Baseball Rundowns

1. Basic Principles

  1. Few throws as possible
  2. End at base the rundown started
  3. Fielders circle back after throw

Why circle back after the throw? If the fielders follow their throw, they are running into the base runner who is moving opposite of where the ball has been thrown. If contact is made, the runner is awarded the next base. To avoid this possibility just have the fielders circle back.

2. Where Players Go and Front and Back Man

Players Involved in Rundowns – runner picked off at First Base

  1. 1st Base—First baseman and pitcher will be at the back bag (1st base) and shortstop and second baseman will be at the front bag (2nd base)
  2. 2nd Base-Second baseman and shortstop will be at the back bag (2nd base) and pitcher and third baseman will be at the front bag (3rd base)
  3. 3rd Base—Catcher and pitcher will be at home, and the third baseman and shortstop will be at the back bag (3rd base)

3. Role of Front and Back Guy in Run Down

  1. Back side
    1. Go to ball, get feet and hips around ready to throw to next base
    2. If runner is not running to next base, run hard at runner
    3. If waiting to receive ball on back side, wait 3 feet in front of bag
  2. Front side
    1. Read runner, if runner running hard toward front base, wait for throw
    2. Read runner, if runner is moving slowly away from back base, shorten up
    3. If you are the 2nd player on the front side (pitcher going home after picking off guy at 3rd) you will always shorten up from the front side.

4. What happens when we pick off Runner at First?

Rundown between 1st Base and 2nd Base

  1. Pitcher goes to 1st and becomes 2nd player in rundown behind 1b
    1. If pitcher gets involved he needs to receive ball 3 feet in front of base
    2. If pitcher does not make tag on runner, he must run hard at runner
  2. 1st Baseman
    1. Receives ball and immediately gets feet and hips around to throw ball to next base, but must read runner
      1. If runner is running hard, throw ball
      2. If runner is moving slowly away from 1b, then run hard at runner, dumping ball to short man when short man calls
  3. Shortstop goes to 2nd base and anticipates runner running to 2nd and receiving ball from first baseman.
    1. If runner is not running hard, throw goes to 2b and the shortstop will begin to shorten the rundown up
  4. 2nd Baseman goes into baseline, ¾ of way to 2b and anticipates the runner not running hard, calls for ball from the back man and makes tag
    1. If runner is running hard to 2nd, step out of baseline and go back and be 2nd man at 2nd base.

5. What Happens when you Pick off a Runner at 2B?

Rundowns between 2nd Base and 3rd Base

  1. Shortstop or 2b receives ball and must get feet and hips around making a throw to next base, but must read runner
    1. If runner is running hard, throw ball
    2. If runner is moving slowly away from 2b, then run hard at runner, dumping ball to front man (3rd baseman) who calls for ball
  2. Other middle infielder becomes the back man and waits for ball 3 feet in front of bag
  3. 3rd Baseman reads runner
    1. If runner is running hard at 3rd base, stay just in front of bag and wait for throw
    2. If runner is moving slowly away from 2b, then begin to shorten up the rundown calling for ball
  4. Pitcher becomes the 2nd player at 3rd base. If pitcher does become involved he will shorten up the rundown from the front side.

6. Rundowns between 3rd Base and Home

  1. 3rd Baseman gets feet and hips around ready to make throw, must read runner
    1. If runner is running hard for home, make throw
    2. If runner is moving slowly away from 3rd, run hard at runner dumping ball to catcher when he calls for it
  2. Shortstop is the 2nd player at 3rd base
    1. Waits for ball 3 feet in front of 3rd base
  3. Catcher reads runner
    1. If runner running hard at home, wait for throw just in front of home plate
    2. If runner is moving slowly away from 3rd, then shorten up the rundown and call for ball
  4. Pitcher is the 2nd player at home plate
    1. If pitcher becomes involved, he must shorten up from the front side

Some Final Thoughts on Rundowns

  1. Throw darts in the rundown. Have your players practice throwing darts (short, snap throws) on the run
  2. Don’t cross the stream! The front player must always see where the back player with the ball is (which side of the baseline) and match up. Never have your partner throw across the baseline. The front player makes the adjustment
  3. Front players always need to break down just a bit when receiving ball, anticipate a less than perfect throw!
  4. Back player in rundown
    1. Get feet and hips ready to make throw
    2. If no throw, then run hard at runner
  5. Front player in rundown, read runner
    1. If runner running hard at you stay
    2. If runner moving slowly away from base shorten up and call for ball