump turn pick can be incorporated in multiple ways between the pitcher, shortstop, second basement and catcher. It is up to the coaches and the players how they want to run the play, but performing a good jump turn can be deadly to baser runners.

Once you master the jump turn and inside move, you will be better equipped to hold the runners on second base, thus giving yourself an easier job on the mound!


 

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