Academy Courses

Batting Out of Order

The “proper batter” is the official designation given to the batter who takes his plate appearance in the correct spot of the batting order. If a batter takes his plate appearance out of sequence, he is referred to as an “improper batter.” [6.03(b)]

Despite the official designation, it’s actually the responsibility of the defensive team to notice an infraction and appeal to the umpire. By rule, an umpire or score keeper will not point out a batting order infraction or penalize the offensive team for it. If an improper batter completes his plate appearance (by definition, out-of-turn) and the opposing team proceeds to throw a pitch to the next batter up, the out-of-turn appearance becomes legalized. [6.03(b)(5)] If that occurs, the batter who is to follow the newly-legalized batter is the next batter listed in the official, written batting order that is in possession of the plate umpire.

If a batting out-of-order violation is enforced, any advances that happened during the improper plate appearance are nullified. [6.03(b)(3)] The correct batter (as written in the official order) is called out, and play resumes with the next batter in the sequence. [6.07(b)(4)] If the violation is discovered during the plate appearance, there is no penalty, but the proper batter would be called to the plate to replace the improper one.

It is very important to realize and remember that it is the responsibility for the player who is due at bat to go to the plate and hit when his slot comes due. Thus when this rule is enforced the “proper” batter, who was supposed to be at bat, is the one called out. The “improper” batter is NOT the one called out. Umpires who have not thought this through will tend to want to call the improper batter out.

Batting Out of Turn: [Official Rule 6.03(b)]

Batting Out of Turn: [Official Rule 6.07]

Batting Out of Turn: [Official Rule 6.03(b)]

Brewers Bat Out of Turn: [Insider Report]

Brewers Bat Out of Turn

Even major leaguers sometimes bat out of turn. Brewers’ outfielder, Ryan Braun batted out of turn in the first inning against the Nationals. How did it play out Rich Marazzi breaks it down in this informative Insider Report.