Leadoff hitter

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Drew Stubbs, former leadoff hitter for the Cincinnati Reds

In baseball, a leadoff hitter is a batter who bats first in the lineup. It can also refer to any batter who bats first in an inning.

Strategy

Leadoff hitters must possess certain traits to be successful: they must reach base at a proficient on-base percentage rate and be able to steal bases. Sabermetric analysis has indicated that the ability to steal bases is often an overrated quality of leadoff hitters; however, the leadoff hitter should still take a large lead at first and draw a throw from the pitcher. This is useful because it shows the team the pitcher's pick-off move. Many managers also wish their leadoff hitters to take a lot of pitches, to work high pitch counts, to give their teammates a feel for the opposing pitcher, as well as raising his pitch count. Also, because the leadoff hitter is first in the batting order, he will usually have the most plate appearances on the team over the course of a season, therefore must be a competent hitter.

Leadoff hitters tend to play defensively difficult positions, such as shortstop, second base, and center field. Rickey Henderson is widely regarded as the prototypical leadoff hitter.

Notable Major League Baseball leadoff hitters

Bold names indicate players active going into the 2016 season

Notable Korea Professional Baseball leadoff hitters

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