Baseball Terminology: The Ultimate Guide to Terms Used in Baseball

A baseball sitting in a baseball glove.

There’s a lot of terminology when it comes to the game of baseball! You’re not going to learn them all overnight, but by playing and watching the game more, you’ll start picking up on different baseball terms and sayings. So the next time you have some free time, turn on the television and start watching a professional game!

So, what is some baseball terminology that is used during games?

Some common baseball terminology that most people know are strikeout, base, walk, home run, hit, bat, batter, etc. Along with these common baseball terms, there are lesser-known terms like WHIP, assist, hot corner, launch angle, slugging percentage, and more.

When it comes to baseball terminology, don’t be intimidated! If you’re interested in learning about specific baseball terms feel free to search for them below by scrolling or using “ctrl+f” to search for a term. We guarantee that you’ll learn something new from this article!

Denoting players in the scorebook:

  • 1: Pitcher
  • 2: Catcher
  • 3: First base
  • 4: Second base
  • 5: Third base
  • 6: Shortstop
  • 7: Left field
  • 8: Center field
  • 9: Right field
  • 1-2-3 Double Play: Pitcher throws it to the catcher, who then throws it to first.
  • 1-2-3 Inning: An inning in which the first three batters are retired one after another.
  • 1-6-3 Double Play: Pitcher throws it to shortstop, who then throws it to first.
  • 3-6-1 Double Play: First base throws it to shortstop, who then throws it to the pitcher covering first.
  • 3-6-3 Double Play: First base throws it to shortstop, who then throws it back to first.
  • 4-6-3 Double Play: Second base throws it to shortstop, who then throws it to first.
  • 5-4-3 Double Play: Third base throws it to second base, who then throws it to first.
  • 6-4-3 Double Play: Shortstop throws it to second base, who then throws it to first.
  • 12-6 Curveball: A pitch that is meant to break down in a straight line as it approaches the plate. The pitch gets its name from a clock, as the ball starts at the no. 12 and drops to the no. 6.
  • 25-Man Roster: The list of baseball players on the roster for an MLB team. The 25-man roster is usually made up of around 12 positional players and 13 pitchers.

– A –

  • Ace: Refers to the best starting pitcher on a baseball team, who is generally first in the rotation. Aces generally start the first game of a playoff series to offer the possibility of them starting another game during the series.
  • Alley/Gap: An alley is the space between two outfielders. A ball hit into the alley usually makes it to the roll and results in at least a double.
  • American League: 15 team league composed of the AL East (New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles, and Toronto Blue Jays), AL Central (Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, and Minnesota Twins) and AL West (Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers).
  • Around the Horn: The act of throwing the ball from 3rd to 2nd and then 2nd to 1st. After a strikeout with no men on base, professional teams tend to have the catcher throw the ball to 3rd, which then throws the ball to 2nd and then 1st. Around the horn can also take place on triple-plays where the 3rd touches his base first.
  • Assist: Players earn assists when they field/throw the ball before an out is made. For example, a right-fielder (RF) throwing someone out at 2nd would be credited with an assist.
  • At-Bat: An at-bat (AB) occurs when a batter: reaches base on a hit or an error, is called out except for a sacrifice play or on a fielder’s choice. At-bats are used to calculate batting average and slugging percentage.

