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  • Isabella Beltran

New to Baseball? Learn Some Baseball Slang

Baseball season is upon us, and if you’re slowly trying to get into the groove of understanding Baseball or even Baseball slang you’ve come to the right place!

In this article we won’t necessarily be covering Baseball rules or positions, but we’re focusing on learning lingo. 

Starting off strong, we have “Ace”. In Baseball, we have a rotation of 5-6 starting pitchers, who most of the time could last 5 innings, and afterward there are relievers  who come in to pitch the remaining 4 innings. However, an Ace is pretty much a team's Number 1 starting pitcher. For example, The Los Angeles Dodgers’ ace would be considered Clayton Kershaw! A proper way of using this way is saying “That’s my ace!” “Kershaw is my ace!” 

Next, we have “Bag”. No this isn’t a literal bag. In Baseball, there are four bases. First base, second base, third base, and home plate. However, not many fans use this wording, they use bag instead. This can be used as “Right on the bag!” or “he makes it to the bag safely”. 

Adding on, we have “Caught looking”. In Baseball, batters are given three strikes. Afterwards, you’re considered out and can no longer continue batting. You’ll usually hear this when the batter is paying very close attention to the strike zone, when the batter hits three strikes while looking, that would be considered as  “Caught looking”. You’ll hear announcers say “Tim Anderson strikes out looking” or “Austin Barnes gets caught looking”. 

Are we slowly understanding?

Don’t worry we still have some more to learn!

“Caught napping” No you are not allowed to nap during games. At least for the players. However, Pitchers are allowed to “Pick off” players who hold a base, Since they aren’t necessarily allowed to stand on base, they have to be a little far off to the side of it, which then makes it easier for the pitcher to throw the ball to a first/second/ or third baseman to try and tag the runner out. Yes this would be considered an out as well. You’ll hear announcers say “Ronald Acuña Jr. gets caught napping”. This is a rare occurrence though, and you might even hear fans of the opposing team boo the pitcher because it is kind of an easy way to get out of a situation. 

What is a “Cleanup Hitter”?. In Baseball, every team holds a lineup of 9 players.  A cleanup hitter  would be the 4th batter in the lineup. Who also usually has more opportunities to hit with men on base. For example, Lou Gehrig is the greatest cleanup hitter, With 1,515 runs batted in. 

Now here’s a fun one! A “Cycle”.  In baseball we have a single, double, triple, and homerun. Imagine how crazy it would be if a player did all 4 in a single game? Well there’s a word for that, and it’s “Cycle”. For example, Trea Turner has hit for the cycle 3 times in his career!  You’ll hear this be said as “Trea Turner has hit for the cycle”. Pretty cool right?

Here’s another fun one, “Dinger”. Dinger is just a fun way to refer to a homerun. You’ll hear announcers say “ Barry Bonds hits another dinger!”. 

What is a “Five- tool player”? This is pretty much when a player can do everything. It consists of throwing, running, fielding, hitting for average and hitting for power. For example, Willie Mays is  one of the best power hitters in baseball history. Another example we can use is Dylan Crews, who was the No.2 pick in the 2023 Draft, who is also a five-tool prospect. This system is determined by scouting grades. Crews has an overall grade of 65, which is pretty great. Keep in mind that above average is 70-80. 

Dylan Crews Scouting Grades- Hit 70- Power-60, Run-60, Arm-55, Field-55- Overall- 65. 

Lastly, there’s “Gas”. Which is a high- velocity fastball. You may hear fans say “Shohei Ohtani is throwing absolute gas”. It is just another fun way to describe a pitch!

There’s so much more to learn in the baseball glossary, however I hope this helps future baseball fans have fun with the sport!

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