Baseball Cut Off Positions Cheat Sheet

Throw out more runners and cut down on extra bases given to your opponent by executing  cut off plays correctly.

 

Studying the correct baseball cut off positions for each position on the field should be a point of emphasis for every coach and player at all levels of baseball. Teams that effectively execute cut offs and relays can keep the opposition out of big innings by limiting the extra bases they are able to take. In order for these to work, players must be strong in their communication. As the outfielders are going after the ball, infielders should be calling out the base that they are ultimately trying to keep the runner from reaching. Practice cuts and relays and communication regularly. This is not a concept that players will grasp in one or two practices. This must be mixed into practice plans throughout the year.


 

TERMS

 

Sure Double:  A sure double is a ball hit past the outfielders that will result in no less than a double for the hitter.  It is important to note this since the middle infielders will not cover 2nd base on a sure double.  The first baseman will trail the runner.

 

Trailer: The first baseman (when not the cutoff man to the plate) will trail the hitter on a sure double.  He is not racing the hitter to 2nd base.  His timing should be to arrive at 2nd base as the hitter/runner rounds 2nd base and the throw arrives at the cutoff man.

 

Double Cut:  *YOUNGER PLAYERS ONLY* The double cut is used on a sure double. Typically a double cut is only used for younger players who do not have the arm strength to get the ball back in to the infield with a single relay throw. Another occasion to use double cut would be on a field that has very deep fences or no fence at all. The back side infielder will first rotate to 2nd base until it is determined it is a sure double (he can make that determination on his own). The catcher will also call “double cut” to assure him that he is supposed to be the second cutoff man. He should position himself roughly halfway between the first cutoff man and the intended target base.

 

Tandem Relay:  *ADVANCED PLAYERS* This is often referred to as a double cut; however, we will refer to this as a tandem relay to avoid confusion, since a true double cut is needed at younger levels when a ball is relayed twice. The tandem relay is used on a sure double. The catcher will alert the infielders that it is a Tandem Relay and that the opposite infielder should now go out to be the back man in the tandem. He will first rotate to 2nd base until it is determined it is a sure double (he can also make that determination on his own before he hears the catcher). He should position himself roughly 20 ft. behind the front relay man. The outfielder throws to either player, but should aim high to the first man. Both relay players must communicate with each other who will take the throw once it is in flight.


 

 

VERBAL CALLS

 

Timing of the call is important. Too early, and a poor decision could be made because the play has not developed enough. Too late, and the relay man may not be able to follow the direction of the player who calls it.

 

One, two, three, or four: If the ball needs to be helped to the target base or redirected to another base, the player at the target base will call the number of the base that he wants it to go.

 

Cut or Cut Hold: If there is no play at the target base or any other base, the call will be, “CUT-HOLD”, or just “CUT!” The cutoff man will then just return the ball to the pitcher.

 

No Call: Anytime no call is made, the relay man will let the ball pass through to the target base.  The relay man can pop his glove, and fake a cut to attempt keeping the trail runner at their current base.


 

 

CUTOFF POSITIONING

 

No Runners On Base – Single to LF
POSITIONACTION
PMoves toward 1B
CTrails Runner to 1B
1BBacks up Potential Throw to 2B by being in line from ball to 2B
2BCovers 2B
SSLines up Throw to 2B
3BMoves Toward Mound for Potential Deflected Ball
LFFields Batted Ball
CFBacks Up LF
RFMoves to Back up Throw to 2B

 

 

No Runners On Base – Single to CF
POSITIONACTION
PBacks up 2B
CTrails Runner to 1B
1BConcedes bag to Runner then circles behind to cover 1B
2BCovers 2B
SSLines up Throw to 2B
3BMoves Toward Mound for Potential Deflected Ball
LFBacks up CF
CFFields Batted Ball
RFBacks up CF

 

 

No Runners On Base – Single to RF
POSITIONACTION
PBacks up 1B on Potential throw behind from RF
CTrails Runner to 1B
1BAttempts at Batted Ball and Stays Away from 1B to allow Runner to Round Bag
2BLines up Throw to 2B
SSCovers 2B
3BBacks up Potential Throw to 2B
LFBacks up Throw to 2B
CFBacks up RF
RFFields Batted Ball

 

 

Runner at 1B – Single to LF
POSITIONACTION
PBacks up 3B
CStays at Home Plate Ready to Back up Pitcher
1BBacks up 2B
2BCovers 2B
SSLines up Throw to 3B
3BCovers 3B
LFFields Batted Ball; Throws Strike to SS
CFBacks Up LF
RFBacks up 2B for Potential Throw Behind

 

 

