What Is a Quick Pitch in Baseball? A Detailed Overview


A pitcher throws a pitch at Coors Field.

When watching baseball games, you may wonder why pitchers don’t try to sneak in surprise pitches past the batters. Well, it’s not a new idea. It’s called a ‘quick pitch’.

So, what exactly is a quick pitch in baseball?

A quick pitch in baseball is when a pitcher delivers a pitch from a set position without coming to a stop before the batter settles into the batter’s box. This type of pitch is dangerous and illegal since it can catch the batter off-guard and lead to serious injury.

There are a lot of rules concerning a quick pitch, mainly because it can cause serious injury. If a fastball is thrown before the batter is properly prepared, and if it were to hit them, it could spell disaster. Throughout the rest of this article, we’ll cover the nuances of a quick pitch.

What Is a Quick Pitch?

A quick pitch is a pitch delivered by the pitcher without any pause or stop beforehand and to an unprepared batter. It is an extremely dangerous pitch—not in terms of throwing, but in the worst-case scenario, it can miss the plate and seriously injure the batter. Because of this possibility, it’s deemed an illegal pitch.

And while batters may wear padding or guards, a quick pitch that takes them by surprise can be extremely painful. Since the pitch involves the pitching not coming to a complete stop, this type of pitch doesn’t give the batter enough time to move out of the way or turn to protect themselves with their guards.

Are Quick Pitches Illegal in MLB?

Yes, quick pitches are illegal in Major League Baseball (MLB). This is because of the potential wild nature of the ball if the pitch comes too far inside. Batters that are taken by surprise or are not set for a wild pitch are defenseless and are unlikely to react in time to mitigate an injury.

Therefore, the pitcher must make a discernable pause or stop before delivering the pitch. A quick pitch is deemed also to fake out runners and batters and is considered an act of deception in the game.

MLB Quick Pitch Rule

A view of Yankee Stadium from left-center field.

MLB Rules, section 8.05, states that a quick pitch is an illegal pitch. The consequences differ by the situation of the game, but the umpire is the judge for determining the legality of the pitch. If there are runners on base, the play is considered a balk, and each runner advances one base. If there are no runners on, the ball is considered dead and counts as a ball on the batter’s count.

Also according to Rule 5.07, the pitcher must come to a pause or stop in the set position before delivering the ball. A quick pitch violates this rule as well, as the pitcher can be deemed to have not been in a legal position to throw the ball.

When Is the Batter Considered Ready?

The MLB gives the batter up to 20 seconds to get in position from the time the ball is returned to the pitcher. A batter must have both feet in the box and have time to take their batting stance to be considered up to bat.

Often a batter is deemed ready to receive a pitch when they’re in their batting stance and they’re turned to face the pitcher. Any time before that—such as a head or bat down, or the ever-popular front hand-out signal, the batter is not ready.

Does Johnny Cueto Quick Pitch?

The quick pitch rule is only enforced if it’s called by the umpire, and umpires are not pitch analyzing robots. To say if one pitcher or another quick pitches is completely up to the umpire.

The MLB has taken the firm stance against quick pitching, and many pitchers do attempt to sneak a quick pitch now and again. The umpire is the sole determiner of a quick pitch. Quick pitches in baseball can be very dangerous, and in some respects are a form of cheating.

The deceptive nature of these pitches, along with the potential for harm, makes it an illegal pitch to throw. And while it may seem like this is a rather stringent rule, it’s to keep players safe so we can continue to enjoy watching the sport of baseball.

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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