A catcher is charged with a passed ball (abbreviated PB) when he fails to hold or control a legally pitched ball which, in the opinion of the official scorer, should have been held or controlled with ordinary effort, and which permits a runner or runners to advance at least one base; and/or permits the batter to advance to first base, if it's a third strike (with first base unoccupied and/or 2 out). A run that scores because of a passed ball is not scored as an earned run. Neither a passed ball nor a wild pitch is charged as an error. It is a separately kept statistic.
To hit the ball hard. Often used in the past tense: "He pasted the ball."
Doesn't do a lot of first-pitch swinging, swinging at pitches out of the strike zone, or even swinging at strikes that he can't hit because of their location and/or type. Generally gets a lot of walks.
An outfielder may be said to be "patrolling the outfield" (like a good soldier or police officer patrolling his assigned territory),
A catcher who keeps runners from stealing bases is said to be good at "patrolling the basepaths."
If after the pitcher from one team tries to bean or otherwise hit a batter, the opposing pitcher retaliates by trying to hit a batter from the first pitcher's team, it's a "payback." Such retaliation often happens when it is one of a team's stars who is the initial target; in such a case the opposing pitcher is likely to target the star player on the other team when he gets his first opportunity. Umpires may issue a warning if they think a pitch is intentionally thrown at a batter, and if such an attempt happens again by either team's pitcher, the pitcher is likely to be ejected from the game.
The decisive game in a series, such as the third game in a three-game series in which each team has already won one game.
A pitch thrown with a full count. The implication is that much effort has gone into reaching this point (this is at least the sixth pitch of the at-bat), and the pitch will either pay off for the pitcher (a strikeout) or the batter (a hit or a walk). However, a foul ball can extend the at-bat. The term is most often used when a hit will score a run and a strikeout will end the inning.
A system for forecasting pitcher and hitter performance developed by Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus. A player's "PECOTA" may be the forecasted range of his performance on a variety of indicators for the current or future seasons.
The batter trying to see the catcher's signals to the pitcher.
To throw the ball to one of the bases. "The fielder pegged the ball to first."
Pepper is a common pre-game exercise in baseball, where one player bunts brisk ground balls and line drives to a group of fielders who are standing close by. The fielders try to make a play on the ball, and throw it back as quickly as possible. The batter then attempts to hit the return throw, and so on. A good contact hitter may sometime seem to be playing pepper with the opposing pitcher during a game: "Polanco is a good hitter," Blanton said. "He just kind of stands up there and plays pepper. He's a guy you really can't strike out. He's going to put the ball in play. He's the kind of guy who seems to place it out there."
When a first and second place team are separated by less than 1/2 a game in the standings. For example, if Team A is in first place by less than half a game over Team B, Team B is said to be "within percentage points" of Team A.
A special, very rare no-hitter where each batter is retired consecutively, allowing no baserunners via walks, errors, or any other means. In short, "27 up, 27 down." A "perfect game" could involve multiple pitchers with one pitcher relieving another, but in the major league they all have been completed by a single pitcher.
An inning in which a pitcher allows no runners to reach base.
A commonly used acronym for Pitchers' Fielding Practice. A session in which pitchers practice fielding bunts and other ground balls, throwing to a base, and covering first base and home plate.
Someone who is incorrectly listed in source materials as playing in a Major League Baseball game, although they did not actually play.
an erroneous call by an umpire in which a baserunner is ruled as having been tagged out when in fact the fielder never legally tagged the runner
pick it clean
To field a sharply hit ground ball without bobbling it. "One of the fastest guys that we have hit a ball down the line at third and Zimmerman came in, picked it clean and threw across the diamond like it was nothing." Sometimes just expressed as "pick it", as in: "There was a time when baseball teams were happy with a third baseman who could reach double digits in homers and pick it with the glove".
