The purpose of the double cutoff is to provide an easier target for an outfielder that has a long throw from one of the gaps or down the a line. On these type of hits, the outfielder is in the deepest part of the outfield and trying to make a long throw quickly. He has no momentum so this throw will often not be quite as accurate to the infield. The double cutoff provides two infielders that are spaced appropriately apart, which will give your team a better chance of saving a run or even getting an out.

“HIT THE CUTOFF!”

Have you ever heard a youth baseball coach yell, “Hit the cutoff!”? I am sure you have and hopefully that coach has practiced this skill numerous times in practice. During games, it is difficult for a baseball player to decide what to do unless he has practiced it and may not even know why it is important… Work on these drills in practice.

As with any cutoff situation, don’t forget to check the positioning of the infielders as they get into position. The outfielder should be making the longer throw and the infielder to should make the shorter throw. If an outfielder is continually overthrowing both cutoff men in practice then chances are the infielders are going too far out.

DOUBLE CUTOFF WITH NO RUNNER OCCUPYING FIRST BASE

NOTE: Notice that this situation can happen with runners starting on 2nd and 3rd base, but not on first. With a ball hit into gap or down the line, you will be conceding two runs.

On any hit into the gaps or down the lines with no runners on base and the outfielders are unable to cut it off, your shortstop and 2nd baseman (middle infielders) should automatically move into double cutoff position for a throw to third base (you assume the hitter will get a double).

Have the middle infielder closest to the ball move out and be the first person in line for the throw from the outfielder. The other middle infielder should line up about 10 yards behind the first infielder. Too many double cuts happen where the infielders are standing a few feet away from each other, which doesn’t help the situation at all. The infielders need to be about 10 yards apart so together they can cover more space on the throw coming, in case it is not perfectly online.

The diagrams below show how I position the defense for this play.

The 1st baseman has the VERY important role of trailing the hitter to 2nd base. If the runner stops between second and third the first baseman is now in position to get a throw at second from the cutoff or 3rd baseman in a run-down situation.

Double Cut Baseball Situation with No Runners On And Ball Hit to Right-Center Field.

Double Cut Baseball Situation with No Runners On And Ball Hit to Right Center Field.

Double Cut Baseball Situation with No Runners On And Ball Hit to Right-Center Field.

Double Cut Baseball Situation with No Runners On And Ball Hit to Right-Center Field.

Double Cut Baseball Situation with No Runners On And Ball Hit to Left Center Field.

Double Cut Baseball Situation with No Runners On And Ball Hit to Left Center Field.

 

DOUBLE CUTOFF WITH RUNNER ON FIRST BASE

On any hit into the gaps or down the lines with a runner at first and the outfielders are unable to cut it off, you must first try to stop the runner from scoring. If the runner has above average speed, you may not be able to make that play. When your team works on this play at practice, be certain to use a runner at home and first. This gives your defense chances to make plays on both runners. Numerous times, your youth baseball team will have a better opportunity of throwing out the trailing runner at third base than getting the lead runner at home.

I always have the shortstop or second baseman as the fielder going out and becoming the first person in the double cutoff relay (whichever middle infielder is closest to the play is the lead). The other infielder needs to line up about 10 yards behind the first. Too many double cuts happen where the infielders are standing a few feet away from each other, which doesn’t help the situation at all. The infielders need to be about 10 yards apart so together they can cover more space on the throw coming, in case it is not perfectly online.

The diagrams below show how I position the defense for this play.

Double Cutoff Duties for a Ball Hit to Left-Center Field with a Runner on First Base

doublecut-lc-runneron1st

Double Cutoff Duties for a Ball Hit Down Left Field Line with a Runner on First Base

doublecut-lfc-runneron1st

Double Cutoff Duties for a Ball Hit to Right-Center Field with a Runner on First Base

doublecut-rc-runneron1st

Double Cutoff Duties for a Ball Hit Down Right Field Line  a Runner on First Base

doublecut-rfc-runneron1st

The 1st baseman has the VERY important role of trailing the hitter to 2nd base. If the runner stops between second and third the first baseman is now in position to get a throw at second from the cutoff or 3rd baseman in a run-down situation.

LEARN MORE

Quizzes for Baseball Players

Advanced Outfielder Skills

Outfield Defensive Strategy and Player Positioning

Defensive Situational Responsibilities By Baseball Positions

Essential Equipment for Your Baseball Player

 

 

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