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What each position requires


A pitcher must have control. Given control they should be able to throw fast. Given the above they should have a slow pitch too.


The catcher must be able to catch the ball. They must be quick to the screen. They should have a strong, accurate throw. It helps if they are strong.


The shortstop must be good at fielding ground balls. They must have an accurate throw to first. They should have a strong throw. They should be fast. It helps if they are one of the teams leaders.

Second Baseman

The second baseman must be good at fielding ground balls. They should charge slow grounders aggressively.

First Baseman

The first baseman must be able to catch hard throws. They should be willing to get in front of hard grounders. It helps if they are tall and left handed.

Center Fielder

The center fielder must be able to catch fly balls. The center fielder must be fast. They should have a strong throw. They must be willing to run a lot even when they do not touch the ball for a long time.

Third Baseman

The third baseman must be able to field slow grounders and throw quickly and strongly to first. They must be able to catch hard throws and line drives. They should be willing to get in front of a hard grounder.

Right Fielder

The right fielder must have a strong throw. They should be able to catch fly balls. It helps if they are fast.

Left Fielder

It would be nice if the left fielder could catch the ball and throw it.

Priorities in Placing Fielders


The player positions above are listed in order of importance to the team’s defense. You will have several players pitch so we will ignore that position. Have your best catcher catch when not pitching. You truely have a wealth of talent if your catcher does not need to pitch. You will need to have at least three players who are able to catch and whom you have trained in how to catch properly.

Once you have selected your catcher you can pick your shortstop. This is the position everybody wants to play when they are not pitching. Most of the player’s fathers are sure their son is your team’s best shortstop. You may even be coaching so your son can play shortstop. After a couple of practices the players on your team will know who the best shortstop is. If that player is not made your shortstop the players will lose respect for you. They will also be laughing at your son if you make him shortstop instead. If you make your son shortstop you had better be sure he is obviously the best shortstop.

Next comes the second baseman. There will usually be more grounders to second than short. Your two best fielders of ground balls should be playing short and second. The one with the better throw (the ball gets to first base soonest) should be shortstop and the other second. Note that the stronger thrower may be slow at getting rid if the ball and thus get their throw to first later. To test this, have them stand side by side each with the ball at their feet and upon your clapping your hands (you are behind them so they can’t see when you are about to clap) they pick up the ball and throw it to their first baseman (standing on the first base line). If one of them consistently gets the ball there first, they have the better throw. If the throw is not accurate their first baseman must move to catch the ball and then get back. The time of the throw does not end until they get back.

Note that I have not said they must be right handed. I have seen several teams, one an outstanding all-star team, whose best shortstop was left handed. Also, though catcher’s mits for left handed players are hard to get, a left handed catcher has several advantages. Place your players according to how well they perform the baseball skills, not according to anything else.

Your first baseman is selected next. If two players are about equal as first basemen and one is significantly faster than the other, use the fast one in center field. If the difference between them is that one is tall, use that one at first base. If one has a much stronger throw than the other, use that one in center field.

Now, of the players that remain, select your two worst players for left fielders. They can alternate there (if your leagues substitution rules allow that) switching each inning. Take your next weakest fielders for right field. What you have remaining will be playing third and backup center fielder.

All your better players (at least 6, probably 8 or more) should be trained at more than one defensive position besides pitcher. Your best pitcher is probably one of your better players at the other positions also. On many teams the three best pitchers are shortstop or catcher when not pitching. You do not want to find yourself in a position where your shortstop has no trained substitute to play there while the shortstop is pitching. Thus, you need to train at least three players at each of the infield positions and two in center field.

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