|Which zone the pitcher fielding this bunt in?|
Plant | Shuffle | Flip | Drop Step
The bunt is back in play. Why? New BBCOR bats is probably the main reason. Colleges and High School baseball has changed and the 'bunt' is now a tool being used more to get runners on base, move runners over, score runs and make the defense antsy and uncomfortable.
So what does - 'Plant, Shuffle, Flip & Drop Step' have to do with bunts?
TCA Twins Coach, Jace Findley, at Monday's Extra Work showed & explained to pitchers four (4) zones for fielding bunts.
The four zones in front of the pitchers mound, yet far enough from the catcher - from third base line to the first base line are as follows:
- Plant - When a bunt is fielded in this zone, the pitcher does not have a lot of time to re-shuffle their feet and then throw because the bunt is near the third base foul line. When a ball is bunted in this zone, the pitcher must field the bunt, with their feet in a good position to throw - thus they must field the ball in a 'plant' position. Once they field the fall, they must keep their feet 'planted' and throw.
- Shuffle - When a bunt is fielded in this zone, the pitcher has some time, so we want the pitcher to shuffle, get their feet under them and sometimes shuffle to get off the mound. Granted this is not a good bunt by the offense - as this bunt is right back to the pitcher.
- Flip - When a bunt is fielded in this zone, the pitcher will be fielding this with some momentum moving towards first base and it is too close to first base to throw the ball. When the pitcher fields this bunt (usually a push-bunt towards the second basemen), the pitcher will field this bunt and use an under-hand flip (or what I like to describe as a toss) to the player covering first base.
- Drop Step - When a bunt is fielded in this zone, the pitcher is close to the first base line and needs to create a throwing lane so the throw does not hit the runner running to first base. After the bunt is fielded in this zone, the pitcher will use a drop step towards the pitchers mound and then throw to the player covering first base.
The Plant, Shuffle, Flip and Drop Step zones are primarily used for fielding bunts by the pitcher and making the play to first base.
Thanks to TCA Twins coach Jace (12U Head Coach, 10U Assistant & 15U Co-Head Coach) for providing our TCA Twins players with a method and zones for fielding bunts as a pitcher.