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The "Wheel" Bunt Defense

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  • #16
    In youth 50/70, the 2b and SS are moving in out doing their best to hold the runner as close to second as possible. In a situation with 1st and 2nd or just 2nd, what are your on the 2nd baseman. If 3rd holds at 3rd, and 1st crashes, you are asking the 2nd baseman to sprint from holding that runner, 70 ft to cover the bag at first. If you don't hold, they steal easily. Thoughts? Maybe use the SS to hold? But that opens up the left side?

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    • #17
      "What determines whether you should call for one or another?"

      I did not call it, the situation called it. Depends on which way the bunt went. If the bunt was down the 3b line the infield rotated that way and if it was down the 1b line the infield rotated that way. All I did was call out that this was a bunt situation. Otherwise, you are guessing where the bunt will go.

      F5 reminds F1 to field a bunt down the 3B line. The pitcher jams the batter.
      Last edited by daque; 03-09-2013, 09:24 PM.

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      • #18
        .................................
        Last edited by skipper5; 03-10-2013, 09:03 AM.
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        • #19
          Originally posted by daque View Post
          "What determines whether you should call for one or another?"

          I did not call it, the situation called it. Depends on which way the bunt went. ..... All I did was call out that this was a bunt situation. ....

          F5 reminds F1 to field a bunt down the 3B line. The pitcher jams the batter.
          What age-level was this?
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          • #20
            Originally posted by jbruno6 View Post
            In youth 50/70, the 2b and SS are moving in out doing their best to hold the runner as close to second as possible. In a situation with 1st and 2nd or just 2nd, what are your on the 2nd baseman. If 3rd holds at 3rd, and 1st crashes, you are asking the 2nd baseman to sprint from holding that runner, 70 ft to cover the bag at first. If you don't hold, they steal easily. Thoughts? Maybe use the SS to hold? But that opens up the left side?
            Not the wheel play what you describe. For what you describe, 2bman at that level should probably relinquish his holding duties and make sure he is close enough to first so he can get there. You can do it fancier but that should be enough for a basic defense. Make sure the pitcher gets 3b line.
            Major Figure

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            • #21
              Originally posted by jbruno6 View Post
              In youth 50/70, the 2b and SS are moving in out doing their best to hold the runner as close to second as possible. In a situation with 1st and 2nd or just 2nd, what are your on the 2nd baseman. If 3rd holds at 3rd, and 1st crashes, you are asking the 2nd baseman to sprint from holding that runner, 70 ft to cover the bag at first. If you don't hold, they steal easily. Thoughts? Maybe use the SS to hold? But that opens up the left side?
              Your middle infielders need to be back in position by the time the pitcher throws to the plate. You are far better off having the pitchers holding the runners by varying their looks, and their time from coming set to pitching. At 50/70 there shouldn't be too many steals of 3rd anymore if your team has a halfway decent catcher and your pitchers can hold a runner. You've got to spend practice time on it though.

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              • #22
                This is a fascinating thread.
                But, any new coaches reading this board should know that the wheel play is very rarely run.
                One reason being that most batters are right-handed, very few of whom can pull (drag) a bunt towards 3B.
                A much more likely scenario is that it's bunted back to the pitcher, who has a much better chance at the lead runner when he's throwing to a 3B who held his position than when he's throwing to a SS sprinting to third to cover it.
                Last edited by skipper5; 03-10-2013, 10:41 AM.
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                • #23
                  Originally posted by skipper5 View Post
                  This is a fascinating thread.
                  But, any new coaches reading this board should know that the wheel play is very rarely run.
                  One reason being that most batters are right-handed, very few of whom can pull (drag) a bunt towards 3B. A much more likely scenario is that it's bunted back to the pitcher, who has a much better chance at the lead runner when he's throwing to a 3B who held his position than when he's throwing to a SS sprinting to third to cover it.
                  Then there are always those pesky lefties and players instructed on how to bunt.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by daque View Post
                    Then there are always those pesky lefties and players instructed on how to bunt.
                    R2/no-outs

                    With LHB's, the odds increase that the 3B coach will eschew the bunt in hopes that the ball will be pulled to the right side.
                    I concede, however, if I were inclined to run the wheel play, I'd most likely run it vs. LHBs (weak-looking "pesky" lefties)--who might push bunt.

