Caught Looking Baseball

What is Caught Looking in Baseball?

The term caught looking is used in baseball to describe when the batter does not swing at a pitch that is ultimately deemed within the strike zone, resulting in the third and final strike of the at-bat.

Strike Zone

The strike zone is the area in which a pitch must pass through as it crosses the plate in order to be called a strike. Each player has a different strike zone depending on their height and batting stance, with the space between the letters on the player’s jersey and the bottom of their knees generally representing the height of the zone while the width of the zone spans the entire horizontal length of home plate. Strike zones are made visible to viewers watching on television using special effects, while they are invisible on-site and inferred by the home plate umpire, who is responsible for differentiating between balls and strikes.

Striking Out

When batters accumulate three strikes over the course of a plate appearance, they have officially struck out. When faced with two strikes, batters generally swing at the following pitch in hopes of getting a hit or inducing a foul ball to extend the at-bat. In some instances, however, the batter is frozen by an unexpected pitch speed or neglects to swing because the ball appeared not to cross the strike zone. If the umpire deems the pitch to be inside the strike zone at the point it crosses the plate, the batter is ‘caught looking’ and the at-bat is over.