If i have a steal sign on, is it ok to have the hitter take the pitch in order to execute the steal?
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Jeff asked: If I have a steal sign on, is it ok to have the hitter take the pitch in order to execute the steal?
Rick answered: Jeff, thank you for your question.
There is nothing wrong with giving your hitter the take sign, when you have a steal going.
Depending on how important the stolen base is, and the count on the batter, there are some options which may provide a little protection for the runner.
If there are no strikes on the batter, you can have him purposely swing and miss. They are giving up a strike; but the swing keeps the catcher back a little longer, gives your runner a little help.
You can also put on a fake bunt and take, where the hitter sets up to bunt, as the pitch comes in he draws the bat back to take the pitch. The hitters action holds the catcher back a little, again providing some assistance for the runner.
With a straight take, the catcher has no other concerns than catching and releasing his throw. He should have an easier time with no distractions.
All are viable ways to go, or you can just let it play out. As players get older, they do a better job of reading the jump their runner has, so they don't swing when it looks like the runner has a good jump. That all takes time and experience in the game.
Yours in baseball,