– B –

  • Backstop: The backstop refers to the area/wall behind home plate. Balls that roll to the backstop offer base runners an opportunity to advance 90ft.
  • Bag: Another term for “base”. Each bag is 90ft apart.
  • Ball: Short for baseball and the object the sport resides around. Baseballs have a rubber/cork core that is referred to as the “pill”. Balls are then wrapped in yarns and covered with 2 strips of white leather, before being stitched together with red laces. Baseballs weigh between 142-149g and have a circumference measuring about 9”. A ball is also a pitch that doesn’t cross the strike zone or the umpire deems to have not crossed the strike zone.
  • Balk: Balks occur when pitchers make an illegal pitching motion (under the baseball rules) with a base runner(s) on base. These take place when pitchers have to commit to throwing the ball home as a result of a movement, however big it may have been. This rule was put into place to prevent pitchers from deceiving a base runner(s).
  • Banjo Hitter: A banjo hitter is someone who lacks power and hits a lot of bloopers.
  • Base: See “bag”.
  • Base Coach: When batting, teams have a coach on 1st and 2nd base. The job of these base coaches is to relay signs and support base runners by telling them what to do. Base coaches are invaluable as they can supply a base runner(s) with information that they don’t have themselves.
  • Base Hit: A base hit is any ball hit in fair territory that allows the batter to reach base. I.E. a single, double, triple, or home run.
  • Baseball: See “ball”.
  • Baseline: Two baselines extend out from home plate. These baselines extend through 1st and 3rd to the outfield wall.
  • Bases Empty: Refers to instances where there are no runners on base.
  • Bases Loaded: Refers to instances where there are runners on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd base at the same. The bases being loaded is a prerequisite to hitting a grand slam (see below).
  • Basket Catch: A basket catch is a catch that’s made close to the body with the palm of the glove facing up.
  • Bat: A baseball bat is used by batters to hit balls that are pitched to them. The professionals used wooden bats, while the lower levels use metal and composite bats.
  • Batter: The player who is currently at-bat and receiving pitches from the pitcher. Batters generally focus on one side of the plate (right-handed vs. left-handed) but can also be switch hitters.
  • Batter’s Box: The box batters must stand in during an at-bat. Batters must find a sweet spot between standing too close (crowding) to the plate and standing too far away from it to maximize the chance of hitting pitches.
  • Batters Faced: A statistic for pitchers that shows how many batters they faced.
  • Batter’s Interference: Instances in which the batter isn’t involved in the play on the field but impedes it. This includes getting in the way of a catcher’s throw or not moving away from a play at the plate.
  • Batting Average: The total number of hits by a batter divided by his at-bats. If a batter hits the ball 1-in-5 times, they’re batting .200 or “two hundred”.
  • Batting Order: The batting order consists of 9 players that the coach must put together before each game. Batting orders can change from game-to-game and even within games if the coach decides to make a substitution.
  • Bloop Single: A weakly hit ball that falls between the outfield and infield.
  • Blown Save: An instance where a pitcher gives up the lead in a save situation.
  • Bottom of the Inning: Refers to the part of the inning when the home team is batting.
  • Box Score: The box score is a statistical roundup of a game. For each player, it includes: at-bats (AB), runs (R), hits (H), runs batting-in (RBIs), walks, strikeouts, rolling average (AVG), rolling on-base percentage (OBP), and rolling slugging percentage (SLG). The box score also showcases who pitched during the game and their pitch count (PC). These stats for pitches are tracked in the box score: innings pitched (IP), hits, runs, earned runs, walks, strikeouts, home runs, strikes thrown (ST), and rolling ERA. The number of doubles, triples, and home runs are tracked, as well as base runners left on base. All plays that result in a run are also listed.
  • Breaking Ball: Describes a baseball pitch that moves horizontally or downward.
  • Brush-Back: Refers to an inside pitch to a batter crowding the plate, which requires the batter to back off from the plate to prevent from getting hit. Brushing-back a player is said to keep a batter “honest”.
  • Bullpen: The bullpen houses all pitchers who don’t start the game, but may enter the game at some point. These pitchers are referred to as “relief-pitchers” and generally pitch 1 or 2 innings at a time. Relief-pitchers are brought in when the pitcher before them, whether that’s the starter or another RP, starts to struggle or a good pitcher-batter matchup presents itself.
  • Bullpen Catcher: In charge of warming of RPs before they enter the game. Teams generally have a couple of bullpen catchers to allow multiple pitchers to warmup at one time.
  • Bunt: A bunt is the act of a batter sticking their baseball bat out for a pitch, strategically tapping the ball into play to advance the runners, or to hit an infield single. A good bunt is generally down one of the baselines and placed the base and home plate. Players attempting to bunt shouldn’t stab at the ball and should move the lower half of their body to put the ball into play.
  • Bush League: Describes something that is below the standard of professional baseball.

