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  BUNTING  

Bunting is a lost art in baseball. Nothing can get a player out of a slump faster than a bunt base hit or a successful sacrifice. It gets player back to the basics of seeing the ball and getting on base gives a player confidence. If you cannot bunt, then you cannot hit. Hitting is an extension of bunting

Drag Bunt or Bunting for a Base Hit, courtosy of www.qcbaseball.com
Defense dictates the opportunity to drag bunt. If you have a drag bunt in your offensive arsenal, pay attention to both the third baseman and the pitcher during the pregame infield and ask yourself these questions:

  1. How well does he field and throw the ball?
  2. Can he charge the ball and throw well on the run?
  3. Is the pitcher a good athlete that can field his position well?
  4. Does he fall off the mound toward the third base or first base side of the mound?
  5. Is he in a good fielding position when the ball crosses the hitting zone?

All of these questions can help you decide if this is a good day to lay down a bunt.

During the game, study the position of the defense. If you are a right-handed hitter, look to drag the ball down the third base line and check the position of the third baseman. If you are a left handed hitter, look to drag down the first base line or directly toward the second baseman and check the positions of both the pitcher and first baseman. If the first baseman is playing deep and the pitcher falls off the mound towards third, then placing the bunt down the first base line may give the best opportunity of success. If the pitcher doesn't fall of the mound toward third or the first baseman is playing close, then bunting it hard past the pitcher and toward the second baseman may be the best way to get a hit.

How

The successful drag bunt depends on the element of surprise. Do not give away your intentions until the very last moment. With that in mind, enter the box with the same routine you always use. The only subtle change you make is to move up in the box a little. Bunting the ball with your bat in front of the plate increases the chance of it being a fair bunt.

Look For The Right Pitch

The most common mistakes when bunting are (1) trying to bunt a ball that is either not a strike; (2) a pitch that is difficult to bunt successfully. Apply the same philosophy you do when you're ahead of the count; shrink the strike zone and look for a pitch in the zone that you are comfortable bunting. If it's not in that zone, don't bunt. Pull the bat back and take the pitch, even if it's a strike.

Right-Handed Hitter

When attempting to drag bunt, pull your right foot back and move your right hand up the bat. Place the bat in front of the body and the barrel pointed towards first base. This provides the proper angle to bunt the ball down the third base line. By placing the bat in front of your body, you increase the chances of bunting it fair. A common mistake in drag bunting is attempting to deaden the ball as you do in a sacrifice bunt. With a drag bunt, it's much more important to be accurate by bunting the ball down the line.

Once in position to bunt, make sure you have a good pitch to bunt, otherwise pull back. Do not bunt any pitch inside of your current bat position. That pitch forces you to lean back and prevents you from getting a good jump. Take any pitch that is higher than your current bat position. The best pitch for a drag bunt is from the middle to the outside part of the plate.

Left-Handed Hitter

The drag bunt for the left-handed hitter is done stepping with your right For left handed hitters, step in with your right foot toward the pitcher while moving your left hand up the bat and bringing the bat forward. Point the barrel of the bat toward third base and be out in front of your body on contact. Look for a pitch from the middle of the plate in to bunt. A common mistake is to crossover and try to get a great jump while bunting the ball. Again, bunting the ball accurately is more important than getting a great jump.

Sacrifice Bunt, courtesy of DST
Requires the hitter to sacrifice his at-bat in order to advance the base runner
 

  • Bunt only strikes!
  • Attempt to position the ball either down either line but just get ball down and fair
  • Move up in batters box toward pitcher a half step (helps ball stay fair if bunted down)
  • As pitcher gets to balance point, pivot on back foot and square chest to pitcher
  • Slight bend at waist with weight on balls of feet (Better balance)
  • Extend arms out but do not lock elbows
  • Slide top hand up the bat to the label
  • Lightly pinch bat between thumb and first 2 fingers (Do not wrap fingers)
  • Bat head should be higher than knob of the bat
  • Barrel of bat should be at top of strike zone and cover the entire plate
  • Make contact out in front of the plate
  • “Catch” the ball with the bat – Don’t push bat out to ball or lean to the ball
  • Keep head still and eyes on ball – “Bunt with your eyes”
  • Keep bat head up when bunting the ball
  • Take bat to the pitch with legs and knees
  • Do not drop barrel of bat
  • Bottom hand is the guide hand
  • Keys the direction of the bunt