                    With RHB's, regardless of instruction or bunting ability, it's almost always easier and more reliable to push bunt than drag.
                    Most coaches play the odds by having their RHB batters push sac bunts.
                    Last edited by skipper5; 03-10-2013, 01:06 PM.
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                    • #25
                      I see a lot of coaches in youth baseball who are playing strategies more complex than the skill level of the players. I'm sure I've been guilty of it myself at times. It all depends on what you can execute WITH THE HIGHEST DEGREE OF CONSISTENCY.

                      For 10U (5 run limit per inning for us), an out is almost like scoring a run defensively. With the only exception being the winning run in scoring position, I'm having my team play to get an out. For us, that means F3 stays home (he's playing first because he's one of the best players at catching a thrown ball.). I've never had an F4 that was as good a receiver at the 1B bag as my F3, so I don't give that up. F1 fields most bunts for us. He's typically one of the best athletes anyway. We work a lot on F2 getting to as many bunts as he can (also usually one of he better athletes.)

                      My philosophy has evolved to: "If the offense is willing to give me an out, I want to play it to the highest percentage spot (which is a throw to F3 @ 1B.)"

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                      • #26
                        "If the offense is willing to give me an out, I want to play it to the highest percentage spot (which is a throw to F3 @ 1B.)"

                        I prefer to take the out at the closest player to home when I can. Granted, execution by the offense is a big factor.

                        You have a point on the quality of the team you are discussing. And it isn't related to age of the players. It is an entirely different perspective if you are coaching basket cases or travel studs.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by soceric View Post
                          Your middle infielders need to be back in position by the time the pitcher throws to the plate. You are far better off having the pitchers holding the runners by varying their looks, and their time from coming set to pitching. At 50/70 there shouldn't be too many steals of 3rd anymore if your team has a halfway decent catcher and your pitchers can hold a runner. You've got to spend practice time on it though.
                          But at 11u 50/70, once the 2nd relinquishes his hold the runner can expand and steal that 3rd base bag. Now the bunt isn't needed. We helped them. Was wondering if you felt the shortstop should be the one holding the runner at 2b, even with the righty hitter up. Any more thoughts on having both corners holding and not charging with runners on? Is that off the wall?

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by jbruno6 View Post
                            But at 11u 50/70, once the 2nd relinquishes his hold the runner can expand and steal that 3rd base bag. Now the bunt isn't needed. We helped them. Was wondering if you felt the shortstop should be the one holding the runner at 2b, even with the righty hitter up. Any more thoughts on having both corners holding and not charging with runners on? Is that off the wall?
                            Look, there is a lot of stuff involved which is why bunting is so effective. If it's a bunt situation then you cue your fielders into this in advance so that they are ready. Yes, the ss may end up "holding" the runner on 2nd and, yes, he may be giving up his hole somewhat. That's part of the cat and mouse involved. Not even at mlb level do they always get it right. If the fielders are not cued in to there being a possible bunt bunt then the reality is that both corners may actually be "holding" and the pitcher has to get everything. So everything has to be practiced. You have to especially watch for the clueless first baseman charging needlessly on a bunt to 3rd or p and then nobody is covering first. Really, at your level a good bunt may be hard to defend. You might be better off intentionally having your corners hold and just work with your pitchers like crazy to pounce on all bunts rather than having a bunch of guys running around.
                            Major Figure

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by omg View Post
                              You might be better off intentionally having your corners hold and just work with your pitchers like crazy to pounce on all bunts rather than having a bunch of guys running around.
                              Agree that it's best not to have a bunch of guys running around.
                              So do most HS coaches, the proof being that the wheel is rare.
                              But IMO you don't have to work with pitchers to pounce on bunts.
                              If they have a pulse, they pounce.
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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by skipper5 View Post
                                This is a fascinating thread.
                                But, any new coaches reading this board should know that the wheel play is very rarely run.
                                One reason being that most batters are right-handed, very few of whom can pull (drag) a bunt towards 3B.
                                A much more likely scenario is that it's bunted back to the pitcher, who has a much better chance at the lead runner when he's throwing to a 3B who held his position than when he's throwing to a SS sprinting to third to cover it.
                                I'm curious Skip, why would you want the bunt pushed down the third baseline in the first place....especially with a "wheel" defense?

                                Push along 1B line guarantees longer throw, that most times isn't even attempted, and the sac works as planned.

                                BTW, have any of you guys ever had F4 up on the grass and covering the 1B line? Works surprisingly well in this and numerous other bunt situations...
                                In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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