– C –

A baseball sitting in a glove.
  • Catch: The act of receiving a ball.
  • Catcher’s Interference: This is called when the catcher impedes the batter from hitting the ball. Usually called when the catcher makes contact with the batter or the batter’s bat hits the catcher’s glove.
  • Caught Looking: The term refers to a batter taking strike 3 without swinging.
  • Caught Stealing: When a player is thrown out trying to steal.
  • Changeup: A baseball pitch that is meant to resemble a fastball but is much slower. The goal of changeups is to confuse the batter and mess with his timing.
  • Check-swing: Occurs when a batter starts his swing but then pulls his bat back to allow the ball to pass. Check swings that are horizontal with the front of home plate will generally be called strikes. A batter might check-swing when a pitch looks like it will enter the strike zone and then starts to tail off.
  • Chin Music: A ball that is thrown high and inside to a batter.
  • Choke-up: When the batter places his hands higher on the bat/farther from the knob to increase the likelihood of making contact with the ball.
  • Circus Catch: A circus catch refers to a catch that requires an extraordinary effort. This can refer to a player making a spectacular catch or a player making a routine catch appear overly difficult.
  • Clean-up Hitter: The 4th hitter in the lineup and usually the team’s best power hitter.
  • Closer: A relief pitcher that tends to come in for the 9th inning to close out and earn a win for his team.
  • Coming Set: The act of a pitcher completely stopping before delivering a pitch.
  • Complete Game: When a starting pitcher pitches the entire game.
  • Count: The count is the ratio of balls and strikes during an at-bat. Balls are listed first and strikes second. For example, a 3-1 count means there are 3 balls and 1 strike. For a pitch to be called a strike, it needs to cross the strike zone or be close to the edges of the zone.
  • Curveball: A baseball pitch that is meant to break as it approaches the plate.
  • Cutter: A fastball that breaks away from right-handed players and toward lefties.
  • Cycle: A cycle is when a batter hits a single, double, triple, and home run all in one game.

– D –

  • Dead Ball: A dead ball is when a batter is hit by a pitch or a batted ball touches the batter. Runners may not advance when a dead ball is called and no outs can be recorded.
  • Defense: The team that is fielding is referred to as the defense. A good defensive team is one that commits a minimal amount of errors.
  • Designated Hitter: The designated hitter (DH) is a batter that replaced the pitcher in the lineup. The DH is used in games in which an American League team is the home team.
  • Diamond: Another term used to denote the infield.
  • Dinger: A term that is used when a player hits a home run.
  • Doctoring the Ball: The act of altering a baseball to affect how it is thrown to a batter. This could involve a pitcher spitting, putting marks, or applying a foreign substance such as pine tar to the bar.
  • Donut: A weighted ring that players place on their baseball bats to increase the bat’s weight. Players generally use donuts when they’re on-deck to increase their swing speed when not using a donut.
  • Double: When a batter hits the ball and can reach second. Doubles usually result from the batted ball reaching the wall or the batter being extra speedy. Doubles are sometimes referred to as a two bagger.
  • Doubleheader: When a team plays 2 games in one day.
  • Double Play: A baseball play that involves the fielding team recording 2 outs during an at-bat. A ball that is hit on the ground is more likely to result in a double play than a fly ball because the latter involves throwing a runner out.
  • Dugout: The location that houses each team during a game.

– E –

  • Earned Run: An earned run is tallied when a base runner scores, who originally reached based without the defense committing an error.
  • Earned Run Average: Known as “ERA”. The average number of runs a pitcher gives up per nine innings pitched. ERA is calculated by taking the total number of earned runs allowed, dividing that by innings pitched, and then multiplying that by nine.
  • Eephus Pitch: A baseball pitch that is thrown toward home plate with very little velocity. The pitch is meant to catch batters off-guard and to keep them guessing.
  • Error: A defensive miscue that allows a batter to reach base or a runner to advance extra bases. Errors generally are only awarded when players aren’t able to make a routine baseball play.
  • Extra-Base Hit: Any hit that results in extra bases, i.e. a double, triple, or home run.
  • Extra innings: A game that is tied after nine innings goes to extra innings. If the visiting team scores in extra innings, the home team has the opportunity to match or surpass their score. If the home team takes the lead at any point in extra innings, the home team wins the game.

