Baseball Magazine

Outfielders: Give Yourself a Chance

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

Outfielders:  Give yourself a chance

With a runner on second with two outs, outfielders
normally have to "give themselves a chance."

The next time you watch a MLB game live or on TV, see if you notice anything different in the way outfielders position themselves with two outs and a runner on second base.  You will usually see (sometimes the announcers point this out) that the outfielders move in a few steps.  The purpose of this positional change is to give themselves a chance to cut down a runner at home plate who is trying to score on a base hit.  With two outs, an outfielder can be certain that the third base coach is going to send the runner on a base hit and therefore needs to be in a position to get to the ball a little quicker and make the throw home.  Playing in the normal spot or deeper virtually guarantees the runner will score easily.
Of course, the score and the inning have much to do with whether or not the outfielders do this.  If the outfielders' team is up by a couple runs, coaches may want the outfielders to play a bit deeper than normal because keeping the batter from getting to second base (scoring position) is more of a priority then keeping the original runner at second base from scoring.  If the defensive team is up by a lot of runs, the outfielders tend to just play where they normally would.  Normally, these defensive changes on the part of the outfielders occur in the latter innings when the runner on second base can potentially tie or win a game.
The bigger point to all of this is for outfielders to recognize that a number of factors go into deciding where to position themselves out there.  Staying in the same general spot the entire game may be the norm at the lower levels but as players get older, these strategic changes become more and more important for outfielders even though most fans will never notice what they are doing.

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