Slash Bunting

I have seen a lot of slash bunting this year. It's interesting to me. We protect our catchers with sliding rules at home plate and don't allow base runners to run catchers over, but we still allow slash bunting. Back in my day (it was a while ago haha) slash bunting earned the player who slash bunted a baseball between the eyes in his next AB. I realize it puts the hitter at a disadvantage, but I have seen hitters slash bunt and turn on the ball. I wonder how long it will be before some INF is drilled before slash bunting is addressed. I understand the strategy, but i also understand the strategy of running that catcher over as well....just a thought

 

Original Post

Had several posts here regarding this strategy.....many say they are good with it, many don't like it at lower levels.  I agree with you that at the lower levels there are many rules in place to protect players.

 

My stance on the all out butcher boy play, I don't like it until the players are paid to play, or at least on scholarship.  

 

You will get others who are fine with the inherent risk.

Ok, I have never heard that called Slash bunting just slash.  I don't think there is anything wrong with it.  I see it used in Sac Bunt Situations when corners over crash.  I think its lame when it is used with nobody on because you have to square early,

 

Back Foot Slider you are stating that you only like it when they are getting paid to play?  So then I am supposed to let the corner infielders sit in the hitter's lap when he is trying to bunt?  You can't say it ok for the corner to crash in but the hitter can't slash.

I really think it depends on the level. I'm not a fan of the play on the smaller field. But when using BBCOR bats on the big diamond, where small ball is such a big part of the game, I differ with you, maybe just in terms of who is causing the risk. In a bunt situation, if F3 and F5 play in on the grass, and then crash all the way past the pitcher has he goes into his motion, I think the offense has to take what the defense is giving it, so they have to slash.

We had a long, occasionally heated thread on this not that long ago.  Subject wasn't just the butcher boy play, but teams that use the butcher boy multiple times throughout a game... Showing it, executing it, showing it as a fake, then squaring again and laying a bunt down, then back to it.  I haven't seen a team do this in a couple of seasons now.  I don't like it at HS level or below.  Team's shamelessly doing this repeatedly throughout a game are asking for retribution pitches, which I'm also against... in theory.

While I agree with R. Graham that it is used to keep a defense honest and i agree that it keeps infielders from crashing on the bunt play, that can also be achieved by not showing bunt prior to the pitcher getting set and showing bunt while in motion or just after the ball has been released. I was taught to show bunt during the wind up or after the release of the ball, and even in a sac situation, we didn't square up to bunt until wind up and we got bunts down on a regular basis. I have seen with regularity this season, pitcher comes set, batter squares to bunt, pitcher delivers the ball, batter pulls back to hit. I get the strategy, I just think its dangerous

 I have used it especially with my little guys in the bottom of the lineup that the corners aren't afraid of. With runners on 1st and 3rd, I like a fake bunt slash-run. The defense will be out of position and you can score a run put a runner in scoring position with little risk of a double play.

Truth is - the only thing that makes this play "dangerous" is a corner infielder defending it improperly.

 

Anyone who has been properly coached is told to "creep", not "crash" until the ball is bunted.  If you don't want a kid to get hurt then teach the game correctly - don't handcuff an offense to accommodate poor fundamentals by the defense.

Originally Posted by R.Graham:

Truth is - the only thing that makes this play "dangerous" is a corner infielder defending it improperly.

 

Anyone who has been properly coached is told to "creep", not "crash" until the ball is bunted.  If you don't want a kid to get hurt then teach the game correctly - don't handcuff an offense to accommodate poor fundamentals by the defense.

We tell our corners to crash.  In my experience, corners generally react too late on bunt attempts.

 

If we tell our corners to creep instead of crash, we're going to have tentative corners when batters square to bunt.  We need the opposite.

 

Maybe it's a regional thing.  In my neck of the woods, bunt/slash is really rare.  Not worth worrying about from the defensive standpoint.

 

 

 

 

Just got back from the Arkansas v Virginia regional final.  There were no less than a half dozen square and bunt attempts.  Corners crept to about 75 feet away (maybe 3 steps onto the grass) and froze until the pitch was delivered.

 

So as I said previously, teams that are "properly" coached do it that way.  Although I am quite sure it is improperly coached much more often and hence, this discussion.

Originally Posted by R.Graham:

Just got back from the Arkansas v Virginia regional final.  There were no less than a half dozen square and bunt attempts.  Corners crept to about 75 feet away (maybe 3 steps onto the grass) and froze until the pitch was delivered.