– F –

A baseball game at night.
  • Fair Ball: A ball that is hit in fair territory.
  • Fair Territory: Refers to the space between the baselines.
  • Fielder: A defensive player who fields the ball.
  • Fielder’s Choice: Occurs when the defense fields a ground ball and gets a batter out who was already on the base paths, opposed to getting the batter out.
  • Fielding Percentage: Also known as a “fielding average”. Shows how often a player successfully fields a ball that is hit to them.
  • Fly Ball: A fly ball is a ball hit high in the air to the outfield. If a fly ball is hit high and deep enough and there are less than two outs, a runner may tag from third and score. Balls that are hit into the air but remain in the infield are “pop-ups”.
  • Force Out/Play: When a runner has to leave their base and is tagged out or called out at a base, due to the hitter putting the ball in play.
  • Foul Ball: A ball that is hit and lands outside of fair territory.
  • Foul Line: Another term for “baseline”.
  • Foul-Tip: When a batter makes slight contact with the baseball and fouls it off.
  • Four-Seam Fastball: The fastest and straightest pitch a pitcher will throw. The goal of the “four-seamer” is to overpower batters and get them to swing and miss. The pitch gets its name because four seams are visible with each rotation.
  • Free Agency: A player who doesn’t have a contractual obligation (free agent) to play for a team. This could be a result of their contract expiring or the team releasing them.
  • Fungo Bat: A lightweight baseball bat primarily used by coaches to hit to players during warmups and practices. Fungo bats are longer than normal bats and offer the most consistency when hitting/placing batted balls.
  • Full Count: A full count is when a batter has three balls and two strikes. Also known as “3-and-2” or “3-2”. If a ball is fouled off with two strikes, the batter still has a full count.

– G –

  • Games Played: The total number of games a player plays in regardless of how long he plays in them.
  • Games Started: The total number of games a player started regardless of how long he stayed in them.
  • Golden Sombrero: When a baseball player strikes out four times in one game.
  • Goose egg: When a team fails to score a run during an inning and a “0′ is put up on the scoreboard.
  • Gopher Ball: A pitch that is hit for a home run.
  • Grand slam: A grand slam is a home run that takes place when there’s a base runner on each base.
  • Greenlight: A sign that coaches give to batters that permits them to swing on a 3-0 count.
  • Ground Ball: A ground ball is a pitch that’s hit on the ground and often results in an easy out(s).
  • Ground Rule Double: A fair ball that is put into play and then bounces out of play. The batter is rewarded 2 bases.
  • Groundout: A ball that is hit on the ground that results in an out.

– H –

  • Hit: A ball that is put into play that allows the batter to safely reach base. A hit could be a ground ball through the hole, a line drive over an outfielder’s head, a home run, etc. Most hits will be sufficient enough to score a running in scoring position.
  • Hit and Run: A hit and run is when a base runner attempts to steal while the batter tries to hit the ball. When the hit and run sign is given, batters are expected to swing at less than ideal pitches to not leave the base runner(s) exposed. This allows the runner(s) to get a head start and reduce the chances of getting thrown out.
  • Hit by Pitch: When a batter is hit by a pitch thrown by the pitcher. The batter is granted first base.
  • Hold: A hold is earned by a relief pitcher that comes into the game in a save situation and maintains the lead for the next pitcher.
  • Home Plate: Five-sided rubber that batters stand next to during their at-bats. For a run to score, a runner must touch home plate, which is most likely to occur when a runner is in scoring position.
  • Home Run: A batted ball that results in the batter reaching home plate. Home runs are typically a result of the ball going over the outfield wall but can also come from inside the park home runs. These types of home runs generally are only scored by fast players and require a fortuitous bounce in the outfield.
  • Home Team: The team that plays in their stadium and bats second.
  • Hot Corner: The term refers to 3rd base due to the amount of hard-hit balls down the line that gives fielders little time to react.

– I –

A Little League baseball game.
  • Infield: The infield consists of: the pitcher, catcher, first base, second base, shortstop, and third base.
  • Infielder: A fielder who players the infield.
  • Infield Fly: A rule that applies to a ball that is popped up in the infield with runners on first and second or when the bases are loaded with less than 2 outs. The rule prevents the fielding team from purposely dropping these balls and subsequently turning double plays.
  • Inherited Runner: A player who is already on base when a new pitcher comes into the game. The pitcher inherits that base runner and that runner scoring doesn’t affect the ERA of the new pitcher.
  • Inning: Consists of a top and bottom half, with the home team batting in the bottom half. There are 9 innings in a baseball game.
  • Innings Played: The total number of innings a player plays.
  • Inside the Park Home Run: See “home run”.
  • Intentional Walk: When a batter is given a free pass to first base to take advantage of a pitching matchup or to face a weaker hitter.
  • In the Hole: The player who is due up second after the current batter. Stands near the dugout entrance. Becomes the on-deck hitter before becoming the batter.

