Monday, July 30, 2007

Of Princes and Pickoffs

So we all know that Prince Fielder is no wizard around the bag at first base. He has double-digit errors as a first baseman, which is brutal.

However, as the season has worn on, I've noticed that he doesn't seem to know how to properly hold a runner on at first base. I can't say I've watched every game (not even close) but I don't recall a pitcher picking anybody off of first base this year. I can't help but wonder if Prince isn't partially to blame, because he never seems like he quickly attempts to tag the runner as he dives back to first. Prince seems to stand about a step off the bag, and backs up as he is catches the ball. But it looks like all he's trying to do is catch it, and never bothers to try to tag the guy.

I thought about this as I read my latest SI, which had a player's poll that had Chris Capuano as the second-highest vote getter among players for the question of "who has the best pickoff move" (Pettitte was first). Capuano led the league in pickoffs in 2005, it said in that article. Coincidentally (or not) Lyle Overbay was the 1B that year.

I'm just throwing this out there for somebody to comment on who has far more experience playing first than I do (me: zero games, at any level of organized baseball). Maybe that's what they teach the kids these days and I'm way off...but maybe not.


Anonymous said...

As soon as Prince replaced Lyle I knew, as a lefty first sacker myself, Cappy and DD would not have the picks like before Prince. Main reason, if nothing else, Lyle was a lefty himself and therefore his gloved hand would be nearer the runner going back to the bag.

But, yes, PF plays so far off the bag on these throws once he was called for a balk.

Matt said...

Good point. Too bad pa Fielder didn't teach Prince to eat with his left hand growing up.

Did I say eat? I meant throw, of course.