Preparing for your next baseball game takes plenty of scouting; both from a personal and team perspective. As an outfielder, it’s important to take the necessary steps with your teammates to better understand the opposing team.
Former professional outfielder Marlon Byrd provides insight on how to go about knowing your opponent in the grass. Use these baseball tips to help set up your lockdown defense before each pitch this season.
GOING AGAINST EVERY HITTER
When playing the outfield, it’s important to realize you’re not defending against one individual. Throughout the course of a game, you can expect to see each opposing player at the plate at least once.
“When you’re in the outfield and you’re going against teams, you go against every single hitter,” Byrd says.
“You’re going to know if a guy is an opposite-field hitter. You’re going to know if a guy is a pull hitter. You’re going to know if a guy likes sitting on breaking balls and pulling pitches. That’s how you’re going to set up in the outfield.”
Knowing the habits of each opposing batter can allow you to set up for better defense. Shifting your play to match a player’s hitting tendencies can help you limit baserunners and runs.
Byrd notes that pre-game warmups can be a perfect time to think through your outfield schemes. In addition, pre-game warmups can allow you to get a feel for the field itself. For example, if you know a player is a pull hitter and the outfield grass is high, you can expect to shift to their pull side and up. This starting position can help you get to ground balls quicker and defend against the favored pull side.
KNOWING YOUR PITCHER
While it helps to know your opponent, it can also be beneficial to know your pitcher’s tendencies, too. As each hitter has their own traits, so do pitchers. Byrd says to communicate with your team and understand how your hurler throws. If they typically produce flyouts, talk. Let your teammates know what they should expect for better defense. If their attack forces teams to ground out more often, set up in preparation. Knowing your pitcher can be just as effective as scouting the opposing team.
Having strong baseball communication among outfielders can be a perfect complement to your defensive game plan. Take these tips and give no ground to opposing bats this year.
It’s also vital for outfielders to have strong vocal skills to match their defensive prowess. Listen as Byrd stresses the importance of communication amongst outfielders in this extra Pro Tip.