What is a Sacrifice Bunt?
Sacrifice bunts, or “sac” bunts, are exactly what they sound like. The batter is sacrificing themselves to advance runner(s) on base. If a batter successfully advances runners on an attempted sac bunt, they have done their job. Below we will get into further detail regarding all things sacrifice bunts and will provide some key tips and tricks that will hopefully help you practice and perfect the sacrifice bunt. Remember, you cannot perform a sacrifice bunt without a baseball bat, and batting gloves never hurt either!
When Should a Sacrifice Bunt Be Used?
A sacrifice bunt Is best and most often performed to advance a runner(s) to the next base in order to prevent a double play being turned, and/or to get a runner into scoring position. Depending on where the runners are on base, you will need to bunt down either the first or third base line.
When a runner is on first base, you will want to sacrifice bunt down the first base line, as the first baseman must hold the runner on first base, and the third baseman and pitcher will be charging to make a play on the bunted ball.
On the other hand, when a runner is on first and second base, or only second base, you will want to bunt the ball down the third base line. The first baseman does not have to hold the runner on first base in this instance, so he will be charging the bunted ball with the pitcher. You will want to make the third baseman field the bunt in this case, because if the pitcher or first baseman field the bunt, they could potentially throw the runner on second out at third.
How to Sacrifice Bunt
While laying down a sacrifice bunt may seem very simple and straightforward, there are some key steps you need to remember to make sure you are successful in your sacrifice attempt. These steps are as follows:
- Get in your stance: Get into your batting stance as if you were getting ready to hit the ball. While you are going to sacrifice yourself with a bunt, you don’t want to immediately give it away that you’re going to lay one down.
- Move up in the batter’s box: To give yourself an easier angle down either the first or third base line, it is best to move up to the front of the batter’s box before the pitch is thrown.
- Pivot your back foot towards the pitcher: Doing so will then bring your back hip to face the pitcher and will bring your hands and your bat out in front of the plate, in bunting position.
- Extend your arms slightly toward the pitcher: You will want to bring your hands outward, getting ready to bunt. Do not extend too far out though, or you will lose control of the bat.
- Start with your bat at the top of the strike zone, and barrel of the bat above the knob of the bat: This step is very important. Starting with your bat at the top of the strike zone will allow you to more easily react to any pitch lower than your bat. It is much easier to lower your bat and bunt a ball than it is to raise it, as this may cause you to pop it up. Additionally, you always want your barrel of the bat above the knob of the bat, especially at contact. You never want to drop the barrel of the bat lower than the knob, as this will almost always result in a pop out.
- Use your legs and “catch” that ball with the bat: Instead of physically lowering or raising your bat with your arms to bunt the ball, it is much easier to move up and down with your legs. This helps prevent dropping the barrel with your arms. Lastly, don’t jab at the ball with the bat, instead “catch” the ball with the bat and use the angle of it to bunt the ball where you want it to go.
Sac Bunt FAQs
Now that we have discussed how and when to sacrifice bunt, let’s go over some of the more complicated and in-depth aspects of a sac bunt with some FAQ’s.
Does a sacrifice count as an at bat?
Simply put, a successfully performed sacrifice bunt does not count as an at bat. However, it does count as a plate appearance.
Is a squeeze bunt a sacrifice?
As long as there is a runner on third base, and a sacrifice bunt is attempted, it can be called a squeeze play. On the other hand, a sac bunt attempted while the runner on third attempts to steal home is called a suicide squeeze.
Is a batter credited with a sacrifice if an error occurs?
As long as the runner(s) successfully advance on the bases, the batter is rewarded with a sacrifice bunt, regardless of an error or fielder’s choice occurring.
Are sacrifice bunts a dying art?
Statistics will show that the sac bunt is indeed a dying art in Major League Baseball. Sac bunts per plate appearance has been on a steady decline over the past few years, which leads many baseball fans to believe bunting is not necessary in the game. While sac bunt percentage may be decreasing, the fact that there is not a need for them in the game is simply not true. Sacrifice bunts help keep teams on their toes in the field, can eliminate the chance for a double play on the bases, and can advance runners into scoring position. All of these “little things” can help greatly in giving teams that can execute a sac bunt an advantage over teams who cannot. Sac bunts may be a dying art statistically, but there will always be a place for them in the game of baseball.
Don’t Sacrifice Savings with BaseballMonkey!
Sacrifice bunts are an important part of the game and are something you need to practice a lot to make sure you have them perfected for game time. They can be crucial in moving runners over to prevent double plays and get runners in scoring position. If you require any further information, or would like some in-person advice, stop by your local MonkeySports superstores to talk to one of our expert baseball associates!
This article was originally published on November 14, 2020, and has been updated with new information.