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Thread: correct way to steal against lefty

  1. #1

    correct way to steal against lefty

    Against a righty it's easy you go when he lifts his front foot. But how against a lefty? (steal second)

    Do you have to go on first move? This works of course but it is a pure gamble. How are you teaching it?
    I think walks are overrated unless you can run. If you get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps, but the guy who walks and cant run, most of the time hes clogging up the bases for somebody who can run. Dusty Baker.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    Against a righty it's easy you go when he lifts his front foot. But how against a lefty? (steal second)

    Do you have to go on first move? This works of course but it is a pure gamble. How are you teaching it?
    It depends on what he typically does with a runner at first.

    You DO NOT go on first move if the LHP demonstrates the tendency and ability to lift his leg (more or less come to a balance point) and read the intentions of the baserunners. That is, his technique and multi-task ability allows him to decide on the fly--throwover or throw a pitch. These guys are relatively uncommon. The best way to steal on these guys: On pitches prior to getting the steal sign, reassure him/charm-the-snake: 1. take the largest primary lead that you can without drawing attention to yourself (a possum lead); 2. in your primary lead, lean back towards first until he commits to the plate. Once you've gotten the steal sign: Repeat # 1 and 2, but break towards second as his leg reaches (or approaches--we're talking milliseconds here) the top of its lift. By then he has mentally committed himself. From the top of leg-lift, it usually takes these types of pitchers at least another 1.5 secs (sometimes much more) to get the ball to the catcher's mitt, which is plenty of time for the basestealer.

    The LHPs I've described are ones that lift their leg relatively slowly. Leg-lifting LHPs who lift their leg quickly are typically unable to read and decide on the fly.

    Apologies for verbosity and mixed animal metaphors (snake, possum)
    Last edited by skipper5; 04-17-2012 at 09:40 AM.
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  3. #3
    Stealing on LHPs who are leg-lifters, but lift their leg fast and therefore usually have to make up their minds ahead of time if they're going to throwover, or throw a pitch:

    On pitches prior to the pitch you're stealing on, put them to sleep with #1 and 2.
    On the stealing pitch, lean back towards first when he's in the set position, and go on first move.
    Compared to the slow-lifting read-on-the-fly LHPs, the quick lifters typically get the ball to first quicker when they're throwing over.

    Stealing on LHPs who mostly slide-step. First move.

    Stealing on LHPs who vary their routine--slow leg-lift/read-on-the-fly on some pitches, slide step on others: Good luck. Best to wait until you think he's throwing a curveball, which means he may be thinking more about the pitch than a throwover, and is less likely to slide-step ( more likely to do his leg-lift). Do steps 1 and 2 and go at top of leg-lift.

    Charm the snake. Pretend to be dead like a possum. Then run like a deer.
    Last edited by skipper5; 04-17-2012 at 09:40 AM.
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  4. #4
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    When the runner can see space between the lefty's leg he has to go home or it's a balk. HOWEVER, many lefty's have become good at cheating when there are only two umpires. There won't be an umpire at first looking for the balk.

    I've found lefties to be worse at holding runners than righties. Many lefties take runners for granted because they're facing them and the runner is afraid of getting picked off. The runner has to study the lefty all game looking for cues to read.

    Base runners should also study righties for cues. Some pitchers are terrible at holding runners. The runner can get a huge jump.

  5. #5
    You watch what he does when he goes home versus what he does when he goes to first and try to figure it out. Often it is the head: looks home when throwing to 1st and looks to 1st when throwing it home.

    If you can't figure it out you have to go on first move. i suggest a shorter rather than a longer lead to increase the likelihood of him throwing home. pretty good chance of beating the 1bman's throw to 2nd anyways, typically.

    For these so-called leg-lifters, ie those lhp's who wait until their leg gets to the top before they make their decision, I suggest the runner fakes with their hands or take a step towards second as the pitcher lifts their leg then get back towards 1st. That will cause some of the craziest balks you've seen and put an end to the leg lift nonsense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by omg View Post
    You watch what he does when he goes home versus what he does when he goes to first and try to figure it out. Often it is the head: looks home when throwing to 1st and looks to 1st when throwing it home.