pick me up
When one player makes a mistake or fails to do something he tried to do, he may ask another, "Pick me up." Or said in praise of his offensive teammates by a pitcher who allowed more runs than he wished: "The guys picked me up with a lot of runs today. I'll have to improve on that outing and get better." "I just told him, 'Great win for us and thanks for picking me up,' Jones said. Jones had inherited a three-run lead for the ninth -- and allowed four runs to put the Tigers a run down. But with one out in the Tigers' ninth, and with runners on first and second, Cabrera ripped the first pitch from left-handed closer Brian Fuentes far up the rightfield gap."
pick up the pitch
A batter's ability to see what kind of pitch is being thrown. "The Tigers are having a hard time picking up Saenz's slider." When they don't pick up the pitch, batters are likely to swing and miss.
A series of 1's on the scoreboard, resembling a picket fence. After the 3rd inning of the final game of the 2007 ALCS, broadcaster Tim McCarver reported that the Red Sox, who had scored one run in each of the first three innings, had a "picket fence" on the scoreboard. Also referred to as matchsticks.
A quick throw from the pitcher (or sometimes the catcher) to a fieldercovering a base when the ball has not been hit into play. Normally done to catch a runner off-base, it may also keep the runner's lead in check. The pitcher must either first step off the pitching rubber with his push-off foot, or clearly step towards the base he is throwing at with his lifted leg in order for the move to not be ruled a balk.
Acting ostantatiously or showboating to gain the attention or approval of the fans. One form of showboating is home run pimping. "In the seventh inning, when Guillen smashed a ball into the right-field seats, he lingered in the batter’s box to admire his handiwork and pointedly flipped his bat, a strictly prohibited form of grandstanding known as home-run pimping". See also grandstand play.
A substitutebatter. Often brought in during a critical situation (a "pinch") to replace a weak batter (usually the pitcher, in the National League). In other circumstances it may be a situational substitute.
A fan of a team who is perceived to be merely "jumping on the bandwagon" as opposed to a more loyal, knowledgeable fan (of either gender). This term comes from the alternate pink caps that are sometimes worn by female fans. A "pink hat" is not necessarily a female fan, nor do they all literally wear pink hats.
A pitcher who is able to throw the ball to a precise spot in the strike zone may be said to have "pinpoint control'. Also a control pitcher or finesse pitcher. Headline: "Ryan Hoping to Regain Pinpoint Control".
Not throwing a batter a hittable pitch, but also not walking him intentionally and hoping to get him to chase bad pitches. Typically this might be done when the batter is one of the best in a team's lineup and is followed in the batting order by a comparatively weak hitter. "There are no holes in that lineup, so to say you're going to pitch around one batter might not be the best thing."
The total number of pitches a pitcher has thrown in a given game. 100 is considered the point at which a starter who has been pitching well may start to lose his effectiveness, often dramatically. 100 pitches will get an effective starting pitcher through the seventh or eighth inning and a moderately effective one through the fifth or sixth. An ineffective starting pitcher may use his hundredth pitch during the fourth inning or even earlier.
pitch to contact
A pitcher who doesn't try to strike out batters but instead tries to get them to hit the ball weakly, especially on the ground, is said to pitch to contact. "Schilling has gone on the record as saying he'd like to pitch to contact more this season in an effort to reduce his pitch count and go deeper into games. Such an effort is likely to reduce the number of strikeouts he gets but in theory might provide quicker innings and faster games."
The fielder responsible for pitching the ball. Defensive position 1. The term "pitch" (which literally means "to place") comes from the early days when an underhand delivery was required, as with "pitching" horseshoes. The original rules specified that the ball was to be "pitched, not thrown to the bat." Overhand throwing by the pitcher has been legal since 1884, but the term pitcher and its variants remain in the language of the game.
pitcher of record
The pitchers who receive the win (W) and the loss (L) are the "pitchers of record." When used during a game, "pitcher of record" refers to a pitcher who would be the winning or losing pitcher if the game were to end at that point. The pitchers of record are designated by the official scorer in accordance with the scoring rules. Also see win.
