Pitching Balks, While Not Set

Situation: I am pitching from the stretch with a runner on first.
I am standing on the rubber, but I am not yet in the “Set” position.
Question: Can I turn my body towards first and pick the runner off?
I thought that I can do whatever I want with my feet and body, just as long as I am not set (except pitch of course) but a few of my teammates disagree.
Please reply to either this Forum or by E-Mailing me at: Boyle.Zachary@c-dh.org

The rules state that a pitcher must step toward the base he throws to. It doesn’t matter if you’re set or not. If you’re on the rubber, that makes you a pitcher and you must step before throwing. So, if you’re talking about just turning the shoulders and throwing, I believe that would be a balk.

Of course, if you step off first, then you become a fielder and can do whatever a fielder can do.

What if you take lift your left foot (I’m a right handed pitcher)(while you are not set, but on the rubber) and bring it towards you like you about to become set, but before you touch your left foot to the ground you take a step towards first and then pick him off. Would that be a balk also?

[quote=“ZBoyle”]What if you take lift your left foot (I’m a right handed pitcher)(while you are not set, but on the rubber) and bring it towards you like you about to become set, but before you touch your left foot to the ground you take a step towards first and then pick him off. Would that be a balk also?[/quote]YES.
Do not try that. Ugh.

I mean like take a step towards first before coming set. But yes I get where your going haha that would be a big balk.

still a balk.

I have a question for you Roger. Would it be a balk if came set,almost twitched with your left foot and then stepped off and threw. A team we played ended up stealing our signs I’m pretty sure, and every time we tried to steal he turned and picked one of us off.

No that is not a balk. It is a very good move by the pitcher. You can lift your left heal up (keeping your toe still on the ground) then step off with your right foot.

Yeah I was wondering. We have one kid who’s not that quick but very adept at stealing bases because as soon as he sees the left leg move he’s off, I swear his reaction time si half of that of a normal athlete. This guy picked him twice like that

Yeah but at my age (14) I sometimes get called for a balk when I try that move. I luckily have never tried doing the turn and throw from the unset position because I was unsure of the rules.

actually it IS a balk. Once you come set, if the front foot lifts you are commited to home, (but you could also go to 2nd or third,) or else you could lift it all the way up and come to first base. The left heel movement before coming over to first base is a “balk move” that is taught to pitchers. I use it and have picked off 10 guys this season.

I think Kyle is right. Early this spring when we went down south our ump was a cool guy and he was talking to us about when he coached even though it was a balk, according to him, he taught his pitcher to come set, and just lift that heel a tiny bit before spinning over. He said it was illegal but it got one kid 20 pickoffs in his senior season at first base. :lol:

3and0 are you sure that its a baulk, when I was watching a pro game the pitcher started to come set and before his hands touched and his foot planted he spun over and picked the guy off, I think that is what ZBoyle is saying. I’m almost positive that was the same situation.

That’s exactly what I learned, too, in college. Very effective, but it takes a lot of practice and must be quick. I’d practice for a few weeks using video tape to see how you’re progressing. In my experience, it can take a good three months to really develop this move, if done correctly.

But you won’t be able to get away with it in pro ball :frowning: Only in college was I ever able to use it.

But there are other ways to “cheat” at pickoffs in pro ball … that’s another discussion.

Steven can you comment on the coming up and before you come set and touch hands spin over and throw to first. It was the second part of my other post. Any clue?

being a pitcher and an umpire balks are my favorite. The best move I see is the fake come set and then right before your hands come together you spin and throw. Granted it only works for righties but it always seems to work at most levels.

This is what I’m talking about. The runner gets on his heels when you start to come set then you nail him. Like I said I saw it work in the pros recnetly.

yeah I’d really like to use this move but I think it would help a lot if I could see a clip of a pitcher doing it.

Another great pick off move is this:

there is a runner on second and a right handed batter is up. The second baseman is holding the runner on pretty tightly. As the pitcher comes set, the second baseman waits about 2 seconds. then runs over to play his position. as soon as the pitcher sees the second baseman running back to his position, he lifts his left foot as he is gonna pitch and turns his head toward the batter (as if he is abandoning the pick off and just pitching it) then as soon as the pitcher lefts his foot the short stop runs over and the pitcher swings over and boom the runner is done for. This works great if the short stop is playing directly behind the runner b/c then the runner cant see him. It also fools the runner perfectly b/c once he sees the pitcher abandon the pick off he gets a good secondary.

Ive picked off plenty of runners by using this trick with my middle infielders. It shows what you can do when you work as a team.

Another great pick off move is this:

There is a runner on 1st and 3rd

The pitcher is pitching from the set position. He comes set.
He is staring down the guy on first. (do this all very quickly)

He steps off, facing 3rd.
Jerks his head towards first
Then snaps a throw to 3rd

It looks like a pickoff to 1st but goes to 3rd

I have been using the “balk move” heel lift for about a year and a half now. practiced it lots last year. Now i must say that the move alone is not what picks the guys off. (led the league in picks last year (13), and i’m up to 10 this year) I like to set it up well, and never have a pattern from runner to runner. Some sequences I like to use are
B move (step off over to 1 slowly)
A move (quick spin and throw)
Pitch
Balk Move (heel flick)
I find that this is effective, but only the first time, after that you need to mix it up with A, B, and then the balk only once per runner.
Steve is right, however, only really able to use it when the umpires are in the 2-man system, because with more, there is always an umpire on the same angle and your front foot, and he can see it. I have never been caught using the balk move yet.

Here’s my favorite pickoff move. I’ve said it before but I’ll repeat it, its called the daylights play. The shortstop gives the signal, a full glove out, or the second baseman its more obvious but a full hand out towards second base. The pitcher turns towards the plate takes a breath then spins over to second as the middle infielder sprints to the base. I recently saw Pedro Martinez pick someone off like this, they were called safe but the replays showed he was out. Second baseman went over on a dead sprint and Pedro spun and wham!

Now your probably thinking oh the sprint is a dead giveaway, well no not really. It can help you. Once you do this its guranteed to be a close play. Now every time you run a full sprint at the base the coach is going to yell back or watch it or something. I do it all the time at shortstop I’ll run at a full sprint and the kid takes a step back being cautious of the spin move from the mound.

My coach taught me this move and he said he picked the first kid off almost every game at 2nd then he said "I got to college and tried this, the kid was standing on the base waiting for me."
Haha its a good move though, kids don’t see the spin on second a lot.

Disclaimer: a good third base coach will notice the sprint right away and give it away. But…if your clever enough you will already have sprinted there a few times when the pitcher isn’t even looking at the base. Try it.