    If you can't figure it out you have to go on first move. i suggest a shorter rather than a longer lead to increase the likelihood of him throwing home. pretty good chance of beating the 1bman's throw to 2nd anyways, typically.

    For these so-called leg-lifters, ie those lhp's who wait until their leg gets to the top before they make their decision, I suggest the runner fakes with their hands or take a step towards second as the pitcher lifts their leg then get back towards 1st. That will cause some of the craziest balks you've seen and put an end to the leg lift nonsense.
    Yes, I was going to suggest fake steals to throw him off his game.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by omg View Post
    For these so-called leg-lifters, ie those lhp's who wait until their leg gets to the top before they make their decision, I suggest the runner fakes with their hands or take a step towards second as the pitcher lifts their leg then get back towards 1st. That will cause some of the craziest balks you've seen and put an end to the leg lift nonsense.
    I've never seen this cause a balk.
    But you have? A lot?
    If your team has a pitcher of this type, do you modify him (because it's nonsense)?
    Last edited by skipper5; 04-17-2012 at 08:13 PM.
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    Having been a LHP, and talking with many others.....I have come to the conclusion that most (if not all) LHP already know if they are going to make a pick off (PO) attempt or throw to the plate before they lift their leg.

    Sure, we'll all do that little "pause", just cuz we can, and have learned that it freaks runners out and holds them close.

    Here's the other little "tell" that most have.....if they look at the runner, then turn to look at the plate, then lift their leg (whole still looking at home), 9 times out of 10, they're coming to first for the PO attempt.

    However, if he looks at the runner, then start his head to the plate and begins to lift his leg simultaneously (one fluid-like movement), or more commonly, is looking at the runner as he's lifting his leg, 9 times out of 10 he's throwing home. Also, watch how fast he lifts his leg when he's going to the plate, versus how fast he lifts it when he makes a PO move. There is usually a "rhythm" difference in their two moves, that under close inspection, most times you can pick up a "read" on that.

    So if you can get his rhythm and look for those "tells", you'll find that it does get pretty easy (relatively speaking), to know which "first move" to react to and steal on.

    There's also one other key thing to reading a LHP's move that they all do, but sorry, that's my little "ace in the hole", cuz you never know who's reading here.....and I have a "southpaw" pitcher on the team this year who's picked off quite a few this season, and I'd like for him continue to do so.
    Last edited by mudvnine; 04-18-2012 at 12:32 AM.
    In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by mudvnine View Post
    Having been a LHP, and talking with many others.....I have come to the conclusion that most (if not all) LHP already know if they are going to make a pick off (PO) attempt or throw to the plate before they lift their leg.

    Sure, we'll all do that little "pause", just cuz we can, and have learned that it freaks runners out and holds them close.
    Mud,
    First, I agree that most LHP already know what they're going to do.
    I disagree with "if not all."
    In my experience, a lot of the slow-lift-then pause guys read and react.

    Perhaps the LHPs you talked to were fast-leg-lifters/slide-steppers, which are in the majority.

    My viewpoint is based on the fact that over the years as a 3B coach I've noted a disproportionate no. of throwovers when my R1's got hair-trigger jumps on slow-leg-lifters, despite having set up the steal with short leads, etc.

    I concede, this could be the vagaries of my personal experience.
    Last edited by skipper5; 04-18-2012 at 02:23 AM.
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by skipper5 View Post
    I've never seen this cause a balk.
    But you have? A lot?
    If your team has a pitcher of this type, do you modify him (because it's nonsense)?
    Yes, a lot. It throws them off big time. It's a good strategy.

    I would never teach an lhp to make their decision at the top of the leg lift. I always teach to plan to pick in advance of the pitch. I don't want my pitcher coming to the set and wondering whether he is going to throw home or to first. Of course if the guy has a ridiculous lead that changes.

  11. #11
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    So for a righty, the point of no return is when he lifts his front foot? Then this is the earliest cue to key on for when to go?