A very low-scoring game in which the starting pitchers on both teams allow few hits.
The mound, or colloquially the hill or the bump. The rule book will state the exact dimensions of the mound including the distance and incline to home plate.
A park in which pitchers tend to perform better than they perform on average in all other parks. This in the inverse of being a hitter's park. See hitter's park and park factor for further information.
For example, when the wind is blowing "in" at Wrigley Field, it is typically rendered a "pitcher's park", and low scores for one or both teams are not unusual. Under those circumstances, no-hitters also become possible at a park many fans normally think of as a "hitter's park".
Because of its large foul area (recently shrunk to add more seating), symmetrical outfield walls, and small "corners" near the foul poles, Dodger Stadium is traditionally known as a pitcher's park, especially at night, when fly balls tend to die more quickly than they do during the day.
"That's the pitch the pitcher wants you to swing at and hit because he knows that even if you hit it, it will most likely result in an out".
In games where the designated hitter rule is not in effect, or in DH rule games where a team has forfeited its DH, this term refers to the pitcher's turn in the batting order; its usage usually implies that there is some possibility that the pitcher will not actually take his turn batting and instead will be replaced by a pinch hitter and by rule a relief pitcher.
A defensive tactic used to pick off a baserunner, typically employed when the defense thinks that a stolen base play is planned. The pitch is thrown outside and the catcher catches it while standing, and can quickly throw to a base.
Generally refers to the second baseman. A second baseman often has to turn or pivot on one foot in order to complete a double play. A short-stop also sometimes pivots to complete such a play.
A batter who has skill in controlling where he hits the ball.George Herman (Babe) Ruth wrote, "The place hitter is the chap who can take a ball which ordinarily he would hit to left, he would hit to right, or vice versa."
Any turn at bat is considered a plate appearance for computing stats such as on-base percentage, and for determining whether a batter has enough of them (minimum 3.1 X number of scheduled games) to qualify for the batting average championship. Plate appearances consist of standard at-bats plus situations where there is no at-bat charged, such as a base on balls or a sacrifice. However, if the batter is standing in the batter's box and the third out is made elsewhere (for example, by a caught-stealing or by an appeal play), then it does not count as an appearance, because that same batter will lead off the next inning.
A batter shows "plate discipline" by not swinging at pitches that are out of the strike zone or at pitches that are in the strike zone but not located where he can get the bat on the ball. Such a batter might be described as a patient hitter.
A batter who strikes out five times in one game is said to have gotten the Platinum Visor. Alternatively, he may be awarded Olympic Rings.
The practice of assigning two players to the same defensive position during a season, normally to complement a batter who hits well against left-handed pitchers with one who hits well against righties. Individual players may also find themselves marked as a platoon player, based on their hitting against righties vs. against lefties. Casey Stengel brought some attention to the system by using it frequently during his New York Yankees' run of five consecutive World Series champions during 1949–1953.
The term "platooning" sometimes refers to the in-game strategic replacement of batters in the line-up based on the handedness of a newly inserted relief pitcher, or conversely the strategic insertion of a relief pitcher to face a batter of the same hand. This is the logic behind having a LOOGY on the roster, for example. The LOOGY is to pitching what a pinch-hitter is to batting: put into the line-up for short-term strategic advantage.
To follow the conventional wisdom in game strategy and player use. For example, when to bunt or when to bring in the closer.
Any small sequence of events during a game, (never lasting long enough to contain more than one pitch), during which at least one offensive player could advance, or score a run, or tag up, etc., or could be put out. (This includes, e.g., a popfoul, during which it is possible that the batter could be put out, but advancing is not possible, and neither is scoring.) This term, "play", is mentioned (appears) in the article about the definition of an error.
