Wow this is one of the best interviews yet. As a Yankees fan, I despise Pedroia, but he seems like a really smart and articulate guy.
I don’t usually think about positioning as an aspect of defense, but it makes complete sense that it would be really important. Would love to see additional studies on it. Of course, that would probably require fieldf/x.
I recall some old interviews with Craig Biggio in which he stressed the importance of positioning at 2d base. He also said that Adam Everett was such a great defensive shortstop because he was so good at understanding where the batted ball would be going based on the pitcher, pitch, and batter…basically always moving in the right direction at the instant it is hit.
Comment by CJ in Austin, TX — November 2, 2012 @ 10:09 am
Awesome interview, David. Really thoughtful answers from Pedroia.
@Matt Hunter: You never thought of the importance of positioning on defense in baseball??? I’m not trying to pick at you buddy, but clearly you know nothing about or have never played baseball. Many people think that running speed (especially in the OF, which i know this article was not about) is most important. But in fact, correct positioning and a good jump (knowing the pitcher, pitch he’s throwing, batter tendencies, and reactionary anticipation) is more important in fielding, whether infield or outfield, than overall speed. Just spreading some knowledge.
Thanks for the condescending comment, Ray. I don’t know as much about baseball as some people, but I think I’m fairly knowledgeable about it. And I played enough baseball growing up to know the importance of positioning. I didn’t say I had never thought of it, but that I don’t usually think about positioning. Of course I knew that it was important, but since it’s not often talked about in discussions of defensive value, I had forgotten how important it really is.
Thank you for spreading your knowledge, but next time please do it in a more considerate and less condescending way. Even if you were right that I know nothing about baseball, pointing that out and acting as if you know everything isn’t a good way to promote reasonable and productive discussions.
I can’t be 100% sure what Pedroia meant, but I can take a pretty good guess.
I used to play second. Still do on rare occasions in an adult baseball league.
I still say that to my 3B and SS if we have two outs, runner on first, and a fast right handed hitter at the plate. SS is going to play back and in the hole. 3B will probably be back a bit; closer to the line if it’s a pull hitter. 2B will shade over towards the bag. In that position, it’s an easier, shorter throw for the 3B to make the putout at second, rather than throw across the diamond to get a speedster.
By talking to the 3B before the pitch, you’re putting it in his head that the easy play is to 2B to retire the runner, rather than the instinctive play to get the guy out at 1B with two out. It’s a smart way to play defense, especially if the hitter in question is someone like Mike Trout, with Ianetta standing on 1B…