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  • Youth baseball players and coaches wanting to improve their level of play will need to

  • tackle the job of the cutoff man. This higher level skill is not an easy one to master.

  • One of the overlooked skills in youth baseball is the correct way to be the cutoff man. At

  • the younger levels we start by helping players know which infielder covers the bag and which

  • is the cutoff man and then progress to helping them run to the right depth...not too deep

  • and not too shallow depending on where the ball is fielded.

  • As youth players progress in their ability and baseball knowledge, coaches will want

  • to teach the importance of cutting off throws while positioned in line with the intended

  • base. Furthermore coaches will want to teach them when to cut the throw and when not to

  • cut the throw. That higher level awareness and communication takes time and practice.

  • In most of these examples the players are positioned correctly, in line with the base

  • the ball needs to get to as well as at an appropriate distance.

  • Let’s look at them one at a time beginning with the play that didn’t line up correctly.

  • These players are 10U travel ball players, so a bit lower level, but this does show us

  • what happens when the cutoff is wrong. As the outfielder is fielding it’s obvious

  • that there is no play at 2nd base and the throw is going to need to go to third. The

  • fielder is very deep and should have a cutoff, but here we see the cut off is inline with

  • 2nd base….or more likely this player simply went to where he always goes to cut any ball

  • regardless of the game situation. Had this shortstop ran to cut a throw to third base

  • that runner wouldn’t have gone to 3rd base, but even if he did, he would have been out.

  • You can clearly see in this shot the ball traveling far further than was necessary.

  • In addition, had the shortstop been in the correct position, the third baseman, seeing

  • the throw and the knowing where the runner was could have called off the cut and taken

  • the throw from the outfielder. But this type of skill and awareness level needs to be coached

  • during practices so players know when and how to communicate correctly.

  • The rest of the clips we are using are from a game between PA & SC during the 2015 LLWS.

  • In this first example the SS dives for the ball but immediately gets us, signals he’s

  • the cut, and gets in line with second base. Since it’s obvious the runner is staying

  • at first on this play, it is rather routine. Even so, every player should always respond

  • to ever hit correctly so when the play finally IS close, they are in the habit of being in

  • the correct position.

  • This next example we have the same players involved, but here the play might have been

  • close. Typically it is the catcher who communicates how the cut should be handled. Each team may

  • have a different system, but a typical method is: Catcher yells clearly and forcefully,

  • cut,2 the cutoff cuts the ball and throws to 2nd base. Cut 4 to home, etc. If the catcher

  • simply saysCutthe ball is cut but held. A cutoff man might be expecting the

  • play to be at 2nd base, but when he hears Cut, 1 he knows the runner is retreating and

  • where to go before he has the ball. If the catcher yells pass, the fielder does not cut

  • the ball and lets it pass. If the catcher says nothing, the fielder needs to determine

  • what to do, and given the situation, a pitcher or first baseman might interject. However,

  • at these world series games the crowd volume can be so loud that infielders will not hear.

  • In this final clip we are looking at, the second baseman becomes the cutoff to home

  • plate. Presumably the catcher yelled CUT because the runner going home wasn’t a possible

  • out and no other plays were possible

  • Like I said earlier, the volume at these WS games can be loud and we see here that the

  • second baseman checks the runner's position just before cutting the ball. The outfielder

  • makes a throw that can reach home, but is low enough to be cut which it is.

Youth baseball players and coaches wanting to improve their level of play will need to

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A2 cutoff cut ball catcher base runner

Great examples of baseball cutoff man - how to be the cutoff

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    Pedroli Li posted on 2016/10/25
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