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  • The "Wheel" Bunt Defense

    Speaking of the "wheel" in another thread, what determines whether you should call for it? The situation is runner on 2nd (or 1st and 2nd), no outs, close and late in the game, bunt situation. The "wheel" is when the 3rd baseman charges, the ss covers 3rd, the pitcher covers the 1b line, 1bman stays back, and 2bman covers 2nd. A variation would be that the 1bman charges as well, the 2bman covers 1st, and second base is left open.

    The alternative to the "wheel": p covers 3b line, 3bman covers 3rd, ss covers 2nd, second baseman covers 1st, and 1bman charges. For us, this is our standard defense.

    What determines whether you should call for one or another? Should you have both defenses as an option? Probably talking something like 14 or 15 yr old and above.
    Major Figure

  • #2
    Originally posted by omg View Post
    The alternative to the "wheel": p covers 3b line, 3bman covers 3rd, ss covers 2nd, second baseman covers 1st, and 1bman charges. For us, this is our standard defense.
    This is our standard also (10u). Not sure what situation dictates either/or, but found it's easier for the P to cover that area since most 10u players aren't exactly placing it right on the line anyway and it's difficult for the SS to beat the runner to 3rd once the ball is on the ground or in a steal situation.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by omg View Post
      Speaking of the "wheel" in another thread, what determines whether you should call for it? The situation is runner on 2nd (or 1st and 2nd), no outs, close and late in the game, bunt situation. The "wheel" is when the 3rd baseman charges, the ss covers 3rd, the pitcher covers the 1b line, 1bman stays back, and 2bman covers 2nd. A variation would be that the 1bman charges as well, the 2bman covers 1st, and second base is left open.

      The alternative to the "wheel": p covers 3b line, 3bman covers 3rd, ss covers 2nd, second baseman covers 1st, and 1bman charges. For us, this is our standard defense.

      What determines whether you should call for one or another? Should you have both defenses as an option? Probably talking something like 14 or 15 yr old and above.
      It depends how close the game is. Do you need to get the lead out or not or can you play for the out and take your chances with the runner on 3rd.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by omg View Post
        Speaking of the "wheel" in another thread, what determines whether you should call for it? The situation is runner on 2nd (or 1st and 2nd), no outs, close and late in the game, bunt situation. The "wheel" is when the 3rd baseman charges, the ss covers 3rd, the pitcher covers the 1b line, 1bman stays back, and 2bman covers 2nd. A variation would be that the 1bman charges as well, the 2bman covers 1st, and second base is left open.

        The alternative to the "wheel": p covers 3b line, 3bman covers 3rd, ss covers 2nd, second baseman covers 1st, and 1bman charges. For us, this is our standard defense.

        What determines whether you should call for one or another? Should you have both defenses as an option? Probably talking something like 14 or 15 yr old and above.
        It depends how close the game is. Do you need to get the lead out or not or can you play for the out and take your chances with the runner on 3rd.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by omg View Post
          Speaking of the "wheel" in another thread, what determines whether you should call for it? The situation is runner on 2nd (or 1st and 2nd), no outs, close and late in the game, bunt situation. The "wheel" is when the 3rd baseman charges, the ss covers 3rd, the pitcher covers the 1b line, 1bman stays back, and 2bman covers 2nd. A variation would be that the 1bman charges as well, the 2bman covers 1st, and second base is left open.

          The alternative to the "wheel": p covers 3b line, 3bman covers 3rd, ss covers 2nd, second baseman covers 1st, and 1bman charges. For us, this is our standard defense.

          What determines whether you should call for one or another? Should you have both defenses as an option? Probably talking something like 14 or 15 yr old and above.
          It depends if you need the lead out or not. Can I take my chances with one out and runner on 3rd or do I need to stop the runner from getting to 3rd.

          In the 1st scenario you mentioned with 3rd crashing and 1st staying home is a no win situation. Point being, I will only be able to get the runner at 3rd if it is a bad bunt back to the pitcher. So, in that situation you are pretty much conceding 3rd base.

          So for me, I am either getting the lead runner or not. If I have to get the lead runner, everyone is crashing.

          So, here is how I set up for each situation. For either situation my pitcher always does an inside move or "spaghetti" move to 2nd just to make sure the batter is squaring.

          If I do not need to get the lead runner. My 1st baseman crashes. 2nd baseman goes to 1st, SS covers 2nd and P has 3rd base line. Whoever fields the ball sets feet to get out at 3rd. If there is no play take the out at 1st. If we get the out at 1st we then walk the next batter to load the bases.

          If I have to get the runner at 3rd here is what I do. Like I said earlier, inside move by pitcher, SS goes to 2nd. I want to make sure the batter is bunting. Now the 1st pitch we throw will be a pitch out. On the first pitch, the 1st baseman crashes, 2nd baseman blows out to 1st base, SS blows out to 3rd, 3rd baseman crashes. Pitcher throws pitch out. I want the offense to see what we are doing. Obviously ball will not be bunted on the pitch out. Next play is, 1st baseman crashes, SS blows out to 3rd, 3rd baseman crashes, P does an inside move and 2nd baseman crashes to 2nd for possible pick. Works more then you would think. If that does not work, the next thing we do is pitch and let him bunt but this is how we cover it.

