Baseball Magazine

What to Do IF You Are Picked off by a Lefty.

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard
The other day I did a post on How NOT to get picked-off by a left-handerat first base when the steal is not on.  Of course, when a runner does have the steal sign, he can be in for a real challenge with a left hander on the mound.  Especially when the lefty has a good move to first. We've all seen runners take off towards second when the pitcher comes over to first base.  Sometimes this is by accident (guessed wrong) and sometimes it is by choice (going on first move).  Either way, it usually becomes a race to see if the throw to first and then to second will beat the runner trying to steal.  When this occurs and the runner feels there is a good chance he may be out at second base, there is, in fact, something he can do to increase his chances of being safe.What to do IF you are picked off by a lefty.When a base runner starts running, he is legally entitled to move three feet left or right of his line and still be “in the base path.”  He should use this to his advantage as he sprints towards second base.  When a runner gets picked-off and is sprinting towards second base,  he should veer to the far left side of the base path as much as he can to possibly get in the way of the throw going to second base.  If done correctly, the runner will usually be right on the grass/dirt line of the infield.  This creates a possible problem for the first baseman and the shortstop who will be waiting for the throw.  If the runner veers to the left as he is running, a first baseman's throw may ricochet off the runner's back or helmet and go into left field since the runner is now on the same side as the throw.  Some first baseman may even try to throw it over the runner so as not to hit him.  If it doesn't go over the shortstop's head and into left field, it may be high enough to make the shortstop jump in order to catch the ball, or at least make him reach up for it.  That may be just enough to allow the runner to get under the tag.At the higher levels, first baseman are usually skilled enough to know the proper footwork (future post!) of what to do to minimize this risk.  Even so, the next time you see a major league base stealer get picked-off and try to beat the throw to second, I bet you'll see him veer to the left.  Regardless of what level a runner finds himself, it's worth a shot.

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