My son was at a tryout last night and one of the positions he went to was 1B.  This surprised a fellow parent since my son is a Righty, not a Lefty, it got me thinking....I know there are advantages to a LH 1B, but how much is being a RH kid a deterrent for coaches? 

Original Post
Originally Posted by CaCO3Girl:

My son was at a tryout last night and one of the positions he went to was 1B.  This surprised a fellow parent since my son is a Righty, not a Lefty, it got me thinking....I know there are advantages to a LH 1B, but how much is being a RH kid a deterrent for coaches? 

First basemen are mashers.  Right or lefty doesn't really matter. 

In my opinion at the younger ages there is still a belief that lefties are better at 1st. In addition, most coaches need to have a place to play lefty pitchers when they have several on the team. The last time I checked the stats, there was a large % difference in college and the pros with the majority of 1st basemen being righty. Then again, I may be wrong as usual (according to my wife) ha.

I have only heard of one case where handedness played a role - and it was because one first baseman swung it from the left side and the other from the right. The one that swung it lefty got the scholarship offer, even though they were basically identical players. This program at the time was basically hitting 9 righties, so I can see why they targeted a left handed first baseman. Not sure if that is a cornerstone to their recruiting of the position, or just a way to fill 2 needs with 1 guy.

In the real world I think the differences are often so subtle that it does not really matter to the extent of overcoming solid hitting and possibly some superior 1B skills at fielding less than perfect throws.

 

From a technical standpoint, a lefty has a slightly better setup when holding the runner (righty has to cross his body with his left arm to get glove in position to tag) and the lefty has a better setup when throwing down to 2B if they receive a throw from the pitcher after the runner has left (can throw the ball on the "inside" whereas righty may need to step to his right so he has a clear throw to the outside).  Again minor, but helps with fielding when holding a runner on 1B - you get a little extra range on the glove side and so getting back into fielding position is generally 1-2 fewer steps).  If you have two guys that hit identical and basically field identical (very seldom happens) then the lefty might have a small advantage - think of it like a tie breaker if needed.

My son is a righty thrower, lefty hitter.  Been playing 1b for a long time.  We have yet to have had anyone make a comment that he is a right 1b.  Never at a showcase, never by a college guy.  They do like the lefty hitter, but being a righty fielder has never been mentioned.

Thanks for the replies everyone...this lady was just totally shocked when my kid ran to first, being right handed and all *gasp*...then again the other 6 kids that were there all ran to SS and had to be moved by the coaches to 3B and 2B...meanwhile 1B got twice the reps of everyone else easily.

 

I figured 1B at 13u pretty much needs to be able to scoop/pick/and track a poorly thrown ball.... righty, lefty, not sure it matters but we have run across some youth coaches who ONLY wanted lefties at 1B *shrug*  Just thought I would check, thanks again!

Originally Posted by CaCO3Girl:
I figured 1B at 13u pretty much needs to be able to scoop/pick/and track a poorly thrown ball.... righty, lefty, not sure it matters but we have run across some youth coaches who ONLY wanted lefties at 1B *shrug*  Just thought I would check, thanks again!

I have never claimed to be a baseball guy, but coaches eliminating more than half of their potential 1Bs based on left-handedness seems bizarre to me. My son has transitioned from C to 1B over the past couple of years. In his experience at the HS level, the priorities, in order, have been:

 

1a) hit for average

1b) hit for power

2) soft, sure hands

3) decision making (when to pick, block, hold the bag, knowing the park, cuts, etc.

4) footwork and quickness (not speed) on defense

5) arm strength

 

I think your son plays C, too. The first time he drops down and takes one off the chest to save a big run, his coach will be glad that he has the catcher background.

 

Originally Posted by MidAtlanticDad:
Originally Posted by CaCO3Girl:
I figured 1B at 13u pretty much needs to be able to scoop/pick/and track a poorly thrown ball.... righty, lefty, not sure it matters but we have run across some youth coaches who ONLY wanted lefties at 1B *shrug*  Just thought I would check, thanks again!

I have never claimed to be a baseball guy, but coaches eliminating more than half of their potential 1Bs based on left-handedness seems bizarre to me. My son has transitioned from C to 1B over the past couple of years. In his experience at the HS level, the priorities, in order, have been:

 

1a) hit for average

1b) hit for power

2) soft, sure hands

3) decision making (when to pick, block, hold the bag, knowing the park, cuts, etc.

4) footwork and quickness (not speed) on defense

5) arm strength

 

I think your son plays C, too. The first time he drops down and takes one off the chest to save a big run, his coach will be glad that he has the catcher background.

 

Too funny, he did that in a game last year while playing first he wound up in the middle of the infield and blocked the crazy throw from Center and I just rolled my eyes like "Did someone forget what position we were playing?", LOL!

My son is a SS....he doesn't care whether the 1B is a lefty or a righty...but he does prefer them to be 6'6     He very rarely throws anything in the dirt...when he misses, it's usually 10' in the air....lol

Do not forget the ability to pick the ball out of the dirt for throws from 3rd and SS.  I have witnessed many tryouts at first base and the coaches do not look for that skill.  I have seen way too many missed picks from high ranking teams.

I just had to look it up. I think 23 MLB first basemen have started 50 games or more this season. Of those, 15 throw right and 8 throw left.

Originally Posted by MidAtlanticDad:

I just had to look it up. I think 23 MLB first basemen have started 50 games or more this season. Of those, 15 throw right and 8 throw left.

So just over one third are lefties.

 

According to this page, which examines the lefties' natural advantages in baseball, one quarter of MLB players are lefties (vs about 10% of the population). http://www.livescience.com/266...-rigged-lefties.html

 

It seems natural that, since only 5 of the 9 positions on the field can be played by lefties, while righties can play all 9, lefties would have a higher than normal percentage at those positions they can play.   

 

In the case of the woman observed in the OP, as the parent of a youth player she probably has not been around the game all that much, and having seen every lefty on her son's teams given a tryout at first, she just figures that the position is reserved for lefties.  On a youth team with a bunch of lefties, especially slow-footed ones, that is probably true.

Last edited by JCG

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