The Ole Ball Game

Is the Fake Bunt OK to use...with every single batter?

by scott
(Wilmington, De)

Scott asked: I have a child in Little League Baseball, Minor A's 8-12 yr old. One of the Teams he played, had the best record. Then at about the halfway point this winning team started to "Fake Bunt" every one of their batters, for pretty much every single at bat in every inning, in every situation, no runners on, runners on, bases loaded.

Now I understand there is a need to have your batters bunt or even "Fake Bunt" like your link states. But is it fair to the players in the field or even the batters doing the bunting, to do this the entire game or at least 95% of their at bats? There are some youth baseball Leagues who have rule against a fake bunt, for the safety of the fielding players. Most of the batter doing this would show bunt before the pitcher would wind up, then the defense would charge, at which point the batter would pull back and take a full swing. Luckily no child was hurt this season being hit by the ball in which this happened.

I have had heard several coaches and parents complain feeling it is unfair and unsafe to do this for every batter they faced, and even some of that teams parents felt their child wasn't being able to bat. This of course worked against all of the facing pitcher distracting them , luckily we don't have a balk rule in play.

The coach for this team states it is a way to get his batter ahead in the count and increase his batter OBP, but usually by getting walks an loading the bases and stealing home, since most of these young pitchers are still learning the basics in pitching and would pitch a pass ball or even hit the batter with the ball.

What are your feeling on this? Is there a right time and place for this , or is it ok to do this for every batter? Thanks for your input.

PS. I got this link from the coach who did this, this past season, since he knows I was not happy and was the only parent who said so to him.

Rick answered: Scott, thank you for your question.

The fake bunt and hit has it's place in a team's offensive philosophy, the same as a sacrifice bunt, hit and run, bunt and run, single steal, double steal, fake bunt and steal, suicide and safety squeeze does. They are all aspects of the game designed for particular situations and circumstances.

At the age and skill level in your league, the players would be far better off having the opportunity to go to the plate and hit, occasionally bunt. Not even a good idea to be stealing bases at that level, as catcher's won't be able to throw anyone out. Those types of things distort the game as it is meant to be played.

Just because it results in wins doesn't make it right. Ultimately the players are the losers as they don't recieve the opportunity to learn and develop one of the games most important skills, hitting.

There is a similar question about taking pitches to steal bases, which is similar in nature.

This was a situation in a league where players were allowed to lead off. The ages in the league were such that catcher's did not yet have the skills to throw out runners. One coach was making his hitters take a pitch, so the runners could steal bases.

Just because you can, doesn't necessarily mean that you should. You need to keep the integrity of the game intact, so the players are learning how to play and develop, for the levels and skills ahead of them.

Yours in baseball,


Comments for Is the Fake Bunt OK to use...with every single batter?

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Jul 15, 2015
Opportunity to Teach and to Learn
by: xBus78x

Based upon what I am reading, I am not sure where the safety issue comes in on a fake bunt. If the player is showing a bunt, and then brings it back for a full swing, then yes, I see the safety issue. At the little league level, I would think there are very few players who can show a bunt, pull the bat pack, and load up for a swing.

If the player is using the bunt to simply distract the pitcher, or to offer up a source of confusion, then I believe players should have been taught how to approach the situation so they are prepared. If a coach doesn't prepare their players for something they come across down the road, then I would lay blame on myself for not having my team ready. Within the first couple practices, I spend an entire practice going over bunting (offensively and defensively), and spend time throughout the season. We teach our players to throw the ball at the bat, and field the ball as it unfolds. If a team can rack up runs playing small ball, then so be it.

Jul 31, 2014
Part of the game
by: Maury Wills

Take advantage?, the people being taken advantage of are the players of the teams whose coaches aren't preparing them to play the game.

Fake bunts, bunting, etc are all part of the game. Coaches prepare your players for all of these scenarios, they will surely see them at the next level.

Jul 28, 2014
Fake Bunt / Slash Hit
by: MarshallUmps

I umpire a lot of tournaments in SE PA at many different facilities and they have ALL adopted the rule that prohibits fake bunt / slash hit for safety reasons.
While this strategy is part of the MLB game, we need to be mindfull of coaches doing things to take advantage of young / inexperianced ball players.
In my mind, a runner running to 2nd base on a Walk is another example of adults preying on young players.
In the end, you need to decide if the kids are playing the game or the adults......

Feb 08, 2013
Sounds like Sour Grapes
by: Allen

Unfortunately, as parents, we can't always protect our children from the vicissitudes that athletic competition presents.

Hope that the experience was used by Scott and the coaching staff as an opportunity to improve a skill with thier players, mainatining concentration in the midst of distractions. Developmentally, a very important concept to learn early as the distractions become greater as you move up in the level of competition. The opposing coach did Scott & his players a favor.

Jul 13, 2012
Whose ox is being gored?
by: Anonymous

Funny that I should come upon this question and comment as my son played on the team mentioned by Scott.

Scott misrepresents the extent to which the fake-bunt/slash bunt was used on this team. There were a couple of games last season, against Scotts sons team, when it was used much more than it was early or late in the season. To say it was used 95% of the time and in all game situations is a distortion of reality.

The truth is, the strategy was used primarily with batters who hit lower in the order, later in the innings to provide those kids with an opportunity to get on base which they wouldn't ordinarily have had. What was upsetting for the parents of opposing teams was that thier children had not been coached to content with the distraction that comes with a bunt/fake bunt situation. So, when thier sons weren't throwing strikes and were upset by that, the bunt/fake bunt use became an issue.

Like most things in life it all depends on "whose ox is being gored".

The coach of the opposing team is reknown in the league to provide the highest degree of instruction to his players in the league. He often works with kids who are not players on his team to help them improve thier skills. Certaintly no players on his teams were shortchanged in terms of instruction.

At the end of the season the bunt/fake bunt was used very little. The other teams, Scotts sons team, and thier coaches made the needed adjustments to thier credit.

In fact, the crowing achievement of that coaching staff for the season was that a player on his team who had not had a hit all season long, had the game winning hit in the championship game. As you could probably guess, against Scotts sons team.

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