Steve Nicollerat discusses how to teach a relay when a ball is hit to center field with man on 1st. He explains that the lead cut off man is the second baseman.
The cut off man needs to begin to catch the ball and position his feet for the throw to third. Then he needs to make sure that the outfielder can reach third in one throw.
If a ball is hit deep into the outfield and an outfielder doesn’t have enough arm strength to get to the base from where they fielded the ball, they must tag another player, typically a middle infielder, to become the relay man. The relay man should position themselves somewhere between the base where the ball was fielded and the target base.
The trail cut off man, usually the second baseman, should be about 25-30 feet behind the lead guy. Their job is to be the eyes and brains of the lead guy – constantly communicating with him whether to line up left or right, or to throw or hold.
The lead cut off man should start his positioning as soon as he sees the ball leave the thrower’s glove hand side. The trail cut off man should also be on the lookout for overthrows and must be ready to make a quick adjustment. As the play continues, both the lead cut off and trail cut off man should keep their heads on a swivel.
The Relay Man
If the outfielder does not have the arm strength to get the ball to the base from where they field it, another player, usually an infielder becomes the relay man. This player will line up somewhere between the outfielder and third base. The goal is to position themselves so that if the throw is overthrown it will still reach third base.
Once the relay man is in position, they need to catch the ball with their glove side up. This will prevent them from getting short hopped by the throw and allowing other runners to advance.
A new technology called PitchCom is being used in Major League Baseball to help catcher’s relay signs to pitchers. This device is expected to eliminate sign-stealing from the game altogether. It is also being tested in Minor League Baseball this season.
In order for a relay play to work the outfielder must cleanly field the ball and make a good throw to their relay man. The infielder needs to be in position as soon as they see the ball leave the outfielders hands. They must be ready to catch it on their glove side and also be positioned to step in front of the runner and apply the tag.
The shortstop will be the lead cut off man on this play and the second baseman will be the trail man. They will both be ready to intercept the ball and back up the runner in case of an overthrow from the outfielder.
As a result of the Astros sign-stealing scandal, Major League Baseball is allowing pitchers and catchers to use new devices to relay signals during games starting this season. The system, called PitchCom, is expected to eliminate the temptation for teams to steal signs and give away information about the next pitch to opposing hitters.
For the infielders involved in baseball relays and cutoffs, proper defensive positioning is crucial. The middle infielders must be able to recognize the situation and get into position quickly. They must also be able to make the relay throw as accurately and quickly as possible.
For example, a single to center field with a man on 2nd base, the shortstop should run towards 3rd base and cover that bag (this responsibility will be different if there is no one on 1st). The trail cut off man should stay about 20 – 30 feet behind the front guy. They should be constantly looking back at the runner and communicating with the lead guy letting them know whether to line up left or right, and to hold or throw.
Players should practice this drill a lot to develop good footwork and the ability to transfer the ball from their glove to their hand quickly. It’s also a fun team competition that helps the players improve their ability to communicate effectively. MLB중계