Runner at 1B – Single to CF
POSITIONACTION
PBacks up 3B
CCovers Home
1BClears 1B for Runner and Covers after Runner Rounds
2BCovers 2B
SSLines up Throw to 3B
3BCovers 3B
LFBacks Up CF
CFFields Batted Ball; Throws Strike to SS
RFBacks up CF

 

 

Runner at 1B – Single to RF
POSITIONACTION
PBacks up 3B
CStays at Home Plate Ready to Back up Pitcher
1BClears 1B for Runner and Covers after Runner Rounds
2BCovers 2B
SSCut Man to 3B
3BCovers 3B
LFBacks Up 3B
CFBacks Up RF
RFFields Batted Ball; Throws to 3B

 

 

Runner at 2B – Single to LF
POSITIONACTION
PBacks Up Home
CCovers Home
1BClears 1B for Runner and Covers after Runner Rounds; If Ball is hit to Left of SS he moves to mound area to be cut to home
2BCovers 2B
SSCovers 3B
3BLines Up Throw Home
LFFields Batted Ball; Throws Home
CFBacks Up LF
RFMoves to Infield Area

 

 

Runner at 2B – Single to CF
POSITIONACTION
PBacks Up Home
CCovers Home
1BCutoff Man behind Mound Area in line with Home
2BCovers 1B
SSCovers 2B
3BCovers 3B after Runner Rounds
LFBacks Up 3B
CFFields Batted Ball; Throws Home
RFBack up CF

 

 

Runner at 2B – Single to RF
POSITIONACTION
PBacks Up Home
CCovers Home
1BCutoff Man in line with Home
2BCovers 1B
SSCovers 2B
3BCovers 3B after Runner Rounds
LFBacks Up 2B Area
CFBacks Up RF
RFFields Batted Ball; Throws Home

 

 

Runners at 1st & 2B – Single to LF
POSITIONACTION
PSplits the Difference Between 3rd and Home; Backs Up Base Being Thrown to
CCovers Home
1BCovers First After Round
2BCovers 2B
SSCovers 3B
3BCut Man to Home in Infield Grass
LFFields Batted Ball; Throws Home
CFBacks Up LF
RFMoves in Toward Infield

 

 

Runners at 1st & 2B – Single to CF
POSITIONACTION
PSplits the Difference Between 3rd and Home; Backs Up Base Being Thrown to
CCovers Home
1BCut off Man for throw Home
2BCovers 2B
SSLines Up Throw to 3B
3BCovers 3B
LFBacks Up CF
CFFields Batted Ball; Throws Home Through Cut Man
RFBacks Up CF

 

 

Runners at 1st & 2B – Single to RF
POSITIONACTION
PSplits the Difference Between 3rd and Home; Backs Up Base Being Thrown to
CCovers Home
1BCut Off Man For Throw Home
2BCovers 2B
SSLines Up Throw to 3B
3BCovers 3B
LFMoves Toward Infield
CFBacks Up RF
RFFields Batted Ball; Throws Home Through Cut Man

 

 

No Runners On Base – Sure Double to LF (Toward Foul Line)
POSITIONACTION
PBacks Up 3B
CCovers Home
1BTrails Runner to 2B
2BCovers 3B
SSFront of Tandem Relay or Double Cut
3BBack of Tandem Relay or Double Cut
LFFields Batted Ball; Throws Strike to Tandem Relay
CFBacks Up LF
RFMoves in Toward Infield

 

 

No Runners On Base – Sure Double to Left Center
POSITIONACTION
PBacks Up 3B
CCovers Home
1BTrails Runner to 2B
2BBack of Tandem Relay or Double Cut
SSFront of Tandem Relay or Double Cut
3BCovers 3B
LFGoes For Batted Ball; Throws Strike to Tandem Relay
CFGoes For Batted Ball; Throws Strike to Tandem Relay
RFMoves in Toward Infield

 

 

No Runners On Base – Sure Double to Right Center
POSITIONACTION
PBacks Up 3B
CCovers Home
1BTrails Runner to 2B
2BFront of Tandem Relay or Double Cut
SSBack of Tandem Relay or Double Cut
3BCovers 3B
LFMoves in Toward Infield
CFGoes For Batted Ball; Throws Strike to Tandem Relay
RFGoes For Batted Ball; Throws Strike to Tandem Relay

 

 

No Runners On Base – Sure Double to RF (Toward Foul Line)
POSITIONACTION
PBacks Up 3B
CCovers Home
1BCut Off Man for Throw Home
2BFront of Tandem Relay or Double Cut
SSBack of Tandem Relay or Double Cut
3BCovers 3B
LFMoves in Toward Infield
CFBacks Up RF
RFFields Batted Ball; Throws Strike to Tandem Relay

* Sure Doubles with a Runner at First – Tandem or Double Cut will Line up to Home Plate

 

 

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