Where the action is focused at a given time, in particular where a runner is about to reach a base or reach home, and the defense is attempting to get him out. An announcer might declare "There's a play at home," for example, if a runner is attempting to score and the catcher is about to receive a throw and attempt to tag the runner out.
When two baseball clubs make a trade, part of the publicly announced deal may involve an unspecified "player to be named later" who is not one of the headline players in the deal. In some cases, the PTBNL is simply a financial payment equal to the annual salary of a base-level major league baseball player ($300,000 as of 2007).
A manager who is close to his players and who the players may consider a peer and a friend. The knock on players' managers is that they tend not to be tough disciplinarians and that out of concern for losing the sympathy of the players they may find it difficult to make tough decisions that are in the best interests of the team. Thus, the term is not always complimentary. Many managers find they must maintain some aloofness in order to be effective. Joe Torre is often referred to as a player's manager; his approach can be effective with mature players who take their responsibilities seriously. Casey Stengel used to say that the secret to managing was "to keep the guys who are neutral about you away from the guys that hate your guts."
When the infield is shallower than normal in order to attempt to throw out a runner on third-base on a ground ball. This does not allow the infielders to cover as much ground however, and can turn a routine ground ball into a base hit.
The usual position depth taken by infielders when they're not anticipating a bunt or setting up for a double play.
Any short set or series of games played after the regular season to determine a division or league champion. Also called the "post-season". Technically speaking, if a one-game playoff is required to determine who wins the regular season or the wild card (and thereby qualifies for the post-season) is counted as part of the regular season.
The plus sign (+) is an indicator that a starting pitcher began an inning and faced at least one hitter without recording an out. In the box score, he is said to have pitched x+ innings, where x is the number of innings he completed in the game. For example if the starter gives up two walks to lead off the sixth inning and is pulled for a reliever, he has pitched "5+" innings.
A pitch that is better than above average when compared to the rest of the league. Often the strikeout pitch.
plus plus pitch
A pitch that is among the best of its type in the league and is essentially unhittable when thrown well. Often a breaking pitch.
A player with above-average major league skills. A term from baseball scouting and player evaluation. See tools.
A hit. Referring to an extra-base hit or home run, a fan or announcer might exclaim, "That was quite a poke." A reporter might record a line drive as "Cameron pokes a shot into left field."
The term has several usages that have different meanings in terms of batting success and failure.
A pop-up is a batted ball that is hit very high and stays in the infield. Called a pop-foul when it falls or is caught in foul territory. Example: "Rondini popped it foul out of play" implies that Rondini hit a pop-up or pop-foul that went into the stands where a defender couldn't reach it.
Brendan C. Boyd and Fred C. Harris, in their impish commentary in The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book, discussed a player who was known for hitting sky-high popups and said that "he could have played his career in a stovepipe".
The term "high pop" is short for "high pop-up".
A batter with "pop" has exceptional bat speed and power. "Reggie popped one" implies that Reggie hit a home run. Example in baseball writing: "Ian Kinsler Proves He Has Pop to Center".
A left-handed pitcher, so named because "port" refers to the left side of a ship. Synonym: southpaw
One of the nine defensive positions on a baseball team, consisting of (in scorekeepers' numerical order): (1) pitcher, (2) catcher, (3) first baseman, (4) second baseman, (5) third baseman, (6) shortstop, (7) left fielder, (8) center fielder, (9) right fielder. Positions 3 through 6 are normally called infield positions. Positions 7, 8, and 9 are outfield positions. The pitcher and catcher are the battery. However, for purposes of implementing the Infield Fly Rule, the pitcher and catcher are counted as infielders, and such a broader definition of infielders is commonly used, if only to differentiate them from outfielders. Players in positions 2 through 9 — all positions except the pitcher — are position players.
A defensive player also positions himself differently — sets up in a different location on the field while playing his position — depending on who is pitching, who is at bat, whether there men on base, the number of outs, and the score of the game.
