To throw pitches at the edges of the strike zone. A pitcher who can "paint" consistently may be said to paint the black or paint the corner.

pair of shoes

A batter who strikes out looking. "He was left standing there like nothing but a pair of shoes."

paper doll cutter

A hard hit line drive that is hit so “square” and powerfully, that it has little or no spin. (Like a knuckleball) This results in the ball suddenly and sharply cutting left or right as it speeds past defenders. It is said that if such a hit were to strike a defensive player or runner, they would be left “cutting paper dolls” for the rest of their lives.


A fly ball, perhaps driven into a strong wind, that appears to drop straight down into the fielder's glove.


To hit (a home run) "out of the park"; reference to the parking lot may be inferred.

park effects

Main article: Batting Park Factor

See hitter's park.

passed ball

Main article: Passed ball

A catcher is charged with a passed ball (abbreviated PB) when he fails to hold or control a legally pitched ball which, in the opinion of the official scorer, should have been held or controlled with ordinary effort, and which permits a runner or runners to advance at least one base; and/or permits the batter to advance to first base, if it's a third strike (with first base unoccupied and/or two outs). A run that scores because of a passed ball is not scored as an earned run. Neither a passed ball nor a wild pitch is charged as an error. It is a separately kept statistic.


To hit the ball hard. Often used in the past tense: "He pasted the ball."

patient hitter

Doesn't do a lot of first-pitch swinging, swinging at pitches out of the strike zone, or even swinging at strikes he can't hit because of their location and/or type. Generally gets a lot of walks.


  • An outfielder may be said to be "patrolling the outfield" (like a good soldier or police officer patrolling his assigned territory),
  • A catcher who keeps runners from stealing bases is said to be good at "patrolling the basepaths".


If after the pitcher from one team tries to bean or otherwise hit a batter, the opposing pitcher retaliates by trying to hit a batter from the first pitcher's team, it's a "payback". Such retaliation often happens when it is one of a team's stars who is the initial target; in such a case the opposing pitcher is likely to target the star player on the other team when he gets his first opportunity. Umpires may issue a warning if they think a pitch is intentionally thrown at a batter, and if such an attempt happens again by either team's pitcher, the pitcher is likely to be ejected from the game.

payoff game

The decisive one in a series, e.g. the third of five (if one team has already won two) or the fifth (if both have won two).

payoff pitch

A pitch thrown with a full count. The implication is that much effort has gone into reaching this point (this is at least the sixth pitch of the at-bat), and the pitch will either pay off for the pitcher (a strikeout) or the batter (a hit or a walk). However, a foul ball can extend the at-bat. The term is most often used when a hit will score a run and a strikeout will end the inning.


Main article: Pacific Coast League

A AAA minor league that formerly had "open" classification (between AAA and major league) from 1952 to 1957, now known as Triple-A West with the 2021 MiLB reclassification


A pitched ball thrown at high speed. "Clem can really fling that pea."[citation needed]


A brand new baseball that has been rubbed down with ball mud, causing the ball to no longer be bright white and instead is a pearl white color.


A hard line drive batted back at the pitcher.[citation needed]


Main article: PECOTA

A system for forecasting pitcher and hitter performance developed by Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus. A player's "PECOTA" may be the forecasted range of his performance on a variety of indicators for the current or future seasons.


When the batter tries to see the catcher's signals to the pitcher.


To throw the ball to one of the bases. "The fielder pegged the ball to first."


The bullpen.

pennant race

The competition to win the regular season championship in a baseball league. To win the pennant or flag, a major league baseball team must first win enough of the 162 games in the regular season to reach the playoffs. Then it must win the league division series (LDS) and the league championship series (LCS). See American League Division Series (ALDS), American League Championship Series (ALCS), National League Division Series (NLDS), and National League Championship Series (NLCS).


