How To Score Baseball: Runner Caught Stealing

Caught Stealing (CS) or Pick Off (PO)

When scoring baseball a caught stealing is when a baserunner tries to advance a base or bases without the ball being hit. The results of the attempt are unsuccessful and the baserunner is out for Caught Stealing "CS". Another way to put it is, a runner attempting to steal a base is tagged out.

Here's an example:

There are no outs and the lead off hitter hits a double to left field on a 2 ball 2 strike pitch (noted by the "2B" in the players space in the baseball scorebook. The line projecting from Home Plate to left field shows the direction the ball was hit in. The dots in the squares represent the count when the ball was hit)

. Now he's on second base and and a runner on second base. The runner tries to steal third base but is caught stealing. The catcher successfully caught the pitch, threw the ball to third base, the third baseman caught the ball and tagged the runner before he could touch third base.

This Caught Stealing situation is recorded as follows:

We need to update the baserunner's space in the baseball scorecard so we enter "CS 2-5" "CS" = Caught Stealing "2" = Catcher "5" = Third Baseman

The player was caught stealing "CS" by the catcher "2″ catching the pitch and throwing the ball to the third baseman "5". The catcher gets credited with an assist on the throw and the third baseman gets credit for a putout.

A really good idea is to track, in a baseball scorebook, the sequence of outs in an inning. So in this example, since it was the first out of the inning I enter a "1″ with a circle around it in the upper right hand corner of the base runner's space.

The Pick Off

A Pick Off is the term used when a fielder throws "behind" the base runner in an attempt to tag the runner who is far off the base. If successful, the pick is recorded with the letters "PO" followed by the players involved. A pitcher who throws over to the first baseball and picks off the runner is scored as "PO 1-3". Where "PO" represents Pick Off, "1" represents the pitcher and "3" represents the first baseman.

The two most common scenarios of a Pick Off are:

  1. A pitcher, pitching from the stretch, throws over to first base in an attempt to "pick off" the runner who is wandering off the base
  2. A catcher, after catching a pitch, throws to first base in attempt to "pick off" the runner at first, who is far off the base.

Sometimes official scorers use Caught Stealing and Pick Off interchangeably.

Scoring a baseball game is great family fun.

Comments 3 comments

B4UPLAYBALL profile image

B4UPLAYBALL 4 years ago from NYC - USA Author

You are correct. Technically a pick-off occurs when the runner has taken a lead and is tagged out trying to get back to the base. A Caught stealing is scored when the runner is tagged out at the base he is trying to steal.


PC63 4 years ago

If I'm not mistaken is not a Pick Off scored as "PO" or "PK"

For example a Pitcher to First Pick off would be "PO 1-3" or "PK 1-3".


traci 7 years ago

thanks. got the answer I needed!

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