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7 Reasons Why Baseball Players Are Athletes

Baseball might not be the most physically-demanding sport out there, but playing it takes a certain level of athleticism. Some of the best players in the world can go professionals in other sports if they focused solely on that.

Why are baseball players outstanding athletes? Their athleticism is on display in various ways. These are the seven main reasons why they should have respect from any fellow athlete.

1. Throwing 

Throwing a baseball comes naturally to those who have played for a long time, but it’s a skill that any athletic player needs to learn to have success. There are different types of throwing depending on a player’s position, but everyone’s required to have the strength and accuracy to throw a ball.

Pitchers must throw the most, as they need to be throwing each pitch at nearly max effort. A great pitcher in baseball not only throws hard, but they can change speeds and have outstanding location.

Fielders have to throw the ball hard and accurately to make plays. Infielders need to throw every ground ball to first base to get outs. In the outfield, fielders have to make long throws to get it back into the infield so that runners don’t advance. Catchers throw the ball more than pitchers, but they don’t have to throw at max effort nearly as much.

The only position a player can be hidden at because of their lack of throwing skill is first base or designated hitter. The first baseman rarely has to make throws, as it’s more about receiving throws from other positions. For a designated hitter, they aren’t on the field playing defense at all, so they don’t even need to throw during the game.

From the early days of playing catch in the backyard to trying to light up the radar gun with hard throws, pitching is one of those fundamental skills every baseball player has. The best athletes reach a high-level thanks to their throwing ability.

2. Fielding

Fielding a baseball takes a lot of hand coordination to have success. Many sports require catching a ball or fielding it off the ground, but few combine it with other necessary movements like baseball.

The art of fielding tends to get overlooked throughout time, but no team has success unless they can back up their pitcher. Having quality fielders on the team can save runs and keep games close.

Now that there are better ways to measure fielding effectiveness, teams are placing a greater emphasis on the skill at every position.

3. Hitting

Quality hand-eye coronation makes a big difference when baseball players succeed on the diamond. It’s a skill that a lot of athletes never grasp past a certain level. Without great hand-eye coordination, a player can’t hit for power or average.

The power numbers in baseball are up across the board, as teams are trying to hit home runs to keep pace with the opposition. It could be said that power-hitting is stressed a bit more than contact-hitting these days, but there are ebbs and flows throughout the sport’s history.

Generally speaking, the best players in baseball history have been able to hit for power and average. Every generation is different, but someone who can hit for .300 or better while also hitting 30 or more home runs is an all-around great hitter. Having the ability to drive in runs and get on base are fundamental aspects of team success.

4. Running 

Baseball players must be able to run on offense and defense. While it’s not required for baseball players to be extremely fast or run for a long amount of time, having fast-twitch muscles to make plays comes in handy.

The fastest players in baseball have the advantage for several reasons. They can play positions and get to balls that others are struggling with. Speed comes mostly in play in the outfield, whereas speed and quickness can make a difference in the infield. Speed is least required as a pitcher or catcher, since most of their work happens standing in relatively the same spot.

On offense, speed can create runs in several ways. Hitters with speed can beat out ground balls or extend hits by an extra base or two. Once on base, anyone who is fast is a threat to steal a base. That puts pressure on the other team to ensure that the runner is not getting a huge lead.

Trends in baseball come and go, and right now speed isn’t quite as emphasized as power. With that said, if power numbers start to go down, teams will always go back to relying on speed as a way to manufacture runs.

5. Strength

Having outstanding strength in baseball mostly comes into play on offense. Hitting for power manufactures runs in a hurry. It seems like teams are always looking for players who have outstanding strength and can drive the ball to all fields. Extra base hits are what put up runs, and these guys tend to hit in the middle of the lineup.

Strength also matters beyond just pure power at the plate. It takes strength to be solid enough to play 162 games in a regular season. Players who don’t have that strength tend to break down by the middle of the summer.

Pitchers also need outstanding strength, but maybe not necessarily where a person first thanks. A strong arm makes a difference, but throwing hard actually comes from strong legs. Having a strong base overall will allow pitchers to throw harder and for longer.

6. Versatility

A versatile baseball player can do so many different things on the diamond. While players start specializing the older they get, there’s value that comes with versatility and being able to fill in at other positions. This keeps a team from having to necessarily burn a substitution when they don’t have to.

Versatility also comes into play when it’s time to approach a tough team differently. For example, if a great pitcher starts shutting another team down, teams will need to find other ways to get on base. That might mean shortening up the swing and hitting the contact instead of power. Being versatile enough to do that helps out.

7. Durability

On top of everything else, baseball players must have the durability to excel at the highest level. It’s simply impossible to be a successful baseball player without being able to stay on the field and play consistently.

At the MLB level, the season is 162 games. Even at lower levels, players get asked to play nearly every day for months at a time. Even if each game is not physically exhausting, durability still matters. A player can be extremely talented, but availability makes a difference.

Are Baseball Players the Greatest Overall Athletes in Sports?

Getting into an argument over which type of athlete is the most versatile and athletic is one that no one will ever win. Everyone stresses different things, and it’s easy for several sports to claim that they have the most athletic players.

Baseball, without question, relies a lot on athleticism. There are very specific skills that to master in order to have success. They say that hitting a baseball is one of the most challenging things in all of sports, and doing it consistently enough at the highest level separates the solid players from the best.

The amount of skill and athleticism to play offense and defense in baseball should never be overlooked. While the sport might not be as physically demanding day-to-day, some of the best athletes in the world play baseball.