– K –

  • K: Shorthand for “strikeout”.
  • ꓘ: A strikeout of a batter who doesn’t swing at strike three.
  • Knuckleball: A baseball pitch that is thrown to prevent rotation during flight. This causes the ball to break and move erratically.

– L –

  • Launch Angle: Launch angle is the angle at which a ball leaves a player’s bat when it’s struck. Launch angle is a critical factor in hitting a home run.
  • Left on Base: Runners that are still on base when the third out of the inning is recorded.
  • Line Drive: A ball that is hit hard and low to any spot of the baseball field.
  • Lineup: See “batting order”.
  • Lineup Card: The card that contains a team’s lineup and starting players, which is submitted to the umpires before each game.
  • Loss: Statistic earned by pitchers of losing teams who leave the game when their team is losing and ultimately ends up losing the game.

– M –

  • Mendoza Line: The Mendoza Line is a term used for a .200 batting average. The term is jokingly named after Mario Mendoza, who hit around .200 for his career. If a player is said to be hitting below the Mendoza Line, he’s hitting below .200.
  • Moon Shot: A moon shot is a towering fly ball that results in a home run.
  • Mound: The rectangular rubber that a pitcher throws from during the game.
  • Mound Visits Remaining (MVR): A counting measure showing how many mound visits a team can legally take during the remainder of a game under Major League Baseball rules instituted in 2018.

– N –

  • National League: The National League consists of 15 teams: the NL East (Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals), NL Central (Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukie Brewers, Pittsburg Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals) and NL West (Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants).
  • Neighborhood Play: When a middle infielder attempts to turn a double play and doesn’t make contact with second, but the umpire still calls the base runner at second out.
  • No-Hitter: A no-hitter is thrown when a starting pitcher throws a complete game without allowing a hit.
  • No-Trade Clause: A no-trade clause allows a baseball player to veto trades that involve them going to certain teams. For example, a player may not want to get traded to a team(s) that don’t have a chance of making the playoffs and may list those teams in a no-trade clause.
  • Number of Pitches: Total pitchers thrown by a pitcher during a game.

– O –

A professional baseball player taking a swing at the plate.
  • Offense: Encompasses the batting team’s ability to hit the ball, move base runners over and score runs.
  • On-Base Percentage: This shows how often a player reaches bases. On-base percentage benefits from hits, walks, and HBPs.
  • On-Base Plus Slugging (OPS): A statistic that combines a hitter’s on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
  • On-Deck: The next batter due up after the current batter. Stands in the on-deck circle while the batter before him bats.
  • On-Deck Circle: The designated area where the next batter stands before batting.
  • Out: An out is recorded when the fielding team gets the batter out or one of the base runners on the bases out. Each team gets three outs an inning.
  • Out in Order: Occurs when a batter on a team bats out of the order listed on the lineup card. If the other team appeals after the at-bat, the batter is called out and all base runners must go back to the base that they were on. If the batting team realizes its error during the at bat, the team may replace the batter with the correct player inheriting the batter’s count. If a team is called for batting out of order after a pitch is made to the next batter, the original batter who batted out of turn is now considered to have batted in turn.
  • Outfield: Consists of the grass beyond the infield and encompasses the outfielders.
  • Outfielder: The positions in the outfield include: leftfield, centerfield, and right field.
  • Outfield Assist: Outfielders can earn assists when they throw runners out at bases.