          1st baseman crashes, SS blows out to 3rd, 3rd baseman crashes, 2nd baseman jabs toward 2nd and then blows out to 1st as the P pitches. P has the middle of the field. This way I have the field covered and by showing the pick earlier I can possibly delay the runner on 2nd and have a chance to make the play at 3rd.

          Hope that wasn't to confusing.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks. I was hoping to get a few more responses. My standard is to merely have one option (3bman stays back) and to forego the multiple defenses and pickoffs, not that I haven't done the multiple defense/pickoff deal in the past. My thinking must be that the time and effort spent on the wheel/pickoffs is not worth it. A lot depends on the ability of our pitchers to play defense.

            On the other hand, when we're on offense I'm really hoping that the defense plays 3bman back/no wheel. We have good bunters and I'm confident that many pitchers can't make the play. But we'd only drag bunt not sac bunt to 3rd-this would not necessarily be in a game on the line situation but earlier in the game.

            Offensively, if we absolutely have to sac bunt in the game on the line situation I prefer to sac bunt towards first and not third. That might not be the book but I don't see amateur 1bman and pitchers being able to swoop in or spin and get an out at third.
            Major Figure

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by TexAg View Post
              This is our standard also (10u). Not sure what situation dictates either/or, but found it's easier for the P to cover that area since most 10u players aren't exactly placing it right on the line anyway and it's difficult for the SS to beat the runner to 3rd once the ball is on the ground or in a steal situation.
              If F5 stays home and F1 covers third base line in that situation I don't like my chances..because it is hard to get ANY out..you can cross it up with that play but I would not use it as a base defense.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by omg View Post
                Thanks. I was hoping to get a few more responses. My standard is to merely have one option (3bman stays back) and to forego the multiple defenses and pickoffs....My thinking must be that the time and effort spent on the wheel/pickoffs is not worth it. A lot depends on the ability of our pitchers to play defense.

                .
                Agree. The best defense against the bunt is an athletic pitcher. And the fact that batters often bunt to the pitcher. In other parts of the country RH batters perhaps are able to bunt third with a reasonable degree of reliability--to a degree that it calls for the the wheel play-- but it's not true around here. It must be a regional thing.
                Skip

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by omg View Post
                  Speaking of the "wheel" in another thread, what determines whether you should call for it? The situation is runner on 2nd (or 1st and 2nd), no outs, close and late in the game, bunt situation. The "wheel" is when the 3rd baseman charges, the ss covers 3rd, the pitcher covers the 1b line, 1bman stays back, and 2bman covers 2nd. A variation would be that the 1bman charges as well, the 2bman covers 1st, and second base is left open.

                  The alternative to the "wheel": p covers 3b line, 3bman covers 3rd, ss covers 2nd, second baseman covers 1st, and 1bman charges. For us, this is our standard defense. What determines whether you should call for one or another? Should you have both defenses as an option? Probably talking something like 14 or 15 yr old and above.
                  I like to run the bold above. However, I like to set that up with a the SS breaking in behind the runner at 2B simulating a pickoff and making the runner at 2nd break back a few steps toward the 2B bag. Naturally, you have to have a pitcher who has some range as well as a catcher who can take charge of the situation.

                  We also ran a play named after one of our rival teams. It was the crisscross pickoff play at 2B where we start the pick but don't throw. Then, the pitcher comes set again and the SS and 2B run crisscross play with SS continuing to run in front of runner and beats runner to 3B. 2B breaks hard to 2B to force the runner to hold there. 3B charges bunt and, again, catcher calls out the throw. 1B has to be athletic enough to field his position and get back to 1B in order to get an out. Pitcher has short bunt 1B side and 3B has 3B side. Hope this makes sense.
                  Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

                  I am an ex expert. I've done this long enough to know that those who think that they know it all, know nothing.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cannonball View Post
                    I like to run the bold above. However, I like to set that up with a the SS breaking in behind the runner at 2B simulating a pickoff and making the runner at 2nd break back a few steps toward the 2B bag. Naturally, you have to have a pitcher who has some range as well as a catcher who can take charge of the situation.

                    We also ran a play named after one of our rival teams. It was the crisscross pickoff play at 2B where we start the pick but don't throw. Then, the pitcher comes set again and the SS and 2B run crisscross play with SS continuing to run in front of runner and beats runner to 3B. 2B breaks hard to 2B to force the runner to hold there. 3B charges bunt and, again, catcher calls out the throw. 1B has to be athletic enough to field his position and get back to 1B in order to get an out. Pitcher has short bunt 1B side and 3B has 3B side. Hope this makes sense.
                    Is the bold the play where the SS runs around the runner at 2nd? If so, I teach my runners, as soon as the SS is between the runner and 3rd to take off towards 3rd and run into the SS. It then becomes obstruction on the SS and my runner gets 3rd.

