KPB Blog

What it Takes to Make the Team: Left Fielder

Left fielders  have a range of talents at the collegiate level. Coaches will put guys with widely different skills, on defense, offense, and speed, in the left field position. So defining a  “mold”  for a typical left fielder is hard.

Traditionally, the left fielder is  not the outfielder with the strongest arm (that’s usually the right fielder) or with  the ability to cover the most ground (that’s usually the center fielder). The most important  characteristic for a left fielder to focus on for defense is being smart. A left fielder  is constantly  challenged with situational plays that can have a huge impact on the game. Take, for instance, if a runner is on first base, and a ball is hit down the line. If the  left fielder  makes the wrong decision, and throws to third, the hitter will advance to second and put two runners in scoring position. The left fielder always has to be aware of which runner is important, and the situation that is at hand. A left fielder  who has a strong arm, or can cover a lot of ground, is a plus, but is not a necessity.

A  left fielder  must have at least one strong skill set, either with the bat or glove. A left fielder  who is mainly offensive must have a pure hitter mentality. This hitter can either be a power hitter or a speed guy. However, it is rare that a coach will hide a hitter who does not have a clear role in left field. If you want to be a left fielder in college, and you are an offensive-minded player, make sure that you focus on one part of your game, and make it so that you are indispensable. Someone who can handle the bat well and can hold their own on defense will find a home in left field.

If you are mainly a defensive  player, it will be harder for you to break into the lineup in left field. It  may be easier to be a center fielder with speed and range, or even a right fielder with a strong arm. However, if you are going to be primarily a defensive player in left field,  you  have to be smart. You  must be consistent and  ready to react quickly  in every situation.  You cannot afford to make any mistakes that will cost your team 90-foot victories.

Like most positions in college, there is some flexibility in the role of the left fielder. It’s a position that  coaches  are going to use for  specific and different reasons for every team. More often than not, it will be offensive ability and trustworthiness to make the routine play and smart decisions on defense that will earn you the nod in left field. If you want to be a left fielder in college, make sure that you apply yourself to developing your best skill set. And always make sure that you’re a smart defensive player. If you are a guy with more upside and stability than liability, left field is a good place where a college coach can pencil you into the lineup.