– P –

  • Painting the Corners: A pitcher who throws strikes that hit the corners of the strike zone.
  • Passed Ball: A ball that gets past the catcher, that had a realistic opportunity of being blocked. A passed ball on strike three could allow a batter to reach base.
  • Payoff Pitch: A pitch thrown with a full count.
  • Pennant: A league championship. A team that wins their league and makes it to the world series is said to have won the pennant.
  • Perfect Game: A perfect game is when a pitcher throws the entire game and doesn’t allow a player on base.
  • Pickoff: A move by the pitcher to attempt to throw one of the runners on base out instead of throwing the ball home. Once a player makes a move toward home, they have to throw the ball home. Not doing so is an illegal pitching motion and will result in a balk.
  • Pinch Hitter: A pinch hitter baseball player that is substituted for another player in the batting order for one plate appearance. The player substituted from the game is removed from the game and can’t reenter the game. The player who pinch hits fills the position of the removed player. A pinch hitter is typically used for pitchers who are due up to bat but aren’t going to pitch another inning.
  • Pinch Runner: A pinch runner can be used to substitute for a base runner on the base. The runner substituted out is removed from the game and the pinch runner who came in can fill that player’s position or move to another defensive position.
  • Pitch: The act of a pitcher throwing the ball home. Pitchers keep the batter guessing by switching up which pitches they throw, the velocity of their pitches, location, trajectory, and more.
  • Pitcher: The player who throws the ball to batters.
  • Pitching Rotation: The pitching rotation is the order in which the starting pitchers on a team start games. The ace or No. 1 starter on a team’s staff generally pitches the first game of the year and the rest of the rotation goes from there.
  • Pitchout: A ball that’s intentionally thrown outside so that the batter can’t make contact with the ball, to try to throw out a base stealer.
  • Pitch Count: The pitch count refers to the number of balls and strikes a batter has. A ‘1-2’ count means the batter has one ball and two strikes.
  • Plate Appearance: Similar to at-bats but still count sacrifice plays, walks, etc.
  • Platinum Sombrero: When a baseball player strikes out fives time in one game.
  • Player Option: An option put into a contract that allows a player to choose if he’d like to play an additional year for his current team. If a player declines his player option, he becomes a free agent. A player thinking they’re not getting paid what they’re worth or on a bad team might decline their player option.
  • Pop Fly: A high fly ball that is hit in the infield or just beyond it.
  • Position Player: A position player is any player on the baseball field beside the pitcher.
  • Power Hitter: A power hitter is a player who hits a lot of extra base hits and has a high slugging percentage. A power hitter usually hits somewhere between fourth and sixth in the lineup.
  • Pull Hitter: A hitter who pulls the ball to the side he’s hitting. A right-handed pull hitter hits the ball to third base frequently, while a left-handed pull hitter hits the ball more often to first base.
  • Punch and Judy: A type of hitter who hits the ball weakly to all parts of the field.
  • Putout: A player earns a putout of he’s the last person to touch the ball to record an out. For example, a ground ball hit to shortstop that then throws to first base to throw the batter out results in the first baseman earning a putout. Catchers also earn putouts on strikeouts.

– Q –

  • Quality Start: A starting pitcher earns a quality start when they pitch six innings or more and they allow three earned runs or less.
  • Quick Pitch: Major League Baseball rules dictate that a quick pitch is an illegal move/pitching motion where a pitch is thrown before the batter gets ready in the batter’s box. With runners on base, a quick pitch results in a balk. Without runners on base, the result is a ball.

– R –

A Little League baseball player committing an error.
  • Reached on Error: Describes a play where the batter gets on base due to the defense making an error.
  • Relief Pitcher: A relief pitcher is any pitcher that comes into the game after it starts. Typically, a set up pitcher will pitch the seventh and/or eighth innings, while the closer pitches the ninth.
  • Retire the Side: Another way of saying the third out of an inning is recorded.
  • Retired in Order: When the first three players of an inning are recorded out. Known as a “1-2-3” inning.
  • Road Trip: When a team goes on the road to play at another team’s stadium. Longer road trips involve playing away from home for multiple series in a row.
  • Rookie: A baseball player playing his first season in Major League Baseball.
  • Rubber: See “mound”.
  • Run: A run is tallied each time a base runner touches home. The team with the most runs at the end of the game wins.
  • Run Batted In (RBI): A batter earns an RBI when his plate appearance results in a player scoring. If the batter hits a double and the base runner from second (scoring position) scores, he earns an RBI. If a batter hits a home run with the bases loaded, he earns four RBIs.
  • Run-down: Occurs when a base runner is trapped in between two bases and the defensive team attempts to tag him out. Another term for instances like this is “pickle”.
  • Runner: Also referred to as a “base runner”. A runner is a batter who gets on base and is still on base.
  • Runners on the Corners: A phrase used to describe when there are runners on first and third.