Main article: Pepper (baseball)

A common pre-game exercise, where one player bunts to a nearby group of fielders; they throw it back as quickly as possible.

percentage points

If Team A is in first place by less than half a game over Team B, Team B is said to be "within percentage points" of Team A.

perfect game

Main article: Perfect game

A special type of no-hitter where each batter is retired consecutively, allowing no baserunners via walks, errors, or any other means. In short, "27 up, 27 down". A "perfect game" could involve multiple pitchers with one pitcher relieving another, but in the major league they are defined as being thrown by a single pitcher.

perfect inning

An inning in which a pitcher allows no runners to reach base.

permanently ineligible

Major League Baseball's designation for someone who is banned from MLB or affiliated minor league clubs, for misconduct. Permanently ineligible players are also ineligible for induction into the Hall of Fame. Banned individuals may be reinstated at the discretion of the Commissioner of Baseball.


A commonly used acronym for Pitchers' Fielding Practice. A session in which pitchers practice fielding bunts and other ground balls, throwing to a base, and covering first base and home plate.

phantom ballplayer

Main article: Phantom ballplayer

Someone who is incorrectly listed in source materials as playing in a Major League Baseball game, although they did not actually play.

phantom tag

an erroneous call by an umpire in which a baserunner is ruled as having been tagged out when in fact the fielder never legally tagged the runner.

pick it clean

To field a sharply hit ground ball without bobbling it.

pick me up

Having made a mistake or failed an attempt, a player may ask a teammate, "Pick me up." Said in praise by a pitcher, "The guys picked me up with a lot of runs today."

pick up the pitch

A batter's ability to detect what kind of pitch is being thrown.

picket fence

A series of 1's on the scoreboard, resembling a picket fence.


A rundown.


Main article: Pickoff

A quick throw from the pitcher (or sometimes the catcher) to a fielder covering a base when the ball has not been hit into play.


The baseball.


Acting ostentatiously or showboating to gain the attention or approval of the fans. See grandstand play.

pinch hitter

Main article: Pinch hitter

A substitute batter, brought in during a critical situation ("a pinch").

pinch runner

Main article: Pinch runner

A substitute baserunner, brought in during a critical situation ("a pinch").

pine tar

Pine tar, which is notoriously sticky, improves a batter's grip on the bat. See Pine Tar Incident.

pink hat

A fan of a team who is perceived to be merely "jumping on the bandwagon" as opposed to a more loyal, knowledgeable fan (of either gender).[citation needed]

pinpoint control

A pitcher who is able to throw the ball to a precise spot in the strike zone has "pinpoint control". See control pitcher.


Main article: Pitch (baseball)

A baseball delivered by the pitcher from the pitcher's mound to the batter as defined by the Official Rules of Baseball, Rule 2.00 (Pitch) and Rule 8.01.

pitch around

To repeatedly miss the strike zone hoping the batter will "chase one". Also, deliberately walking him.

pitch count

Main article: Pitch count

How many times a pitcher has thrown thus far (this game).

pitch to

The opposite of pitching around, i.e. throwing every pitch into the strike zone.

pitch to contact

A pitcher who doesn't try to strike out batters but instead tries to get them to hit the ball weakly, especially on the ground, is said to pitch to contact.

pitch tracking

The use of technology and analytics to evaluate pitching, including information such as pitch velocity, spin rate, and break (curve).[1]


Main article: Pitcher

The fielder responsible for pitching the ball. Prior to 1884, the rules specified that the ball was to be "pitched, not thrown to the bat", i.e. underhand.

pitcher of record

See win.

pitcher's best friend

Nickname for a double play.

pitchers' duel

A very low-scoring game in which both starting pitchers allow few batters to reach base.

pitcher's mound

The mound, or colloquially the hill or the bump.

pitcher's park

A park in which pitchers tend to perform better than they perform on average in all other parks; inverse of hitter's park. See park factor.
  • When the wind is blowing "in" at Wrigley Field, it is typically rendered a "pitcher's park", and a low score for one or both teams is not unusual. Under those circumstances, no-hitters also become possible at a park many fans normally think of as a "hitter's park".
  • Because of its large foul area (recently shrunk to add more seating), symmetrical outfield walls, and small "corners" near the foul poles, Dodger Stadium is traditionally known as a pitcher's park, especially at night, when fly balls tend to die more quickly than they do during the day.