 

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Cal Ripken doesn't mention creep and freeze.  He wants them in motion--a "controlled charge".  Here's a screenshot from his "Get Great" segment on mlb.com

 

The first baseman is in motion, almost even with the mound--way more than 3 steps onto the grass--just at the instant of bunt contact (R2 is still frozen in his secondary lead.)

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I think you guys are oversimplifying how "easy" it is for bunt coverage....especially as it relates to HS baseball, and especially below.  You can't assume all teams are created equal, with top of the line talent at every position, again especially at HS and below.  Are there some HS conferences that all teams are top notch...you bet, but there are far more that are not.  You get a team that had 14 kids show up to HS tryout, and a "not so nimble" corner creeping, crashing, flying, call it whatever you want, and have a very good hitter, with great bat speed, square around, and then take an all out hack at the ball....I am sorry, but if you are even with the mound, which is about where you should be before he pulls back, you may not have the reaction time to catch a bullet coming back at you.  An Ichiro slash, ok - not so dangerous, but a pull back, and swing for the fence, and the only way you are stopping the ball is if you are lucky and the "ball catches your glove"....

 

Anyone who has pitched, and been buzzed by a 90MPH+ shot coming back at you, would appreciate what you are up against. 

backfoot,

Apologies for repeating myself, but around here virtually nobody bunt/slashes.  Fastpitch, yes; baseball, no.   Moreover,  in the rare event that somebody attempted it, and in the further rare event that it resulted in a missile launched at one of my corners....they're not in any more risk on that hyper-rare play than my pitcher is on every single pitch of the game.

freddy,

 

I agree pitchers are at risk every pitch, but I don't think the risk / reward, no matter how rare is worth the potential consequences on the bunt play.  Hitting a missile up the middle happens, but not many parents will be upset at the hitter if it does...BTW maybe not at all that rare...BFS Jr. left a game on a stretcher two years ago after taking one to the head from the mound.

 

I would not feel very good about it if I was the hitter, or parent of the hitter, or coach, if a kid was drawn in for the sole& intentional purpose to pull hit a line drive at a virtually defenseless infielder.  The "butcher boy" play is cut and clear as to what the intent is, to pull a line drive by the 3B or 1B.......a random ball hit up the middle at the pitcher, is just that....a random occurrence.

Originally Posted by Back foot slider:
.I would not feel very good about it if I was the hitter, or parent of the hitter, or coach, if a kid was drawn in for the sole& intentional purpose to pull hit a line drive at a virtually defenseless infielder.  The "butcher boy" play is cut and clear as to what the intent is, to pull a line drive by the 3B or 1B.......a random ball hit up the middle at the pitcher, is just that....a random occurrence.

Agree.

In the 3B box, I've never called for the bunt/slash and never will.

Originally Posted by Back foot slider:

... The "butcher boy" play is cut and clear as to what the intent is, to pull a line drive by the 3B or 1B.......a random ball hit up the middle at the pitcher, is just that....a random occurrence.

I completely disagree.  A pulled ball is not the intent on a properly taught slash.  The intent is to get the 2B to vacate early to cover 1B and slap one past him (or the cheating SS covering 2B).  

redbird - I differentiate the "slash" and "butcher boy" as entirely different plays.  Slash is what you described, and as I mentioned earlier, don't have any heartburn over that play...the "butcher boy" is / has been my experience to pull-hit a line drive past the corner...saw it several times this past HS season, in fact the coach of the defensive team, finally instructed his players to stay even with the bag for safety....so what does the offensive coach do, instructs his players to now lay bunts down the line, I guess it is a strategy, but I'm just not a fan of it......I may be the minority, but I consider them different plays.

Originally Posted by freddy77:

In this clip, the batter has squared to bunt and the 1B is crashing (not creeping) towards home plate while the pitcher is releasing the ball.

http://d3j5vwomefv46c.cloudfro...76103.gif?1378972906

 

That's what we want our bunt D to look like.

from this screen shot you can see that the firstbaseman didn't leave his position (holding the runner on) until after the pitcher released the ball.  He sprinted at that point because he is obviously holding the runner on and can't "Crash" just because the hitter shows bunt (which also can't be seen in this view).

 

So, the timing on this particular play is what I described before. 

 

Although, a better view would be one of the whole infield while a bunt is being shown early.

