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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The position of the left fielder
The position of the left fielder

In baseball, a left fielder (LF) is an outfielder who plays defense in left field. Left field is the area of the outfield to the left of a person standing at home plate and facing towards the pitcher's mound. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the left fielder is assigned the number 7.

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Transcription

Let's take a look at the left fielder. The outfield is divided into sections, left, center, and right. Standing at the third base, looking into the outfield, the left fielder is the left most player in the outfield. The left fielder's responsibility is anything from the foul line to about mid-center field. He has control of any ball hit in the air or on the ground in that specific area. He has to watch the third baseman and the shortstop if they decide to come into the outfield to make a play. If the left fielder has a better angle and can make a better play, he needs to call them off. Or, if they want to make a play and he doesn't have a play, he needs to fall into a back up position. If the ball is hit on the ground in the infield toward the third baseman, the left fielder needs to back him up. If the ball is hit on the ground toward the short stop, he needs to back him up as well. His primary responsibility, however, is fielding the fly ball. Sometimes, especially with a right handed batter or power hitter, he wants to play a little deeper on the field. If a left hander batter is up, he may play in a little shorter and put what's called a shift on which means he will shift a little further toward center. The reason for doing that is a left hander batter is less likely, statistically, to hit the ball to left field. Of course, some hitters are very good at spreading the ball all over the field. In general, left handed hitters are more likely to hit the ball to right or center than to left. So, often times you'll see a left fielder making the shift towards center field. The left fielder can also make plays in foul territory. If the ball is hit in the air in foul territory, and he can make a play on it in foul territory, he's recorded an out and helped his team. If the ball hits the ground, there's no out and the batter gets another chance to perhaps get a hit. So, the left fielder has to control left field and also serve as a back up to the infield on ground balls and serve as a little bit of a general, perhaps a lieutenant, if the third baseman or the short stop come into the outfield. That wraps up the coverage of the left fielder.

Contents

Position description

Hall of fame left fielder Rickey Henderson attempting a steal. Henderson holds both the single season and career stolen base records.
Hall of fame left fielder Rickey Henderson attempting a steal. Henderson holds both the single season and career stolen base records.

Outfielders must cover large distances - speed, instincts, and quickness in reacting to the ball are key. They must be able to catch fly balls above their heads and on the run. They must be able to throw the ball accurately over a long distance to be effective; they must also learn to judge whether to attempt a difficult catch and risk letting the ball get past them, or to instead allow the ball to fall in order to guarantee a swift play and prevent the advance of runners. Left fielders must also familiarize themselves with the varying configurations of different ballparks' foul territory, and prevent balls hit down the foul lines from getting past them into the left field corner. Amateur players may find it difficult to concentrate on the game, since they are so far from the action. Emphasizing the correct position will give outfield players something to concentrate on at each pitch. Hits to left field tend to curve toward the left field foul line, and left fielders must learn to adjust to that.

Of all outfielders, the left fielder often will have the weakest arm, as he generally does not need to throw the ball as far to prevent the advance of any baserunners. The left fielder still requires good fielding and catching skills, and tends to receive more balls than the right fielder because right-handed hitters tend to "pull" the ball into left field. The left fielder also backs up third base on pick-off attempts from the catcher or pitcher and bunts, when possible. Moreover, when a runner is stealing third base, the left fielder must back up the throw from the catcher. Left fielders must also back up third base when a ball is thrown from right field, and back up center field when a pop fly is hit into the pocket.

Despite giving his team the advantage of accommodating a player with a weak arm, a left fielder with an above-average throwing arm can easily compile many assists. After being converted to left field, Alfonso Soriano led the league with 22 and 19 outfield assists in 2006 and 2007, respectively, his first two years playing the outfield. Despite regularly leading the league in errors and often coming out of the game for a defensive replacement in late innings, his strong arm was best utilized in left.

Hall of Fame left fielders

The following are baseball players inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame as left fielders:[1]

Position transitions

When most left fielders are older or struggling defensively, they will move to first base or designated hitter, usually. Third basemen will sometimes move to left, with Ryan Braun and Alex Gordon being examples.

References

  1. ^ "The Hall of Fame members". Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved 26 March 2018.

See also

This page was last edited on 9 May 2019, at 16:54
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