What Is A Putout In Baseball?

What is a Putout in baseball? A putout (PO) is a baseball rule that removes a player from the field until their next turn at bat. PO is granted to a defensive player who successfully achieves an out through various baseball out rules. 

In this article, we learn about putout, putout types, its effects on baseball statistics, and how putout is achieved. 

Fielding Positions and Putouts

Different fielding positions have specific roles and responsibilities when it comes to making putouts possible. Let’s examine some of them: 

First Baseman

The first baseman is positioned near first base and is responsible for fielding balls hit in their direction. They often make putouts by receiving throws from other fielders and stepping on first base before the batter-runner reaches it. 

Second Baseman and Shortstop

The second baseman and shortstop positions are located on the infield, with the second baseman positioned near the second base and the shortstop between the second and third bases. They make putouts by fielding ground ball outs and completing plays to first base or by tagging baserunners attempting to reach their base. 

Third Baseman

The third baseman is positioned near third base and is responsible for fielding balls hit in their direction. They can make putouts by throwing the batted ball to first base or tagging baserunners trying to advance to their base. 


The outfielders, consisting of the left, center, and right fielder, cover the outfield area. They primarily make putouts by catching a fly ball hit toward them or by throwing out baserunners trying to advance.

Types of Putouts

There are various types of putouts in the game of baseball. Understanding these different types is crucial for anyone looking to grasp the intricacies of the sport. Let’s delve into each of them: 

Fly Ball Putout

A fly ball putout occurs when a defensive player catches a baseball that has been hit high into the air before it touches the ground. This can happen anywhere on the field, and if a foul ball is caught, it is considered an out. 

Ground Ball Putout 

A ground ball putout takes place when a defensive player fields a ball that has been hit along the ground and throws it to the first base before the batter can reach the base. This type of putout typically occurs in the infield. If the batter hits into a double play, two putouts are recorded on the same play. 

 Strikeout Putout

A strikeout putout happens when the pitcher throws three strikes to a batter without the batter making contact with the ball. If the catcher fails to catch the third strike and the batter safely reaches first base, it is not considered a putout.

Tag Putout

A tag putout occurs when a defensive player touches a runner who is not on base with the ball. This type of putout can happen anywhere on the field. If a runner is tagged out while attempting to steal a base, it is classified as a tag putout. 

Force Play Putout

A force play putout takes place when a defensive player, who has possession of the ball, touches a base to which a runner is compelled to advance because a batter has become a runner. For example, if a runner is forced out at second base on a ground ball hit to the shortstop, it is considered a force play putout. 

Pop Out Putout

A pop-out putout occurs when a defensive player catches a baseball that has been hit high into the air after it has touched the ground. If a foul ball is caught, it counts as an out. 

Interference Putout 

An interference putout happens when a runner obstructs a defensive player who is attempting to make a play on the ball. If a runner intentionally interferes with a play, they may be ejected from the game.

Examples of Notable Putouts in Baseball History

Throughout the history of baseball, there have been several remarkable putout plays that have had a lasting impact on both fans and the game itself. Some notable instances include Willie Mays’ incredible over-the-shoulder catch during the 1954 World Series and Derek Jeter’s famous “Flip Play” in the 2001 ALDS. 

Difference between Assist and Putout

When it comes to understanding the difference between an assist and a putout, it is important to note that an assist occurs when a fielder touches the ball before a putout is recorded. On the other hand, a putout happens when a fielder catches the ball before any base runner or batter. An assist is recorded as soon as the fielder touches the ball, while a putout is only credited when the fielder successfully catches the ball. 

Is A Strikeout a Putout for a Catcher?

As for whether a strikeout counts as a putout for a catcher, the answer is yes. If the catcher catches the third strike, or if there is a bunt that is fouled on the second strike, or even if the catcher drops a third strike, but first base is occupied, the catcher is indeed credited with a putout on a strikeout.

Statistical Importance of Putouts

Putouts play a vital role in the game of baseball, exerting a significant influence on a player’s overall statistics. Players who excel in putouts are frequently acknowledged for their defensive prowess, which, in turn, enhances their statistical performance. 

Moreover, putouts contribute to enhancing a team’s fielding percentage, a metric that gauges defensive efficiency. By swiftly executing putouts and preventing opposing players from reaching base, the defense can greatly impact both the players and the team’s fielding percentage.

Conclusion for What Is A Putout In Baseball?

A putout is a fundamental aspect of baseball that every player should strive to master. It is crucial for both the offense and defense to comprehend the concept of putout and how it is scored. As a defensive player, you can achieve a putout by either catching a ball before it touches the ground or tagging a runner with the ball in hand. 

On the other hand, as an offensive player, you can be putout by hitting a fair ball and running to first base. However, if the defensive player successfully catches the ball or tags you with the ball before reaching first base, it is considered a putout. Putting out your opponents not only earns points for your team but also showcases your skill as a player. 

Therefore, it is imperative to have a thorough understanding of putout before participating in a baseball game or even as a spectator. Mastering the art of putout can distinguish you from others, contribute to winning games for your team, and even secure a position in competitive leagues.

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