 

Here is a nice view from tonight's game between Oregon St and UC Irvine.  You can clearly see how the 3B crept in onto the grass area, then was in position to not over-comit on the fake bunt / slash. The hitter is standing there in the bunt stance and the 3B is standing still in a position that allows him to attack an actual bunt but also not get his face caved in the event the bunt is a fake.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...amp;feature=youtu.be

 

I am pretty sure the point of this discussion is whether or not the corner infielders should be "crashing" or "charging" aggressively PRIOR to the batter being in a committed point in the bunt - too late to pull back and swing away.  So just because someone is sprinting in doesn't mean they are "Crashing"..... especially when that doesn't occur until AFTER the pitcher has released the ball (like in this video)....or occurs late enough to still be in a properly defended position if the hitter is going to slash.... Agreed?

 

I am quite certain that we could find a thousand other clips of it being done wrong as well - that is the nature of the internet.  But trust me - this is how it was taught in professional ball as well.  As a matter of fact, as a pitcher in a national league organization we were FINED if we bunted into the wheel (or "crash" defense). 

 

I will go ahead and bow out of this conversation at this point. thank you for the back and forth - it's what makes this such a great game.

I watch plenty of baseball... and I don't see anyone slashing - much less bunting the ball well!

Only time anyone ever asked me to try it was in my senior year / legion ball...

Just not really a huge part of the game, in my opinion-and I wish great bunt defense and offense were being taught, and let nature take it's course-should anyone slash.

I used this a long time ago, we called it fake bunt and hit away, I had my players (at the varsity high school level) do this to keep their head on the baseball, I even had a played fake bunt and then hit a home run. This got him out of a bad slump!!!

 

It is a bit bush league but then again some fielders also  charge a little too aggressive at the first sign of a bunt almost going in full sprint.

I would never allow a slash in youth balls but I think at higher levels it is ok to occasionally do that to keep the fielders honest and prevent them crashing in almost before the pitch us is thrown in a bunt situation.

 

I encourage our sac bunters to square early.

So, when we attempt to sac with a runner at second, we sometimes have a first baseman in our face.

But I don't expect our players to slash bunt because they've never done it before in practice, let alone in a game vs. game-speed pitching.

IME, slash bunting exists primarily on the internet.

We would fake bunt and pull back to steal to keep the catcher honest.  It was called bush league by some coaches but it worked because their catchers could not focus.  The great part of it was when we actually bunted they had seen it so much that they never charged.  Made bunting a lot easier.  I think coaches who teach their corners to come that hard are crazy.  One day they will get a player killed or hurt bad by a slash bunt and it is real.  Players who are taught it and know how to do it are very effective.  Have to have quick hands.

I'm opposed to slashing....it seems dangerous to me. Quick qestion, if the batter squares and keeps his bat in the zone but doesn't move is it a strike?    I don't think he offered at the pitch but his bat was over the plate as the pitch went by high, but the batter also made no attempt to pull his bat back. 

I agree with POLOGREEN on the letter of the law but I also disagree.  So, if that scenario is right and they did not offer then if a coach has a hit and run on and the ball is 3 feet above batters head and they swing through at waist high to protect the runner did they offer at the pitch?  The bat staying out there could be considered an offer at the pitch according to the umpire's interpretation no different than a swing at a ball 5 feet above the bat would be considered swinging at the ball by everyone but it is really not an offer at a pitch.  I would say 90% of the time if you leave the bat out there the umpire is going to call it a strike because most will say you were just a bad bunter.

The danger part of slashing is not the offensive team it is the defensive team.  You have to teach your defense to read the batter and bail if they have to.  I faced a guy who used to coach HS softball so he would teach his first and third to come within 20 feet of home plate when the batter squared.  He would yell hold your ground.  I watched a player from another team slash and almost took the third baseman's head off with a shot.  The coach said great job of holding your ground.  His mom yelled get your +++ out of the way next time and told then lit into the coach. 

We (HS) played a team that did this both games of our series this passed week.  They would do it even w/ 2 strikes.  They bunted 8 times in the 1st game and ended up winning as our P and 3rd basemen had difficulties handling the situation we changed pitchers and got 2/3 outs so they stopped.  2nd game they were over matched by our P so they tried to get him off his rhythem by fake bunting/slashing and stepping out constantly.  Lost 8-1 w/ 12 K's.   

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