A look at the layout of a baseball diamond and you will realize that it is divided into two parts: the infield and outfield. The positions which require the players to field within the infield are known as the infield positions. These include the first base, second base, third base, and shortstop. On the other hand, those which require the player to field outside are known as the outfield positions. These include the left field, center field, and the right field.
Baseball Position by Number
Going by the fundamentals of baseball, there are 9 fielding positions; each assigned a particular number in the count of 1 to 9. Given below is the list of positions along with their corresponding numbers and abbreviations. Baseball Position by Number?
- Pitcher (P)
- Catcher (C)
- First Base (1B)
- Second Base (2B)
- Third Base (3B)
- Shortstop (SS)
- Left Field (LF)
- Center Field (CF)
- Right Field (RF)
The numbering system in this sport is important. It helps in several aspects of scoring, including recording the defensive play.
Player Positions and What They Do
Pitcher (P): The pitcher is the player who pitches/throws the baseball from the pitcher’s mound towards the batter, with the objective of retiring him. The play starts with the pitcher pitching the ball, and the batter is declared ‘strike out’ if he fails to connect three consecutive pitches. The pitcher is assigned number 1 in the numbering system of baseball.
Catcher (C): The catcher is the player who takes the position behind the home plate, and in front of the umpire, when the pitcher pitches the ball. When the batter misses the hit, the catcher receives the ball; three such instances and the batter is sent back. Baseball Position by Number? The catcher is assigned number 2 in the numbering system.
First Base (1B): The first baseman is the player fielding in the area close to the first base. This player is responsible for most of the plays made here. Baseball Position by Number? First Base is assigned number 3 in the numbering system of the game.
Second Base (2B): Like the first baseman, who guards the first base, the second baseman guards the area near the second base. He also plays a crucial role in the double play. Baseball Position by Number? The second baseman is assigned number 4.
Third Base (3B): In baseball, the third baseman is the player stationed near the third base, and is responsible for guarding it. In the numbering system, Baseball Position by Number? The third baseman is assigned number 5.
Shortstop (SS): The shortstop is the fielding position between the second and third base. The fact that most batters are right-handed makes the shortstop one of the most crucial positions. Baseball Position by Number? Shortstop is assigned number 6.
Left Field (LF): The left field is basically the area to your left if you are standing at the home plate and facing the pitchers’ mound. The player fielding in this area is known as the left fielder. Baseball Position by Number? Left Field is assigned number 7.
Center Field (CF): In baseball, the center fielder is the player defending the center field position, which lies behind the pitcher―between the left and the right field. Baseball Position by Number? The center fielder is assigned number 8.
Right Field (RF): The right field is the area to your right if you are standing at the home plate and facing the pitchers’ mound. The player responsible for defending this area is referred to as the right fielder and is assigned number 9.
Fielding Positions – Defensive Positions
Baseball is unique in that it is one of the few sports that the defense will have the ball most of the game. So at any one time, the defensive team will have nine players on the field. You will recall that this circle of dirt in the middle of the infield is called the pitcher’s mound, the name is from the position who stands here, who is called the pitcher. The pitchers’ job is to throw the ball over home plate, and the batter who is on the other team will try to hit the ball.
There are many times when the batter will miss, or he won’t swing at the pitch in the first place, so we need someone behind home plate who can catch the ball, and so we have the catcher.
Eventually, though the batter will hit the ball out into fair territory, so the defensive team needs players out here to catch it. The players in the infield are called infielders, and there are four of them. The counted infielders do not include the pitcher and the catcher who are part of what is “The Battery” although you probably won’t hear that term used very much.
As for the four infielders, the guy who stands beside first base is the first baseman. I will stress that the majority of the time he’s not standing on first base. But instead, he is near it. The player to the right of second base is the second baseman, and the guy by the third base is the third baseman. Which leaves us the guy on the left side of second base, and this is the shortstop. These are our four infielders, and the first and third baseman is called the corner infielders because they’re outside on the corners. And the second baseman and the shortstop are in the middle, so they are called the middle infielders.
There are no rules that any players on defense, other than the pitcher has to stand on a specific spot. Usually, the infielders will position themselves around these general areas so that they can cover as much ground as possible.
Our final three players are the outfielders. Who as you may have guessed stand in the outfield. In Leftfield, we have the left fielder. In Centerfield we have the center fielder. And finally, in Rightfield we have the right fielder. Because they have to cover so much ground, outfielders are pretty fast guys.
At the beginning of each game, the managers for both teams (a manager is another name for coach) will write down the list of nine guys that will be playing that day. And this is called the starting lineup. The lineup will include two things. The position each guy will be playing, and the order that the nine of them will bat.
For a player to have an at-bat means that he will go up to home plate stand in the batter’s box and try to hit the ball. The nine players on the team will have to go up to the plate in the same order each time when they get through all nine guys they start again at the top.
Players can switch positions at any time during the game, but they cannot change the order in which they bat. Baseball does allow substitutions, but if another player bats or plays in the field in your place you cannot come back into the game after that, so you are done for the day.
The Designated Hitter
Some leagues will have a unique position called the designated hitter or the DH. The designated hitter is a player who will bat instead of the pitcher but will not play in the field. So at higher levels of play, pitchers become very specialized in their position and focus so much time and attention on pitching that they generally turn out to be poor hitters.
So the position of the designated hitter was created so that they would not have to bat some people. Some fans like the designated hitter other people hate it, but within each game either both teams will use it or neither one will. So things are even during each game. Speaking of offensive players, where do they stand on the field?
The batter as you probably know by now will stand at home plate in the batter’s box. If he succeeds in what he’s trying to do the batter will become a base runner and will then stand on or nearby one of the bases.
For example, we would say that a guy is on first base. There can only be up to one runner to occupy each base at a time. So, if there’s a runner on first, second, and third base at the same time, we would say that the bases are loaded. Three runners are the maximum number of baserunners we could have at any one time.
The base coaches are the members of the offensive team who will be on the baseball field. There will be two of them, one by first base, and the other by third base. They are supposed to stay within these little white brackets painted on the field, but they almost never do. Since the coaches stay out of the way, nobody ever seems to mind. These coaches are an extra set of eyes for the base runners. If a base runner is running from second to third base, his base coach can be looking at the ball in right field and yell or signal to the runner whether he should stop at third base or keep running to home plate.
The final guys on the field are the umpires. Umpires are baseball’s version of the referee. There are usually four umpires during a game. One for each base and home plate. The lower leagues like a local little league game will probably only be a home plate umpire and one umpire in the field.
I wanted to throw in or two more terms that you might hear, so while the batter is up, the next guy in the batting order will be on deck. To be the on-deck batter means that he is the next batter to face the pitcher. Usually, this guy will be in the on-deck circle swinging his bat and getting loosened up for his time at the plate. The guy who will bat after the guy who is on deck is said to be in the hole.
A quick recap of the defensive positions
The battery, the pitcher on the mound and the catcher behind home plate.
The four infielders are the first baseman, the second baseman, the third baseman, and the shortstop who is opposite the second baseman.
The three outfielders are the left fielder, centerfield, and the right fielder. Those are the baseball positions.
Table Of Contents