– S –

  • Sacrifice Bunt: When a bunt is laid down to move over a base runner on base. Sacrifice bunts are greats for moving runners into scoring position from first base or moving runners onto third base so they can score on sacrifice flies or passed balls.
  • Sacrifice Fly: A sacrifice fly is a ball that’s hit deep enough to the outfield to allow a base runner to tag up from third base to score.
  • Safe: When a base runner successfully makes it to a base or plate.
  • Save: A save is a statistic for relief pitchers who come in to finish and win games for their teams. To earn a save, a relief pitcher must enter the game with a lead of no more than three runs or if the tying run is on base, at bat, or on deck.
  • Score: The comparison of how many runs each team has scored. The winning team’s score is always listed first. For example, you can lose 8-4 but you can’t lose 4-8.
  • Scoring Position: A term used to describe runners on second and/or third base. Runners in scoring position should generally score on a base hit.
  • Setup Man: A relief pitcher comes into the game when there’s a save situation and helps maintain his team’s lead. The setup man usually pitches in the 8th inning with the closer coming into the game in the 9th inning.
  • Seventh Inning Stretch: Takes place in the middle of the seventh inning and involves the crowd getting up to stretch and get loose. During the seventh-inning stretch, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is sung.
  • Shift: When baseball players adjust their positioning to account for hitters who hit the ball to certain parts of the field. Against pure pull hitters, the defense may put three infielders on either side of the infield.
  • Shoestring Catch: A running catch made near the ground, usually by an outfielder.
  • Shutout: A shutout is when a starting pitcher throws a complete game without giving up any runs.
  • Signs: Gestures that a coach makes to relay information to players and what they should. Coaches on third base give signs to batters and runners; they may tell batters to take a pitch or swing away and tell runners to steal. Coaches may also give signs to catchers from the dugout to relay what pitch should be thrown.
  • Single: When a baseball player hits the ball and reaches first base.
  • Sinker: A type of fastball that has downward action and is more likely to induce a ground ball.
  • Slide: A move runners use to slide along the ground to try and reach base safely on close plays. Sliding helps players not overrun bases and allows runners to go all-out into a base. When players don’t slide, they have to slow down to make sure they don’t overrun the base.
  • Slider: A breaking ball that moves latterly as it reaches home plate.
  • Slugger: A slugger is a power hitter that has a high slugging percentage.
  • Slugging Percentage: Statistic that represents how many bases a player gets on average per at bat. Each base a player earns equates to “1” base for the purpose of slugging percentage. A player who hits a home run earns “4” bases that count toward slugging percentage.
  • Slump: A stretch of time where a player is struggling to hit and his batting average drastically drops from its expected value.
  • Slurve: A baseball pitch that is thrown as a curveball but with the velocity of a slider.
  • Southpaw: A left-handed pitcher.
  • Spitball: An illegal baseball pitch that involves the application of spit/saliva to the ball.
  • Splitter: An off-speed pitch that looks like a fastball to batters but then drops suddenly.
  • Squeeze Play: A play that involved the batter bunting while a base runner from third base steals home. Squeeze plays are extremely risky as a misplaced bunt or a batter that fails to make contact with the ball, will likely result in the runner on third getting tagged out at home.
  • Starter: A pitcher who starts a game.
  • Steal: When a base runner tries to advance a base, while the pitcher is in the act of throwing to the plate. The best stealers know which pitchers have a slow-time to home and poor pickoff moves, and take advantage of this by extending their leadoffs.
  • Stolen Base: A base that is successfully stolen by a base runner. Stolen bases play a critical role in getting players into scoring position.
  • Strike: A thrown ball that is called a strike by the umpire. For a pitch to be called a strike, the ball needs to cross the strike zone or be close enough to the corners of the zone to be called a strike by the umpire.
  • Strikeout: A strikeout happens when a batter gets three strikes and is subsequently called out. In instances where a batter strikes out but the ball is dropped, the batter has the opportunity to reach first base. If the batter does reach first base, he still earns a strikeout in the scorebook.
  • Striking Out the Side: When a pitcher strikes out three batters in an inning.
  • Strike Zone: The strike zone is the area a pitched ball must pass through to be called a strike. The strike zone generally extends between a batter’s knees and upper torso, while crossing over the plate. While it can be frustrating, it’s important to know that an umpire’s interpretation of the strike zone may differ from other umpires.
  • Switch Hitter: A hitter who is capable of batting from the right or left side of the plate.

