Baseball Batting Out Of Turn Rules
One of the core aspects of the rules of baseball is the batting lineup for each team. Both teams report their lineups before the game, and that is the order their hitters are supposed to hit throughout the game. If a team does not follow their reported order, there are varying consequences they must face. The remainder of this piece will discuss the “Batting Out of Turn” rule in greater detail.
Officially, a team is deemed to be batting out of turn when they do not follow their lineup as they reported it before the game. For example, if Player A is supposed to hit after Player B, but Player B comes up to bat before Player A, then the team is batting out of order. Interestingly, it is not on the umpire to notice that a team is not following their designated order. Rather, it is on the opposition to report the infraction. Depending on whether and when they do report the violation, there are varying consequences. Those penalties are talked about next.
Depending on when the batting out turn violation is noticed and reported, the penalty varies. If it is noticed while the at-bat in question is still going on, then the batting team can fix their mistake without penalty and send the correct player up to bat. Thus, if a team thinks the player is batting out of turn, they wait until the at-bat is concluded.
If the out-of-turn batter is reported between the end of that player’s at-bat and the next pitch, then the player who batted out of order is called out no matter what they did in his at-bat. Therefore, it is really only worth reporting the violation if the batter gets on base.
Lastly, if a team does not report the violation until after the next at-bat starts, then the violation is considered legal, and they are now considered to have batted in order. Thus, when it comes to reporting a batting out of turn violation, timing is everything.
- During a game, a manager chooses to move their fifth batter, who is not performing well, to the end of the batting lineup without notice. The opposing team notices this during the next at-bat and alerts the umpire during the at-bat. The offending manager is told to replace the incorrect batter with the correct one at no penalty.
- During a game, a player is distracted and misses when their turn to bat comes up. The player who is hitting behind them does not want the game to be delayed, so they quickly take the at-bat. They hit a home run, and the opposing team does not realize that they batted out of order until the next at-bat begins. The home run counts because they did not realize the mistake in time.
- During a game, a team purposefully sends their best hitter up in a big situation, thinking the other team will not notice. They get a hit, but before the next pitch is thrown, the other team notifies the umpire. The batter is called out.
Throughout MLB and baseball history, there have been varying instances where a team batted out of order. One of the earliest examples came in 1881, when Davy Force of the Buffalo Bison was called out for batting out of order. Lots of the infractions came early on in the history of baseball, as players were still getting used to the game, and it was much easier to cheat due to the loose atmosphere the game was played in.
Since the turn of the 21st century, there have been 14 noticed instances of a team batting out of order. By comparison, there were 14 alone between 1881 and 1891. The most recent occurrence of batting out of turn took place in 2018, when the New York Mets batted out of order against the Cincinnati Reds. In that particular instance, the Mets had posted a different lineup in their dugout than the one they gave to the umpire, so the players unknowingly batted out of order.
Below is a list of some helpful resources if you are interested in reading more about the batting out of order rule.
Similar Rules to Batting Out of Turn
Here is a list of similar rules to the batting out order rule in baseball. Like the batting order rules, all of these rules are mostly enforced by the teams rather than the umpires.
- Appeal Rules
- Replays Review Rules
- Doctoring the Baseball Rules
Batting Out of Turn Summary
- A team is considered to have batted out of turn if they do not follow their reported batting order.
- It is the responsibility of the opposing team to notice the infraction, not the umpires.
- When the violation is reported determines the penalty.
- If it is reported during the at-bat, then the violating team can simply swap in the correct hitter without penalty
- If it is reported after the at-bat but before the next pitch, then the batter is deemed out no matter what they did
- If it is reported after the next at-bat starts, then it is no longer considered a violation, and the team is deemed to have batted in order
What is batting out of turn in baseball?
In baseball, batting out of turn occurs when a team does not follow the designated batting order that they themselves reported before the game. It is on the opposing team to track the other’s team’s batting order and be sure that they are following their order. The umpires do not keep track of this. It is also on the opposing team to notify the umpire if an infraction occurs. The penalty is determined based on when the infraction is reported.