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Thread: Range: SS vs 2B

  1. #1
    Ya can't teach speed... Triples's Avatar
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    Range: SS vs 2B

    I'm going to show some baseball ignorance here and I may get my new ORG privileges revoked but here goes. (Oh, thanks to ya'll for voting me in!!) I just read the thread "BP on Keppinger" and I noted some comments about Phillips range at SS vs 2B. It prompted a question in my mind. Why is a SS expected to have that much greater range than 2B? The distance from first to second is the same as second to 3rd. So the area being covered is essentially the same. On that same note however, the 3rd baseman seldom plays with one foot on the bag where as a first baseman must do so to hold a runner. That effectively makes the area a second baseman has to cover greater when there is a runner on first. A second baseman also has to frequently make his throws either going out to RF or with his back to first base so he either has to have a very strong arm (that is a different debate about SS vs 2B) or he has to be able to get to the ball more quickly. Granted, a SS may have longer throws but that is an issue of arm strenth isn't it? I have not seen seen any stats lately that tell me the percentage of right vs left handed batters but I can't imagine its all that lopsided any more. So, with that said, what am I missing about the need for SS to have that much greater range than a 2B?
    Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal. ~George Will


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    Re: Range: SS vs 2B

    I've always assumed that it's because more balls are hit to SS than second, and are hit harder. The play "in the hole' is way tougher at SS.

    I'm not sure of anything else. It's a good question.

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    Ya can't teach speed... Triples's Avatar
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    Re: Range: SS vs 2B

    Quote Originally Posted by PuffyPig View Post
    I've always assumed that it's because more balls are hit to SS than second, and are hit harder. The play "in the hole' is way tougher at SS.

    I'm not sure of anything else. It's a good question.
    P.P.: I've always heard the same comments/reasons and that really is the genesis of my question. Why is it assumed tht balls are hit harder to short? Do right handed hitters hit the ball harder than left handers? And, even though there may be more balls hit to short, wouldn't you want your 2B to still have the same range as your SS even though he may not have as many balls hit to him. Maybe that is why so many SS end up playing 2B.
    Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal. ~George Will


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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Range: SS vs 2B

    One reason is that range in the IF isn't just about coverage (the ability to get to the ball at all), but rather the speed and angle at which the plays can be made. The throw from SS is considerably longer than the throw from 2B. A 2B can make the play deep in the hole and still throw out the runner easily. A SS who is forced to take a deep angle might get to the ball, but he's a lot less likely to get the runner.

    Think of Jeter. If he was a step quicker, he wouldn't have to make that stupid jump throw in the hole because he would've made the play on the dirt, planted his back foot, fired a hard throw, and gotten the runner by 3 steps.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 02-06-2008 at 06:18 PM.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Ya can't teach speed... Triples's Avatar
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    Re: Range: SS vs 2B

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    One reason is that range in the IF isn't just about coverage (the ability to get to the ball at all), but rather the speed and angle at which the plays can be made. The throw from SS is considerably longer than the throw from 2B. A 2B can make the play deep in the hole and still throw out the runner easily. A SS who is forced to take a deep angle might get to the ball, but he's a lot less likely to get the runner.

    Think of Jeter. If he was a step quicker, he wouldn't have to make that stupid jump throw in the hole because he would've made the play on the dirt, planted his back foot, fired a hard throw, and gotten the runner by 3 steps.
    So if I'm understanding you correctly, its not so much about "range" (defined as distance traveled to get to the ball) as it is about taking the correct angle on the ball and arm strength? By the way, I agree about Jeter...my point exactly, you'd be hard pressed to convince me he has more range the Phillips (Brandon that is)!
    Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal. ~George Will


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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Range: SS vs 2B

    Quote Originally Posted by Triples View Post
    So if I'm understanding you correctly, its not so much about "range" (defined as distance traveled to get to the ball) as it is about taking the correct angle on the ball and arm strength? By the way, I agree about Jeter...my point exactly!!!
    Right. But I think you'll find that guys who have the quickness and speed to play SS tend to have greater "range" as well. That first step is more important for a SS, who is forced to play up more often. 2B can play deeper and still cover the same ground area.

    Jeter's arm is the only saving grace for him. If he had a weaker arm, there'd be absolutely no defending him.

    Also, Righties are still much more common than lefties. Among the best hitters in the game the split is more equal, but just think about how many LH 3B, SS, 2B, and C there are.

    According to ESPN, pitchers faced Righties for an average of 859 IP per team in 2007 (59.4&#37. Lefties were at 588 IP. It's interesting to note that this varies by league, thanks to the DH.

    AL: 57.5% Right Handed
    NL: 61.0% Right Handed

    I suppose you could argue that 3B, SS, and LF defense is slightly more important in the NL. And since that difference is largely due to DH vs. P, and that DH tend to be much better hitters than pitchers, the effect is likely larger than the mere % difference would imply.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 02-06-2008 at 06:26 PM.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Member Spitball's Avatar
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    Re: Range: SS vs 2B

    RedsManRick covered it very well in my opinion. Additionally, due to the longer throw, the shortstop must have greater range in order to get in position on a ball to make a strong,accurate throw. A second baseman can reach balls, be out of position to throw, but still have time to set and throw the runner out. In other words, the shortstop needs additional range to get into position for the many of the throws he is called on to make.
    Last edited by Spitball; 02-06-2008 at 07:23 PM.
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    Re: Range: SS vs 2B

    Balls hit to position in order SS, 2b, CF. That is why D up the middle is so important. As RMR pointed out, more RH'er as well, so pulling the ball is likely hit harder than when hit to 2B. Also, a SS needs better range because they can't take large angles or else the throw will never beat the runner. Like when you see BP going deep into RF to make a play, a SS could never do such a thing without a Furcal like arm.

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    Re: Range: SS vs 2B

    Quote Originally Posted by Spitball View Post
    RedsManRick covered it very well in my opinion. Additionally, due to the longer throw, the shortstop must have greater range in order to get in position on a ball to make a strong,accurate throw. A second baseman can reach balls, be out of position to throw, but still have time to set and throw the runner out. In other words, the shortstop needs additional range to get into position for the many of the throws he is called on to make.
    Exactly.
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