Catcher signals for pickoffs

Say you are giving signs to catcher from dugout: Make up a signal for a pick to 1B. Can be as simple as if I finish series of signals on the hat, I want a pick to 1B. Catcher then puts hand down to give sign & instead of 1,2 etc, he flips his thumb towards 1B (subtle, don't jerk the thumb). Pitcher then knows to pick 1B. (Runner & opposing coaches unable to see this thumb flip)

Second base Pickoff. Again, make up whatever you want. Finish on chest = pick to 2B. Catcher puts signs down: puts down 2, 2, 2 then a fist. SS has to be looking in to see it. Pitcher & SS then know pick 2B. Pitcher comes set & continues looking HOME (NOT TO 2B!) SS breaks & when catcher sees daylight between SS & Runner he drops his glove, this is the trigger for the pitcher to spin & throw to 2B. ** This is not an "inside move to 2B," but a quick spin & throw. You will get more than you would expect.

Don't pick to 3B. Usually a disaster & where is he going anyway.....

Steve A. posted:

Say you are giving signs to catcher from dugout: Make up a signal for a pick to 1B. Can be as simple as if I finish series of signals on the hat, I want a pick to 1B. Catcher then puts hand down to give sign & instead of 1,2 etc, he flips his thumb towards 1B (subtle, don't jerk the thumb). Pitcher then knows to pick 1B. (Runner & opposing coaches unable to see this thumb flip)

Second base Pickoff. Again, make up whatever you want. Finish on chest = pick to 2B. Catcher puts signs down: puts down 2, 2, 2 then a fist. SS has to be looking in to see it. Pitcher & SS then know pick 2B. Pitcher comes set & continues looking HOME (NOT TO 2B!) SS breaks & when catcher sees daylight between SS & Runner he drops his glove, this is the trigger for the pitcher to spin & throw to 2B. ** This is not an "inside move to 2B," but a quick spin & throw. You will get more than you would expect.

Don't pick to 3B. Usually a disaster & where is he going anyway.....

Respectfully haave to disagree with the catcher pick to 3B, at least with 0 outs and probably with 1 out.

Where are they going???  They are probably scoring.  

84% of all runners with 0 outs score and 66% of all runners with 1 out score.  Why not back pick if the opportunity presents itself.

Not to give too much away for what I do, if I yell out, "how many down" then that is the signal that I want a pickoff.  It is now up to the leaders on the field to run with that.  By that time, we have already practiced this and so, my players know what to do.  They are "down with that."  Most often the SS or Catcher now take charge.  

It's generally frowned on to throw to 3b, but I love the play if you have a good 3b/P combo, especially when the runner is aggressively bluffing down the line. I don't get why it's such a risky play, yet a throw to 2nd isn't.

 

Like everything, you have to practice the move.

 

We always did four fingers followed by 1 for 1B, 2 for 2B, etc.  If we happened to have a pitcher that had a fourth pitch...we would go to five fingers or wiggling all fingers followed by a number.  As with all signs, with a runner on second you have to mix things up a bit...but that was the general way we did it.

IEBSBL posted:
Steve A. posted:

Say you are giving signs to catcher from dugout: Make up a signal for a pick to 1B. Can be as simple as if I finish series of signals on the hat, I want a pick to 1B. Catcher then puts hand down to give sign & instead of 1,2 etc, he flips his thumb towards 1B (subtle, don't jerk the thumb). Pitcher then knows to pick 1B. (Runner & opposing coaches unable to see this thumb flip)

Second base Pickoff. Again, make up whatever you want. Finish on chest = pick to 2B. Catcher puts signs down: puts down 2, 2, 2 then a fist. SS has to be looking in to see it. Pitcher & SS then know pick 2B. Pitcher comes set & continues looking HOME (NOT TO 2B!) SS breaks & when catcher sees daylight between SS & Runner he drops his glove, this is the trigger for the pitcher to spin & throw to 2B. ** This is not an "inside move to 2B," but a quick spin & throw. You will get more than you would expect.

Don't pick to 3B. Usually a disaster & where is he going anyway.....