pitcher's pitch

The pitch the pitcher wants hit because he knows it will still most likely result in an out.[2]

pitcher's spot

In games where the designated hitter rule is not in effect, or in DH rule games where a team has forfeited its DH, this term refers to the pitcher's turn in the batting order; its usage usually implies there is some possibility that the pitcher will not actually take his turn batting and instead will be replaced by a pinch hitter and by rule a relief pitcher.

pitching from behind

When a pitcher frequently falls behind in the count, he finds himself pitching from behind.


Main article: Pitchout

A defensive tactic used to pick off a baserunner, typically employed when the defense thinks a stolen base play is planned. The pitch is thrown outside and the catcher catches it while standing, and can quickly throw to a base.

pivot man

Generally refers to the second baseman. A second baseman often has to turn or pivot on one foot in order to complete a double play. A short-stop also sometimes pivots to complete such a play.

PL or P.L.

Main article: Players' League

Abbreviation for Players' League, a one-year (1890) major league.

place hitter

A batter who has skill in controlling where he hits the ball.


Main article: Home plate

  • As a noun, plate usually connotes home plate. There is also a pitcher's plate, but it is more commonly referred to as the rubber.
  • As a verb, plate means to score a run. "In the fourth our defense continued to hold and we managed to plate a couple runs in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game at 3."[3]

plate appearance

Main article: Plate appearance

Any turn at bat is considered a plate appearance for computing stats such as on-base percentage, and for determining whether a batter has enough of them (minimum 3.1 X number of scheduled games) to qualify for the batting average championship. Plate appearances consist of standard at-bats plus situations where there is no at-bat charged, such as a base on balls or a sacrifice. However, if the batter is standing in the batter's box and the third out is made elsewhere (for example, by a caught-stealing or by an appeal play), then it does not count as an appearance, because that same batter will lead off the next inning.

plate discipline

A batter shows "plate discipline" by not swinging at pitches that are out of the strike zone, nor at pitches that are in the strike zone but not where he knows he can hit it. Such a batter might be described as a patient hitter.

platinum sombrero

When a batter strikes out five times in one game. Also called Olympic Rings.


Main article: Platoon system

  • The practice of assigning two players to the same defensive position during a season, normally to complement a batter who hits well against left-handed pitchers with one who hits well against righties. Individual players may also find themselves marked as a platoon player, based on their hitting against righties vs. against lefties. Casey Stengel brought some attention to the system by using it frequently during his New York Yankees' run of five consecutive World Series champions during 1949–1953.
  • "Platooning" sometimes refers to the in-game strategic replacement of batters in the line-up based on the handedness of a newly inserted relief pitcher, or conversely the strategic insertion of a relief pitcher to face a batter of the same hand. This is the logic behind having a LOOGY on the roster, for example. The LOOGY is to pitching what a pinch-hitter is to batting: put into the line-up for short-term strategic advantage.


Home plate.


  • Any small sequence of events during a game, never lasting long enough to contain more than one pitch, during which at least one offensive player could advance, or score a run, or tag up, etc., or could be put out. This includes, for example, a pop foul, during which it is possible for the batter to be put out, but advancing is not possible and neither is scoring. This term, "play", is mentioned (appears) in the article about the definition of an error.
  • Where the action is focused at a given time, in particular where a runner is about to reach a base or reach home, and the defense is attempting to get him out. An announcer might declare "There's a play at home", for example, if a runner is attempting to score and the catcher is about to receive a throw and attempt to tag the runner out.
  • Also see in play.

play by the book

To follow the conventional wisdom in game strategy and player use. For example, when to bunt or when to bring in the closer.