To pitch the ball over the inside of the plate, in on his hands. Typically with a fastball. "Scouts say Ortiz still is vulnerable up and in, but only against pitchers with above-average fastballs. The way to pitch Ortiz, one scout says, is to pound him inside, back him off the plate, then get him to chase down and away."
When batters who normally have a high slugging average or hit a lot of home runs suddenly seem to lose that ability, they may be said to have a "power outage" – just like electrical power may be lost during a storm. "Barring a rainout on Sunday, the Phillies will have played 30 games in 31 days. This may have played a role in their early June power outage as it took them until June 8th to hit their first home run this month".
A hitter with a good power stroke is one who is capable of hitting for extra bases. Headline: "Catcher leads league in hitting, but has developed power stroke this year".
Opposite to power outage. When batters who normally have a low slugging average or hit few home runs suddenly seem to gain that ability, they may be said to have a "power surge" – just like a bolt of lightning, but could be sustained over a longer period of time. It can also be used to describe a baseball field that is becoming more batter-friendly. "Through games of April 12 (2014), no team in baseball has hit more home runs than the Chicago White Sox, with 62.5 percent (10 of 16) of the team's blasts coming at U.S. Cellular Field. The park lends itself to a power surge thanks to reasonable power alleys, a prevailing wind and outfield fences no higher than eight feet."
A meeting on the mound between a coach and players to discuss strategy. Based on the more general meaning of Pow-wow as a gathering of North American indigenous people. Also called a tea party.
A prep player is a draft prospect who is still in high school. E.g., "Nationals select prep right-hander Lucas Giolito 16th overall."
Used to refer to both major and minor leagues, especially on baseball cards. For example, "Complete Professional Record" would include both minor and major league seasons while "Complete Major League Record" would include only major league seasons. Minor league players consider it an insult when asked when they'll "get to the pros".
A pitcher who is scheduled to start the next game or one of the next few games is often described as a "probable pitcher".
When a batter makes an out but advances one or more runners in the process, he has made a productive out. In contrast, a strikeout or other out in which no runners advance is unproductive. An at bat that is productive is often said to be a "good at bat", even if a batter doesn't get safely on base. Statistically speaking, however, although a given out may be associated with scoring a run (such as via a sacrifice fly, a fielder's choice, or even a double play), an out reduces the number of future runs that are likely to be scored in the inning and game, when compared with a base hit or base-on balls that puts another runner on base who can potentially score.
A scouting term for a young player with excellent tools who appears likely to develop into a productive or more powerful player in the future. "I don't think he's going to be a big home run hitter, but his pop to the gaps has improved this year, and his speed and on-base skills are impressive. His youth stands out, and he's athletic and still physically projectable."
A manager may protest a game if he believes that an umpire's decision is in violation of the official rules. An umpire's judgment call (i.e., balls and strikes, safe or out, fair or foul) may not be protested. A protested game is reviewed and adjudicated by the league president, who may order a game replayed from the point of the protested decision only if he finds the umpire's decision to be a violation and that the decision had a direct impact on the protesting team's ability to win the game. A well-known example of a protested game that was replayed is the 1983 Pine Tar Game.
Public Enemy Number One
A good curve ball or it can refer to a player who is hitting well in that game.
To pull a pitcher is to take him out of the line-up and substitute a relief pitcher in his place. This is the same meaning as to yank a pitcher or use the hook.
To pull a hitter is to substitute a pinch hitter for the next at-bat.
To pull the ball is to hit the ball toward the side of the field that is usually associated with the batter taking a full swing and hitting the ball hard. A right-handed hitter pulls the ball toward the left-side of the diamond; a left-handed hitter pulls the ball toward the right side of the diamond. Some players are known as pull hitters. Others are spray hitters or opposite field hitters especially in opportune situations such as when a right-handed hitter hits the ball to the right side behind a runner who is on first or second base, making it easier for that runner to advance even on a ground ball.