Respectfully haave to disagree with the catcher pick to 3B, at least with 0 outs and probably with 1 out.

Where are they going???  They are probably scoring.  

84% of all runners with 0 outs score and 66% of all runners with 1 out score.  Why not back pick if the opportunity presents itself.

Several reasons:

#1: It is rarely, if ever practiced. This usually = a disaster when attempted.

#2: There is no backup like a pick to 2B.

#3: 100% the run scores if you screw it up.

#4: You do not see it, ever, in a pro game as it is clearly a low percentage risk / reward.

Steve A. posted:
IEBSBL posted:
Steve A. posted:

Say you are giving signs to catcher from dugout: Make up a signal for a pick to 1B. Can be as simple as if I finish series of signals on the hat, I want a pick to 1B. Catcher then puts hand down to give sign & instead of 1,2 etc, he flips his thumb towards 1B (subtle, don't jerk the thumb). Pitcher then knows to pick 1B. (Runner & opposing coaches unable to see this thumb flip)

Second base Pickoff. Again, make up whatever you want. Finish on chest = pick to 2B. Catcher puts signs down: puts down 2, 2, 2 then a fist. SS has to be looking in to see it. Pitcher & SS then know pick 2B. Pitcher comes set & continues looking HOME (NOT TO 2B!) SS breaks & when catcher sees daylight between SS & Runner he drops his glove, this is the trigger for the pitcher to spin & throw to 2B. ** This is not an "inside move to 2B," but a quick spin & throw. You will get more than you would expect.

Don't pick to 3B. Usually a disaster & where is he going anyway.....

Respectfully haave to disagree with the catcher pick to 3B, at least with 0 outs and probably with 1 out.

Where are they going???  They are probably scoring.  

84% of all runners with 0 outs score and 66% of all runners with 1 out score.  Why not back pick if the opportunity presents itself.

Several reasons:

#1: It is rarely, if ever practiced. This usually = a disaster when attempted.

#2: There is no backup like a pick to 2B.

#3: 100% the run scores if you screw it up.

#4: You do not see it, ever, in a pro game as it is clearly a low percentage risk / reward.

I agree that a pick off attempt at 3B is high risk.  But I'm in favor of it in the right situation.  I'm even seeing it done more in MLB.  At least in terms off pick off attempts at 3B by the pitcher.  If you have an athletic pitcher that can sell a move to home plate out of the stretch & still manage to come out of it and throw to 3rd w/o it being an obvious balk you have got something.  Its no different than a good LH move to 1B, its just not as common.  Its most effective with the 3B playing back off the bag. Even a little deeper than normal.  Then it turns into a timing play.  The 3B breaks to the bag as soon as he sees the pitcher lift his leg.  The pitcher has to throw to the 3rd baseman as he is breaking to the bag which requires the ball to be thrown to the OF side of 3B.  The 3rd baseman has to learn not to slow down once he has the ball because (if done properly) the play doesn't occur at the base - it results in a tag out 10' off the base.  My teams have successfully pulled off his play more times than I can count - in fact we did it 4 times in one tournament championship game.  It is especially effective if you have an overly aggressive runner on 3B and/or a 3B coach that doesn't have his head in the game.  Its usually a good idea to clue the umpires in before the game starts if there is a chance you might attempt this.  Otherwise they may call a balk just because they are caught by surprise.  Again, its risky (and it takes practice) but if you pull it off it can change the momentum of a game in a heartbeat. 

What is trending down in HS and college ball is hyper aggressive baserunning when on 3rd, if only to distract the P. Guys are racing down the line as soon as the P picks his foot up, secure in the knowledge that he won't throw over. 

 

Don't see why a C can throw down the line to 3rd on a far more difficult throw, yet a P can't. Again, it would have to be practiced, but for a RHP, it's kind of a no brainer, to me.

It is important to have the defense player have an indicator that he has seen the "pick off" sign. The greatest "pick off" was when I played 1b with runners on 1st and 2nd and one or 2 outs. I "flash" a signal to the catcher and after he recognize my signal threw to 1st base and we pick off the runner.