                    Know that all my answers are for HS play.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by omg View Post
                      Thanks. I was hoping to get a few more responses. My standard is to merely have one option (3bman stays back) and to forego the multiple defenses and pickoffs, not that I haven't done the multiple defense/pickoff deal in the past. My thinking must be that the time and effort spent on the wheel/pickoffs is not worth it. A lot depends on the ability of our pitchers to play defense.

                      On the other hand, when we're on offense I'm really hoping that the defense plays 3bman back/no wheel. We have good bunters and I'm confident that many pitchers can't make the play. But we'd only drag bunt not sac bunt to 3rd-this would not necessarily be in a game on the line situation but earlier in the game.

                      Offensively, if we absolutely have to sac bunt in the game on the line situation I prefer to sac bunt towards first and not third. That might not be the book but I don't see amateur 1bman and pitchers being able to swoop in or spin and get an out at third.
                      I understand that it can get complicated but IMO, you can't always be in your base bunt defense and get the lead runner. Another option to running the pick play, if the lead runner is a must get, is to concede 1st base. This is how it works, 2nd baseman breaks to 2nd with hand out as to be calling for a quick pick. When 2nd breaks, P pitches. 1st baseman crashes, 3rd baseman crashes, P crashes, SS breaks to 3rd. The idea is, when the base coach sees the 2nd baseman break to 2nd with his hand out he will yell back. Runner on 2nd will break back to the bag. The pitch gets thrown and batter bunts giving the defense a better opportunity to get the lead runner because of his late break to 3rd.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by HYP View Post
                        I understand that it can get complicated but IMO, you can't always be in your base bunt defense and get the lead runner. Another option to running the pick play, if the lead runner is a must get, is to concede 1st base. This is how it works, 2nd baseman breaks to 2nd with hand out as to be calling for a quick pick. When 2nd breaks, P pitches. 1st baseman crashes, 3rd baseman crashes, P crashes, SS breaks to 3rd. The idea is, when the base coach sees the 2nd baseman break to 2nd with his hand out he will yell back. Runner on 2nd will break back to the bag. The pitch gets thrown and batter bunts giving the defense a better opportunity to get the lead runner because of his late break to 3rd.
                        I like that. Go to 3rd pretty much no matter what, right? More likely in a 1st and 2nd situation and not just 2nd, right?
                        Major Figure

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by HYP View Post
                          Is the bold the play where the SS runs around the runner at 2nd? If so, I teach my runners, as soon as the SS is between the runner and 3rd to take off towards 3rd and run into the SS. It then becomes obstruction on the SS and my runner gets 3rd.

                          Know that all my answers are for HS play.
                          Yes, it is that play. However, we are running on the area next to the grass line. That should be out of the baseline. The reason for this is that we know there is a potential for contact and we might really run the pick to 2B covering.
                          Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

                          I am an ex expert. I've done this long enough to know that those who think that they know it all, know nothing.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by omg View Post
                            I like that. Go to 3rd pretty much no matter what, right? More likely in a 1st and 2nd situation and not just 2nd, right?
                            Yes, 3rd no matter what.

                            Yes, generally a 1st and 2nd situation. If runner is just on 2nd and doesn't go to 3rd, even if you do not get the out at 1st, because no one is covering, you are now in a double play situation and the offensive team will probably try to bunt again. Then you can run the same play but this time do the quick pick. You may catch the runner cheating because the coach will be less likely to yell back this time knowing what he has already seen.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by omg View Post
                              Speaking of the "wheel" in another thread, what determines whether you should call for it? The situation is runner on 2nd (or 1st and 2nd), no outs, close and late in the game, bunt situation. The "wheel" is when the 3rd baseman charges, the ss covers 3rd, the pitcher covers the 1b line, 1bman stays back, and 2bman covers 2nd. A variation would be that the 1bman charges as well, the 2bman covers 1st, and second base is left open.

                              The alternative to the "wheel": p covers 3b line, 3bman covers 3rd, ss covers 2nd, second baseman covers 1st, and 1bman charges. For us, this is our standard defense.

                              What determines whether you should call for one or another? Should you have both defenses as an option? Probably talking something like 14 or 15 yr old and above.
                              Wheel defense is simple. You are looking to get the lead runner. The way you get the lead runner is to have the ball bunted right at someone.

                              So... You've got the wheel wrong in your scenario. 1b, P, and 3b crash so the ball is bunted right at someone. Middle infielders cover the corner bases. The out is at 3rd to get the lead runner, but there is always an out at first if need be.

                              Problem is the field is wide open at that point, and in youth baseball the first thing a coach does is put the slash on if he sees it.

                              You are better off with a regular bunt defense where your 3b reads the bunt, and stays home if the pitcher can get to it and there is a chance of getting the lead runner.

                              Comment

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