player to be named later

Main article: Player to be named later

When two baseball clubs make a trade, part of the publicly announced deal may involve an unspecified "player to be named later" who is not one of the headline players in the deal. In some cases, the PTBNL is simply a financial payment equal to the annual salary of a base-level major league baseball player ($300,000 as of 2007).

players' manager

A manager who is close to his players and whom the players consider a peer and a friend. The knock on players' managers is that they tend to not be disciplinarians and find it hard to make a tough decision in the team's best interest. Thus the term is not always complimentary, and many managers find they must maintain some aloofness in order to be effective. Joe Torre is often referred to as a player's manager; his approach can be effective with mature players who take their responsibilities seriously. Casey Stengel used to say the secret to managing was "to keep the guys who are neutral about you away from the guys that hate your guts."

playing back

The usual position depth taken by infielders when they're not anticipating a bunt or setting up for a double play.

playing in

When the infield is shallower than normal in order to attempt to throw out a runner on third-base on a ground ball. This does not allow the infielders to cover as much ground however, and can turn a routine ground ball into a base hit.



Hit by a pitch.


The plus sign (+) is an indicator that a starting pitcher began an inning and faced at least one hitter without recording an out. In the box score, the pitcher is said to have pitched x+ innings, where x is the number of innings completed in the game. For example if the starter gives up two walks to lead off the sixth inning and is pulled for a reliever, "5+" innings is recorded in the box score.

plus pitch

A pitch that is better than above average when compared to the rest of the league. Often the strikeout pitch.

plus plus pitch

A pitch that is among the best of its type in the league and is essentially unhittable when thrown well. Often a breaking pitch.

plus player

A player with above-average major league skills. A term from baseball scouting and player evaluation. See tools.


A hit. Referring to an extra-base hit or home run, a fan or announcer might exclaim, "That was quite a poke." A reporter might record a line drive as "Cameron pokes a shot into left field."[4]


  • A batter with "pop" has exceptional bat speed and power. "Reggie popped one" implies that Reggie hit a home run. Example in baseball writing: "Ian Kinsler Proves He Has Pop to Center".[5]
  • A pop-up is a batted ball that is hit very high and stays in the infield. Called a pop-foul when it falls or is caught in foul territory. Example: "Rondini popped it foul out of play" implies that Rondini hit a pop-up or pop-foul that went into the stands where a defender couldn't reach it.
  • Brendan C. Boyd and Fred C. Harris, in their impish commentary in The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book, discussed a player who was known for hitting sky-high popups and said that "he could have played his career in a stovepipe".[6]


A left-handed pitcher, so named because "port" refers to the left side of a ship. Synonym: southpaw


Main article: Baseball positions

  • One of the nine defensive positions on a baseball team, consisting of (in scorekeepers' numerical order): (1) pitcher, (2) catcher, (3) first baseman, (4) second baseman, (5) third baseman, (6) shortstop, (7) left fielder, (8) center fielder, (9) right fielder. Positions 3 through 6 are called infield positions. Positions 7, 8, and 9 are outfield positions. The pitcher and catcher are the battery. For purposes of the infield fly rule the pitcher and catcher are counted as infielders, and such a broader definition of infielders is commonly used, if only to differentiate them from outfielders. Players in positions 2 through 9 — all positions except the pitcher — are position players.
  • A defensive player also positions himself differently — sets up in a different location on the field while playing his position — depending on who is pitching, who is at bat, whether runners are on base, the number of outs, and the score of the game.

position player

Main article: Position player

Any defensive player other than the pitcher.


