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Baseball tips – necessary adjustments in your outfield fielding position

The fielding position where the outfielders stand often changes with each at bat and can be based on a number of factors. Factors such as the batter at the plate, how the pitcher is pitching the hitter, and the game situation all play a role in outfield positioning.

How the hitter effects whether you play closer in or farther out.

The type of hitter at the plate plays a large role in how the outfielders might modify their standard fielding position.

Consider if the hitter is a power hitter or a spray hitter. If a power hitter, you might want to take several steps back from your normal outfield positioning. This will make it more likely you’ll be able to keep the baseball in front of you, giving you a better chance to field a baseball hit deep your way or into the gaps between you and another outfielder.

If the batter is a spray hitter, you’ll have to determine if he is more likely to pop a ball in front of you or hit a line drive. If a line drive hitter, you may want to maintain your normal positioning to prevent a drive into the gap. If a weaker hitter, you may want to take just a few steps in to prevent the ball from dropping in front of you just shy of your fielding range.

The hitter’s speed should also be a factor in determining your fielding position. If he’s a fast runner, you may want to play either at or slightly back from your standard position. Runners with speed are dangerous on the base paths, and any baseball that gets by you means that he’s running free around the bases. Playing back, even if he’s a spray hitter, helps to minimize this possibility.

Baseball tips   necessary adjustments in your outfield fielding position

The factors that’ll move you side to side.

There are several reasons that may have you adjust your fielding position in the lateral direction.

One is the hitter himself. Does he have the tendency to pull the ball? If yes, you may want to put the odds in your favor by moving a few steps in the direction of the hitter’s pull side.

Another reason to move sideward relates to how the pitcher is pitching the hitter. If pitching inside the probabilities are that the hitter will pull the ball. If the pitcher goes outside with his pitch, the hitter is more likely to hit the baseball back up the middle or toward the opposite field. Watch the catcher’s positioning to help you gauge what the pitcher’s intention is.

Another clue may come from the hitter himself on a pitch by pitch basis. Keep watch of the hitter’s front foot. If you notice that he is stepping toward home plate, regardless of the pitch’s location, it is likely he’s trying to hit the ball the opposite way. If he steps away from the home plate, regardless of the pitch’s location, it is probable that he’s attempting to pull the ball.

Game situations that should have you adjusting your fielding position.

There are several game situations that will have you adjusting your position. The most common game situation affecting the outfielder’s positioning is a tie ballgame in the ninth, or extra, innings, where the home team is up to bat in the bottom of the inning with a runner on third and less than two outs. If that runner scores, the home team wins the game.

If the hitter were to hit the ball over your head to score the run, or if you were to catch a deep fly ball to score the run via a sacrifice fly, there is little you could do to prevent the runner from scoring.

Because of this dire situation, it is best if your fielding position is closer to the infield. Doing so gives you a chance to charge any ball hit in front of you, or catch a shallow fly ball, and still have a chance at throwing the runner out at home.

If your team is tied or up by a run in the late innings, your coach may call upon you to play farther back than you normally would. And if you’re a left or right fielder, playing closer to the baselines is also wise.

This setup is used to prevent the other team from hitting the ball either past you or down the lines for a double or triple, getting their runner into scoring position in an effort to either tie or go ahead in the game.

Be cautious of what the elements can do to the baseball

The elements, particularly wind, can affect your fielding position in the outfield. When you’re experiencing strong winds in any direction, compensate by taking extra steps in the same direction as the wind, be it in or out, left or right. And, if attempting to field a fly ball during high winds, you may need to overcompensate your lateral movements in order to stay with the ball – as the baseball has a tendency to move far from your initial location estimate.

Balls are also prone to carrying different distances under different weather conditions. Humid days, for example, often decrease the ball’s flight capacity because the extra water in the air weighs on the ball. Whereas, dry, warm days are ideal for moon shots, as the air is lighter – meaning that there is less friction on the baseball.

The same can be said of your fielding position if playing in a high altitude region. Due to the light air, the baseball tends to carry a lot farther than when playing in a ball field nearer to sea level.

As an example, major league ballpark, Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, home of the Colorado Rockies, has resorted to placing their game baseballs in a humidor. This in response to the record homerun pace in thanks to the high altitude’s light air.

By having the balls sit in a humid room before being utilized, they found a way to avoid shrinkage (shrinkage make the ball tighter – making it fly farther) while bringing the balls back to their normal weight (which was also affected by the altitude).

The Rockies have taken great measures to minimize the effects of the high altitude. If you’re playing in a high altitude ballpark, it is unlikely your league has done the same. So, be prepared to play deep and be ready to run down the many baseballs hit over your head.