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    I was taught to hang my leg right on the imaginary line to first. Runners had no idea which way I was going. Even though I wasn't quick to first I caught a lot of runners leaning or breaking the wrong way.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by skipper5 View Post
    Mud,
    First, I agree that most LHP already know what they're going to do.
    I disagree with "if not all."
    In my experience, a lot of the slow-lift-then pause guys read and react.
    Yes, but in most cases, if their internal rhythm is thrown off (ie. from the set position they had already decided to throw home, and now have to go to 1st), many times you see the balks that "omg" is speaking of, or a wild throw PO attempt.

    Remember, all pitchers have to, at some time in their delivery, refocus on throwing the pitch.....if we can upset that focus, and as a result, their rhythm, then we're increasing our chances at both the plate and on the base paths.

    Perhaps the LHPs you talked to were fast-leg-lifters/slide-steppers, which are in the majority.
    They're just another category that LHPs fall into. Very few at the pre-college level are advanced enough to have all of the potential moves in their arsenal. The slight few that do, are VERY tough to read, and as such, steal against. Kudos to them, and a "tip of the hat".

    My viewpoint is based on the fact that over the years as a 3B coach I've noted a disproportionate no. of throwovers when my R1's got hair-trigger jumps on slow-leg-lifters, despite having set up the steal with short leads, etc.

    I concede, this could be the vagaries of my personal experience.
    But have you noted where they were looking when they started their lift?

    Most young LHPs will be looking at home if they are going to throw to 1st....if they're looking at 1st as they lift their leg, in their mind, they've already decided to throw to the plate. If that's the case, that "first move" is when they turn their head to the plate from the pause.....and you read the "ace in the hole".

    Guys, nothing is foolproof or 100% successful. What we are trying (or should be trying) is to tip the odds in our favor. IMO, if we're not working on getting "reads" or "tells" from the LHP, many of which are common in a LOT of them, than we're letting him command our running game, and that's not something that sits with me well.

    Again, JMO and from what has been very successful for us. I know it's not for everyone, and that's just fine by me; I like my lefties having an advantage, and the other teams on their heels just because they're LHPers.....whether they have a good move to 1st or not.


    mud -
    Last edited by mudvnine; 04-18-2012 at 10:49 AM.
    In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by tg643 View Post
    I was taught to hang my leg right on the imaginary line to first. Runners had no idea which way I was going. Even though I wasn't quick to first I caught a lot of runners leaning or breaking the wrong way.
    Tg,
    Did you decide ahead of time?
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  15. #15
    But have you noted where they were looking when they started their lift? Most young LHPs will be looking at home if they are going to throw to 1st....if they're looking at 1st as they lift their leg, in their mind, they've already decided to throw to the plate. If that's the case, that "first move" is when they turn their head to the plate from the pause.....and you read the "ace in the hole".

    Yes, I have noted this. But perhaps because I myself am somewhat dsylexic or cross-wired, I don't trust my baserunners to make this read.

    I appreciate your well thought-out response. Much food for thought.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by skipper5 View Post
    Tg,
    Did you decide ahead of time?
    It was predetermined 75% of the time. I didn't have a good move to first. I threw over to take away a step if I thought a runner was "out there." Sometimes I caught them leaning. I never really dealt with many baserunners until college. If there was WHIP in high school mine was way under 1.00. My ERA was around 1.00. In college I was a reliever the first two years constantly dealing with baserunners. The technique wasn't as effective in college. The good baserunners were too smart.

  17. #17
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    As a LHP with a very good Pickoff (err, balk) move, I would say that I would decide as I was raising my leg. Once my leg moved downward, I had already decided. Don;t get me wrong, I still stepped 65 to 75 % toward home when throwing to 1B.

    However, if you took off on 1st move, I could easily just throw to 1st. The problem would be very fast runners that could beat the rundown to 2nd. Those guys just piss me off.

    My advice for a LHP with a good move is just to take off as the knee nears it's highest point. Furthermore, the pitcher will be thinking "How did that SOB read my move?"

    As for the "look home, throw to first" or "look a runner, he's going home" thing ... I used to do the horrible (look to home, throw to first with a deliberate step with toes pointed to sky" as my "set you up" move. I'd do that, throw a pitch, and then come with the good one, and you'd jog back to the dugout thinking how stupid you must have looked. To be fair, you would have probably gotten revenge on me later as I hung a deuce. So, don't sweat it.

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