Sacrifice bunts are not supposed to be a secret. But somewhere in the entanglement of some (not all) baseball instruction, the sacrifice bunt became as top secret as the development of the Atomic Bomb. Well… not quite, but you get the idea. What evidence do I have for this you say?
1. Batters that square around to bunt as the pitcher releases the ball.
2. Runners who get picked off first because they are trying to get a good jump.
3. Improper butting location on the field because of panic to get the bat in the zone.
There is a good start.
I’m saying sacrifice bunting is no secret. In fact, I used to coach a team who had a tough time picking up signs from our third base coach. So we changed the sign to an audible. It was, “Hey, Johnny, bunt the ball!” We got a few strange looks here and there but it got the job done. Some great high level baseball instruction, huh.
So if the offense knows it is bunting and the defense knows the offense is bunting, where does the offensive bunt the ball?
Scenario #1: Runner on first base only. No outs (don’t bunt with one out please)
The batter squares around to bunt as the pitcher gets into the set position. Now everyone in the park knows. Ah, time to relax, the rabbit is out of the hat! The batter bunts (strikes only please!) the ball to the first base side of the diamond.
Because the first baseman will be holding the runner and will not charge unless it’s bunted hard. If he does charge this means that the second baseman needs to be moving quickly to get to first base. The third baseman will be coming in when the hitter squares around. Bunting the ball to the third base side is not recommended.
Scenario #2: Runners on first and second base. No outs (don’t bunt with one out please)
The batter squares around to bunt again as the pitcher gets into the set position. The batter bunts (strikes only) the ball to the third base side of the diamond.
Because the third baseman will be staying close to the bag in the event there is a play there. The first baseman will be charging as soon as the batter squares to bunt. Bunting the ball down the first base side is not recommended.
And that’s it. No top secret baseball instruction, baseball drills, or decoy signs. It’s straight up. If the bunter executes a proper bunt, the sacrifice will be a success.