Bob

Clearly the play can be executed & also be effective. The question is this: With about a million things to work on in a given practice time, where do you rank the "Let's get all the pitchers & 3B together & generate signs to add to the mix & work on 3B pickoffs?" If you answer the rank is about 999,999 out of a million, you would be correct.

If you have a pitcher who is remotely competent, with a runner on 3B, if he goes from the full windup, he glances over at the runner prior to starting the delivery. This checks the "Jackie Robinson" jockeying as he just steps off & throws to 3B if the runner gets way down the line. If he is in the stretch, it is a non issue. Just step off & throw to 3B.

The problems come in when you have timing of different leg lifts (assuming RHP), the 3B is in motion to the bag, the runner is coming back in & the throw needs to be borderline perfect to hit a moving 3B target & avoid disaster. The play is a loser, overall. If it was a "good" baseball play, you would see more of it.

Steve A. posted:

Clearly the play can be executed & also be effective. The question is this: With about a million things to work on in a given practice time, where do you rank the "Let's get all the pitchers & 3B together & generate signs to add to the mix & work on 3B pickoffs?" If you answer the rank is about 999,999 out of a million, you would be correct.

If you have a pitcher who is remotely competent, with a runner on 3B, if he goes from the full windup, he glances over at the runner prior to starting the delivery. This checks the "Jackie Robinson" jockeying as he just steps off & throws to 3B if the runner gets way down the line. If he is in the stretch, it is a non issue. Just step off & throw to 3B.

The problems come in when you have timing of different leg lifts (assuming RHP), the 3B is in motion to the bag, the runner is coming back in & the throw needs to be borderline perfect to hit a moving 3B target & avoid disaster. The play is a loser, overall. If it was a "good" baseball play, you would see more of it.

Agree totally with lack of practice time to work on everything that needs to be worked on. There NEVER seems to be time to work on everything, whether it be bunting for that one player, or that awful throwing habit of another, or better exercise/eating habits pre game, or ... past year my youngest(14yo) really came into his own on the mound, including a really nice move to 1st, and a decent one to 2nd. I don't know how many he caught going too early, whether it be to 3rd, or 2nd. He does everything right, runs at the runner till he commits, throws just in time...right into the dirt. Didn't get around to practicing those throws to any degree till the year was over.

Don't know that I agree with the mindset of, "If it was good BB play, it would be done already." Innovators try new stuff, whether it be using analytics, or shifts,  using "openers", or that goofy "moving your front leg multiple times before coming to a pause" on a pitching motion that drives me to distraction.

Steve A. posted:

Clearly the play can be executed & also be effective. The question is this: With about a million things to work on in a given practice time, where do you rank the "Let's get all the pitchers & 3B together & generate signs to add to the mix & work on 3B pickoffs?" If you answer the rank is about 999,999 out of a million, you would be correct.

If you have a pitcher who is remotely competent, with a runner on 3B, if he goes from the full windup, he glances over at the runner prior to starting the delivery. This checks the "Jackie Robinson" jockeying as he just steps off & throws to 3B if the runner gets way down the line. If he is in the stretch, it is a non issue. Just step off & throw to 3B.

The problems come in when you have timing of different leg lifts (assuming RHP), the 3B is in motion to the bag, the runner is coming back in & the throw needs to be borderline perfect to hit a moving 3B target & avoid disaster. The play is a loser, overall. If it was a "good" baseball play, you would see more of it.

I generally agree with what you post - but not in this instance.  I will give you this much - not every pitcher can do it and most shouldn't try it.  But an athletic RHP combined with an athletic 3rd baseman can do it, with enough practice.  And it can be a game changer.  The whole point of the play is deception.  The pitcher has to sell to the runner that he is going to home plate.......and it has to be done out of the stretch.  Again, no different than a good LH move to 1B. Once you have done it (or seen it done) you are likely to change your perspective.

adbono posted:
Steve A. posted:

Clearly the play can be executed & also be effective. The question is this: With about a million things to work on in a given practice time, where do you rank the "Let's get all the pitchers & 3B together & generate signs to add to the mix & work on 3B pickoffs?" If you answer the rank is about 999,999 out of a million, you would be correct.

