Lethal Righthanded Pickoff Plan Remarkable

Editor/Collegiate Baseball

PLANO, Tex. — If you can shut down the running game of opponents, the chances of winning grow substantially.

Nine years ago, Collegiate Baseball did an extensive 2-part series on the best lefthanded first base pickoff move in history devised by Mike Maack, current head coach at Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Tex.)

As a southpaw pitcher in the Minnesota Twins’ minor system in the early 1980s, he picked off 90 runners at first base in three seasons prior to being injured.

Since no league records were kept at the time for actual pickoffs by pitchers, it is not known if this was an all-time record or not by a professional pitcher.

His highest pickoff total in any one game was five during a professional game and five in another contest when he pitched for Tulane during a contest against Florida State.

Maack was previously the pitching coach at the University of Central Florida as his pitchers picked off an NCAA record 287 over five seasons at first base. That is over 50 first base pickoffs a year.

The sad fact is that very little information is ever presented on what righthanded pitchers can do to pick off runners at first base.

For the first time ever, Collegiate Baseball has compiled an in-depth plan to shut down running games by righthanded pitchers courtesy of Mike Maack.

He will go into detail about all aspects of making righthanders weapons in holding runners at first and picking them off instead of being easy gateways for stolen bases.

“We have shut down the running game of opponents with our lefthanders as well as our righthanders,” said Maack.

“Obviously, it is important to have a catcher with a good arm behind the plate as well who will make opponents think twice about stealing.

“The righthander’s goal isn’t necessarily to pick off a runner. His mission is to shut down the running game.

“The bottom line is that righthanders must be willing to work on their pickoff moves every day in practice with eight specific techniques.

“As far as coaching, all you need to devote is 10 minutes a day in practice so they keep refining their moves as they get quicker on moves as the timing between pitchers and infielders becomes sharper.

“For righthanded pitchers, you want runners at first base to extend their lead. This is so different than lefthanded pitchers trying to set runners up. The lefty is trying to get the runner to be at a distance he is comfortable with so the runner doesn’t believe he can be picked off.

“The righthander has to be patient enough that he can make the runner believe he can take one more step. Then the runner gets himself in that danger zone.”

To read more of this article, purchase the Oct. 2, 2020 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. Mike Maack explains the 8 pickoff moves that are essential to picking off runners at first base. He also delves into moves that will pick runners at second and third.