A batter who often hits the ball ("pulls") towards the "natural" side of the field (e.g., a right-handed hitter hitting to left field).
pull the string
To throw a pitch that breaks sharply and perhaps late. A pitcher has only "pulled the string" if the batter is fooled into swinging where the pitch was going, not where it ends up, therefore striking him out. The image is of a marionette jerking to one direction as a string is pulled hard. It could also be referring to a simple changeup that causes a batter to swing and miss. This is to say it’s as if the ball is attached to a string and the pitcher is yanking the ball away as the batter swings at it.
punch a hit
To hit the ball to the opposite field. The term implies that instead of taking a full swing, the hitter took a short swing at the ball. "With speedster Willy Taveras pinch running at first, Berkman punched a hit to right."
A hitter with very little power. Akin to banjo hitter. The first use of the term is attributed to former L.A. Dodgers manager Walter Alston who, when asked about a home run by Giants' slugger Willie McCovey, said: "When he belts a home run, he does it with such authority it seems like an act of God. You can't cry about it. He's not a Punch and Judy belter." In current usage, a hitter may be referred to simply as "a Judy." Illustration: "The other day when Future Hall of FamerTony Gwynn was touring Cooperstown in advance of his Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Tony referred to himself as a "Judy" (in reference to the phrase "Punch and Judy Hitter"). At the time I felt that Tony was being Tony, and he was downplaying the fact that he was called a "Judy." Though Tony did not take offense, I did. I felt that regardless of the title "Judy," Tony set the modern standard for hitters in this era of baseball. . . ."
A strikeout. Named such because the umpire will typically make a punching-like signal on the third strike, especially if the batter does not swing at the pitch. Punch out is also used as a verb: "Another thing I noticed early on was the flair that the homeplate umpire was exhibiting. His calls were flamboyant and spirited. The highlight of his performance was the calls he would make when a batter would strike out looking. He would drop his arms to his sides, walk about 5-6 steps to his right and then punch out the hitter emphatically. Early on I thought he was about to walk into the stands and punch us in the face. We loved it. If only MLB umpires displayed the artistic panache this Cuban umpire did then the game would be so much more entertaining".
A brushback, intended to make the batter move away from home plate. A batter targeted by such a pitch is sometimes said to get a close shave. 1950s pitcher Sal Maglie was called "the Barber" due to his frequent use of such pitches. A sportswriting wag once stated that its "purpose" was "to separate the head from the shoulders".
A right-handed batter who hits the ball toward the right side of the diamond may be said to push the ball. The best situation for a push bunt is runners at first and third with 1 out. A successful push bunt in this situation will result in a run scored, a runner on second, and two outs. This is opposite to the situation when a right hand-hitter pulls the ball to the left side. "Jacqueline Wetherbee pushed a leadoff base hit through the right side and Cagney Davis took her spot on the basepath."
put a charge on the ball
It hit the ball very hard, typically a home run. Probably derived from the idea of giving the ball extra energy like an electric charge or shock.
put a hurt
To hit the ball extremely hard. "Known as "The Big Hurt" (because he puts the hurt on the ball), Frank Thomas is known for his strength and batting eye."
To beat another team, especially by a decisive score. Headline: "Dodgers Put the Hurt on Angels." This usage is common to other sports.
A fielder who catches a fly ball, or who tags a runner may be said to "put away" his opponent. Similarly, a pitcher may "put away" a batter by striking him out.
A team may "put away" its opponent by making a decisive play or out, or by breaking open the game and gaining a substantial lead on its opponent.
^"Nationals select prep right-hander Lucas Giolito 16th overall in 2012 First-Year Player Draft" MASN, June 4, 2012.
^Buster Olney has proposed a statistic called Productive Out Percentage, or POP: "Productive out percentage is the ratio of productive outs -- generally, advancing runners with the first out in an inning, or driving home a run with the second out." Buster Olney, "Small Ball vs. Money Ball," ESPN.com, April 29, 2004.