Standard Bunt Defense

Situation:  There is a Man on 1b and hitter shows bunt

Bunt defenses are a very important part of the game, especially the lower levels of the game.  (If you would like help visualizing and following the bunt defense videos, download this field chart:  Bunt Defense Field Chart)

When defending the bunt using what is called ‘Standard Bunt Defense’ an out is the goal. Practicing these bunt defenses on a regular basis will give your team the confidence they need to handle these situations well.

  • 1B – the player is holding the runner on and waits to leave the base  until the pitcher goes home with the ball.   He will then charge and unless the ball is bunted very hard will probably make a throw to first base for the out.
  • 2B – the second baseman has started the play cheating a little toward first base. When the runner shows bunt he can begin moving in towards home plate, but should not break to first base until after the ball is bunted. If the runner goes to first base when the hitter shows bunt, a fake bunt and slash could be used. When the 2b gets to first base, have him play first base by having his right foot on the bag playing like a first baseman. If he does not have time, then he can use his left foot as the base foot. (Using the left foot does limit the mobility of the player and the result is not being able to handle the poor throw.)
  • SS – The shortstop has started the play cheating a bit to second base. When the hitter shows bunt he can move in towards home a bit and when the ball is down he covers second base. He is there for the force out as well as to keep the runner honest if the bunted ball is fielded and thrown to first base.
  • 3B – Standard Bunt Defense has the third baseman cheat in to start the play, and when the hitter shows bunt, he can begin to charge. Depending on how quickly he is able to get the ball is where 3B should throw it.  If it is a quick one hop to him then he can throw to second for the force out.  However, most of the time in standard bunt defense 3B will end up throwing to first for the sure out.
  • C – It is the catcher’s job to be the field marshal.  He is to tell the other players where to throw the ball, and then cover third base (to prevent the runner from first from getting 2 bases).
  • P – After the throw is made it is the pitchers job to cover home plate.  If the ball is not fielded by the third baseman, and the 3B is able to get back to his bag, then the pitcher needs to hustle to back up third base.

Assuming the  ball is bunted, the leftfielder will break over and be in a line from first base through third base at the fence line. The center fielder should be in a line from where ball is fielder through second base. The right fielder should be in a line from where ball was fielded through first base.

New Situation: Man in 2b and hitter shows bunt

The 1b would be cheating in front of the base and when hitter shows bunt he charges to the plate. If the ball is bunted hard he can check to see about the play at third base. Only if he knows for sure should this play be taken. Otherwise make the play at 1b.

The second baseman can cheat a bit toward first base before the pitch, and when the hitter shows bunt, he can take a few short steps in, but he can not break to first base until the ball is bunted.

The shortstop should keep the runner honest at 2b before the pitch. He will cover second base on this play. I have seen the shortstop cover third base when the ball is bunted to the 3b. This does keep the runner rounding 3rd honest. However, if the batter runner is safe at first base, then no one is on second. This could give the offense an extra base and a big letdown for the defense. Also, if the bunt is in the air and the runner from second base heads to third base, we need to have the ss at 2b so we can throw behind the runner.

The third baseman starts the play 6feet off the bag and 6 feet in front of the bag. If the hitter shows bunt, the third baseman must wait and see the location of the bunt. If bunted at the pitcher or first baseman, the third baseman will cover 3b. If the ball is bunted halfway between pitcher and third base line the third baseman will charge and make play at first base. If the third baseman does make the play, the pitcher should hustle over to 3b and keep the runner honest as he rounds third base. The catcher should call the play for the fielders.

Assuming the ball was bunted, the left fielder must be in a line from where the ball was fielded through third base. The center fielder should be in a line from where the ball was fielded through second base and the right fielder should be in a line from where the ball was fielded through first base.

Note—any time a fielder is charging on a bunt he does need to break down a bit. Also, if a bunt is hard right at the fielder, the fielder should always take a look at the forward play. If he has the out there take it, if not, he has lots of time to get the bunter at first base.

When Should You Run A Standard Bunt Defense?

Standard bunt defense is the bunt defense that your team should default to.  You run it when you getting an out is more valuable to your team than preventing a runner from advancing a base.  Situations where this is beneficial would be early in a game, when you are winning a game.  You probably will want to use other bunt defenses when the game is on the line, and the other team is trying to advance the tying or go ahead run.

This sums up how to run a Standard Bunt Defense.