Baseball Pickoffs

When a baserunner is leading off on a base, the pitcher can throw a pick in an attempt to tag him out. Get ready to learn about pickoffs in baseball.


The pitcher may have the option to get a runner out by quickly throwing the baseball to a baseman for a tag out.

Baseball Pitcher

In this tutorial, we will learn about pickoffs and how they can surprise runners for a quick out.


A pickoff describes a situation in baseball where the pitcher will quickly throw the baseball to 1st base in hopes of catching the baserunner off-base for a tag out.

Safe vs. Unsafe

A baserunner is always either safe or unsafe relative to a base. A runner must be touching the bag with a part of his body to be considered safe. If he is advancing between bases he is unsafe.

Leading Off

Baserunners are notorious for leading off from a base in hopes of getting an early start at advancing to the next base. If a baserunner is overconfident in his leadoff, he may be susceptible to a pickoff.

Baseball Leading Off

1st Base Pickoffs

Pickoffs most often occur at first base. Before a pitch, the pitcher will quickly throw the baseball to the first baseman, who tries to tag out the baserunner with the baseball. If the first baseman tags the runner before the runner touches first base, the runner is out and the pickoff is successful.

Baseball 1st Base

Hidden Ball Trick

Sometimes, in order to pick runners off, infielders will deceive runners. They will pretend that they do not have the baseball -- by hiding it, pretending to throw it, etc. -- then quickly tag the oblivious runner off when he steps off the base. This is a pretty rare feat, and not something that is commonly practiced.

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