If you have a pitcher who is remotely competent, with a runner on 3B, if he goes from the full windup, he glances over at the runner prior to starting the delivery. This checks the "Jackie Robinson" jockeying as he just steps off & throws to 3B if the runner gets way down the line. If he is in the stretch, it is a non issue. Just step off & throw to 3B.

The problems come in when you have timing of different leg lifts (assuming RHP), the 3B is in motion to the bag, the runner is coming back in & the throw needs to be borderline perfect to hit a moving 3B target & avoid disaster. The play is a loser, overall. If it was a "good" baseball play, you would see more of it.

I generally agree with what you post - but not in this instance.  I will give you this much - not every pitcher can do it and most shouldn't try it.  But an athletic RHP combined with an athletic 3rd baseman can do it, with enough practice.  And it can be a game changer.  The whole point of the play is deception.  The pitcher has to sell to the runner that he is going to home plate.......and it has to be done out of the stretch.  Again, no different than a good LH move to 1B. Once you have done it (or seen it done) you are likely to change your perspective.

Adbono,  Just for the record. I agree with 100% of what you just posted. An athletic RHP & 3B can definitely do it, with enough practice, with success. The problem is that for general HS purposes, you are going to be lacking 1, 2 or 3 of the above 3 ingredients on any given attempt. If you lack any 1 of the 3, the play fails & usually results in a run giveaway.  So, as a rule, you would have to have a high level coach, with high level, athletic players & high level practice to pull it off, with success. Now, I don't know about you, but from my viewership of HS baseball, that eliminates about 90% of all I see. So therefore, my conclusion & suggestion for the vast majority is to "just say no" to the 3B pick.

PS: I even disagree with myself sometimes .....

Steve A. posted:
IEBSBL posted:
Steve A. posted:

Say you are giving signs to catcher from dugout: Make up a signal for a pick to 1B. Can be as simple as if I finish series of signals on the hat, I want a pick to 1B. Catcher then puts hand down to give sign & instead of 1,2 etc, he flips his thumb towards 1B (subtle, don't jerk the thumb). Pitcher then knows to pick 1B. (Runner & opposing coaches unable to see this thumb flip)

Second base Pickoff. Again, make up whatever you want. Finish on chest = pick to 2B. Catcher puts signs down: puts down 2, 2, 2 then a fist. SS has to be looking in to see it. Pitcher & SS then know pick 2B. Pitcher comes set & continues looking HOME (NOT TO 2B!) SS breaks & when catcher sees daylight between SS & Runner he drops his glove, this is the trigger for the pitcher to spin & throw to 2B. ** This is not an "inside move to 2B," but a quick spin & throw. You will get more than you would expect.

Don't pick to 3B. Usually a disaster & where is he going anyway.....

Respectfully haave to disagree with the catcher pick to 3B, at least with 0 outs and probably with 1 out.

Where are they going???  They are probably scoring.  

84% of all runners with 0 outs score and 66% of all runners with 1 out score.  Why not back pick if the opportunity presents itself.

Several reasons:

#1: It is rarely, if ever practiced. This usually = a disaster when attempted.

#2: There is no backup like a pick to 2B.

#3: 100% the run scores if you screw it up.

#4: You do not see it, ever, in a pro game as it is clearly a low percentage risk / reward.

1.  We practice it weekly

2.  There is the left fielder and SS

3.  Not true because we have picked many times, screwed it up and not seen the run score.  I have also seen the run score 100% of the time when the ball is hit to the SS that is playing back.

4.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbOPtdpgLEM

I like the pick to 3b as something to plant in the opponents head in squeeze situations. A pitchout will alter count the and it only works once an AB (yes that can be debated).

If I run a halfway competent pick play to 3b in which we're not really busting it for an out, there's less risk of throwing it away, and if they are squeezing poorly we get a free out. Worst case the trow at least makes the opposing coach have to think about one more thing before he squeezes.

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