The playoffs.

pound the batter inside

To pitch the ball over the inside of the plate, in on his hands, typically with a fastball.

pound the strike zone

See attack the strike zone.

powder river

A fastball with extreme velocity.[citation needed]

power alleys

Either of the two areas in the outfield between the outfielders, i.e. left-center field and right-center field. The furthest dimensions may not be marked on the wall.

power hitter

Main article: Power hitter

A powerful batter who hits many home runs and extra base hits, but who may not have a high batting average, due to an "all or nothing" hitting approach. Dave Kingman is perhaps the best example of an "all power, low batting average" slugger. See slugger and slugging percentage.

power outage

When a batter with a high slugging average suddenly appears to have lost that ability, he is "having a power outage".

power pitcher

Main article: Power pitcher

A pitcher who relies heavily on his fastball. Control pitchers and contact pitchers rely more on variety and location than velocity.

power stroke

A hitter with a good power stroke is one who typically gets extra bases.

power surge

When a batter with a low slugging average suddenly appears to have gained that ability, he is "having a power surge".

pow wow

A meeting on the mound between a coach and players to discuss strategy. See tea party.


A prep player is a draft prospect who is still in high school, e.g. "Nationals select prep right-hander Lucas Giolito 16th overall."[7]

pro ball

Used to refer to both major and minor leagues, especially on trading cards. For example, "Complete Professional Record" would include major and minor league seasons while "Complete Major League Record" would not. (Minor league players consider it an insult if asked when they'll "get to the pros".)

probable pitcher

A pitcher who is scheduled to start the next game or one of the next few games is often described as a "probable pitcher".

productive out

When a batter makes an out but advances one or more runners in the process, he has made a productive out. In contrast, a strikeout or other out in which no runners advance is unproductive.


A scouting term for a young player with excellent tools who appears likely to develop into a productive or more powerful player in the future.

protested game

Main article: Protested game

A manager may protest a game if he believes an umpire's decision is in violation of the official rules. An umpire's judgment call (i.e., balls and strikes, safe or out, fair or foul) may not be protested.


  • To pull the ball is to hit it toward the side of the field usually associated with a full swing: a right-handed hitter pulls it left and a left-handed hitter pulls it right.
  • To pull a hitter is to substitute a pinch hitter.
  • To pull a pitcher is to relieve him. See hook.
  • A pitcher has "pulled the string" (think marionette) if the batter swung where the pitch was going instead of where it went.

Punch and Judy

A "Punch and Judy hitter" has very little power.

punch out

A strikeout. Named such because the umpire will typically make a punching-like signal on the third strike, especially if the batter does not swing at the pitch.

purpose pitch

A brushback, intended to make the batter move away from home plate. A batter targeted by such a pitch is sometimes said to get a close shave. 1950s pitcher Sal Maglie was called "the Barber" due to his frequent use of such pitches. A sportswriting wag once stated that its "purpose" was "to separate the head from the shoulders".


  • A right-handed batter who hits the ball toward right field, ditto left, has "pushed" it.
  • The best situation for a "push bunt" is runners at first and third with one out (or no outs); if successful, the result will be a run scored, a runner on second, and two outs (or one).

put a charge on the ball

To hit the ball very hard, typically for a home run.

put a hurt

  • To hit the ball extremely hard.
  • To beat another team, especially by a decisive score.

put away

  • A fielder who catches a fly ball, or who tags a runner may be said to "put away" his opponent. Similarly, a pitcher may "put away" a batter by striking him out.
  • A team may "put away" its opponent by making a decisive play or out, or by breaking open the game and gaining a substantial lead.


  1. ^ Verducci, Tom (March 28, 2019). "From Trackman to Edgertronic to Rapsodo, the Tech Boom Is Fundamentally Altering Baseball". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  2. ^ "Baseball Instruction: Hitting: How To Prepare To Hit". Qcbaseball.com. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
  3. ^ "Mark's (Mostly) Softball Blog". Rollingthunda.com. Archived from the original on 2012-04-07. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
  4. ^ "MLB Baseball Glog – CBSSports.com". Cbs.sportsline.com. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
  5. ^ Randy Jennings, "Ian Kinsler proves he has pop to center", ESPN Texas Rangers Report, September 2, 2011
  6. ^ Brendan C. Boyd and Fred C. Harris, Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book (Boston: Little, Brown, 1973).
  7. ^ "Nationals select prep right-hander Lucas Giolito 16th overall in 2012 First-Year Player Draft" MASN, June 4, 2012