– T –

A college baseball player at the plate.
  • Tag: The act of touching a runner with the baseball (glove or barehanded) to try and record an out.
  • Tagging Up: A term used to describe the act of a base runner staying on base until a ball is caught to try and advance to the next base. Tagging up is generally done from second or third base on balls hit deep into the outfield.
  • Taking a Pitch: A pitch where a batter has no intention of swinging despite the pitch and location.
  • Texas Leaguer: A Texas Leaguer is a blooper that falls between an infielder and outfielder for a hit.
  • The Stretch: Also known as the “set”, which comes from the fact that the pitcher has to come set or completely stop moving before throwing home with runners on base. A pitcher throwing the stretch has his back food on the mound with his front foot forward. The stretch allows a pitcher a faster time to home compared to the windup and is best utilized with runners on base. Throwing from the stretch, compared to the windup, also prevents the likelihood that a base runner can steal.
  • Throw: The act of propelling the ball with your arm.
  • Top: The top half of an inning where the visiting team bats.
  • Total Bases: The total number of bases a player gains during a game or season.
  • Trade Deadline: A set date that all trades must be made by. This prevents teams from trading down the stretch and in the playoffs.
  • Triple: When a player hits the ball and makes it to third base. Triples are very uncommon and usually require a good bounce off the outfield wall or for an outfield to misplay a ball. Triples are sometimes referred to as three baggers.
  • Triple Play: A baseball play that involves the fielding team recording all three outs of an inning during one at-bat.
  • Two-Seam Fastball: Not as fast as the four-seamer, but one of a pitcher’s fastest pitches. The pitch has more movement than a four-seamer, moving in the same direction as the arm it’s being thrown from.

– U –

  • Umpire: Also referred to as “blue”. In MLB, there are four umpires on a crew for regular season play. One behind the plate who calls balls and strikes and one near each of the bases to make calls on close plays and to determine if batted balls remain fair.
  • Uncle Charlie: Uncle Charlie is another name for a curveball.
  • Unearned Run: An unearned run is the result of a base runner reaching base on an error and then scoring. Unearned runs don’t count against a pitcher’s earned run average (ERA).
  • Utility Player: A utility player is capable of playing multiple positions at a high level. Utility baseball players are often used as defensive replacements.

– V –

  • Velocity: The speed at which a pitch reaches home plate. Of all the pitches, fastballs have the highest velocity, and changeups have the slowest.

– W –

  • Walk: A batter gets to walk to first after he receives four balls in an at-bat. This means the pitcher had trouble hitting the strike zone.
  • Walk-Off: This term refers to an act by the home team that wins the game. Walk-offs can only occur in the ninth inning or later. Most walk-offs come off hits, but there can also be walk-off walks, walk-off balks, and more.
  • Walks and Hits Per Inning (WHIP): Statistic that helps determine on average how many runners are allowed on base each inning by a pitcher. To calculate WHIP, you add the total number of walks and hits given up and divide that by innings pitched.
  • War: Wins above replacement. The statistic shows how many more wins a team has with a baseball player than they would have with a replacement-level player in his place.
  • Warning Track: The dirt area near the outfield fence is a different material from the outfield grass. The purpose of the warning track is to allow outfielders a better idea of where they are to the wall so they don’t run into it.
  • Warning Track Power: A term used to describe a player with power, but not enough to hit consistent home runs.
  • Wheelhouse: A hitter’s power zone.
  • Whiff: When a batter swings and misses.
  • Whip: Walks and hits per innings pitched.
  • Wild Pitch: A thrown-ball by the pitcher that gets by the catcher, who didn’t have a reasonable chance of blocking the ball.
  • Win: Statistic earned by pitchers of winning teams who leave the game when their team is winning and ultimately ends up winning the game.
  • Windup: The windup consists of the pitcher standing directly on the mound or right in front of the mound with both feet facing home plate. Pitchers throwing from the windup have the option of stepping behind the mound with their front throwing foot, before ultimately bringing it forward to home plate.
  • Winning Percentage: The percentage of time a team wins a baseball game.
  • World Series: The final 7-game series of the MLB playoffs, that crowns the champion of the league. The World Series dates back to 1903.

Steven G.

My name is Steven and I love everything sports! I created this website to share my passion with all of you. Enjoy!

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