What Is A Swing In Baseball?

This article may contain affiliate links. For details, visit our Affiliate Disclosure page.


A swing is among the most quarrelsome calls in the game of baseball. Many baseball games have been decided based on the decision of whether a complete swing occurred or not. The defense has always argued in favor of the full swing whereas the batters have always argued in favor of the checked swing. Let us know about what is a swing in Baseball and umpires decision-making process in this article.

What Is A Swing In Baseball?

This article will discuss what swing is in baseball when a swing becomes a strike, what is a checked swing in baseball, how umpires decide when a swing becomes a strike and the role of technology in deciding when swing becomes a strike.

A swing happens in a baseball game when the batter entirely obliges to link with a pitch. There are no particular rules to define what swing all about is but the majority of people believe that a swing occurs when the bat clears home plate when a batter’s wrists roll over, or when the bat passes the batter’s body front. A half swing which is also called a checked swing happens when there is a start of the swing by the batter but it is not fully committed by them at the pitch. A swing is a strike or not, is decided by the home umpire and his decision is final and cannot be appealed.

Swing in Baseball

When an attempt is made at a pitch that is not a bunt is known as a swing in baseball. No exact definition of swing exists in the rule books. The decision is entirely based on the home base umpire.

Swing Becoming a Strike

A swing is considered a strike when the following aspects happen:

  • The batter’s wrists rollover.
  • The barrel passes the batter’s front body.
  • The bat clears home plate.

If any of the above scenarios happen and get missed then the fans of baseball consider them as a swing changing into a strike.

  • The Batter’s Wrists Roll Over

As a batter, you can either let the ball go away or you can swing the ball. If you are not able to hit any of the legal pitches can be categorized as a strike and if you experience three strikes consecutively, then you are out.

Verifying a swing permits the player to keep away from a strike as a half swing is not measured as an authentic offer for the ball. If you fail to swing on a terrible pitch then it is considered a ball instead of a strike.

The term ‘breaking wrist’ emerges from the movement of a batter while trying to halt the movement of the bat toward the ball.

Advocates of this system say that when the wrist of the batter rolls over, or when the bat’s head just crosses the wrists, it is considered that the batter has swung. The batter is successfully able to ‘half’ a swing if he keeps his wrists bent, and therefore, the bat stays away from the flight of the ball.

  • The barrel passes the batter’s front body

A swing is a strike if the bat crosses the front hip of the batter. It is easier to find out if the bat crossed the hips of the batter than the bat crossing the home plate to decide about the strike. But it is always the call of the umpire which matters.

Knowing how much a bat traveled for considering it a swing is a decision that takes a little thinking time both for the umpire and the spectators because the batter willing to swing, quickly retracts the bat.

It is very difficult to define what qualifies as a swing in baseball because for all present in the stadium, it is really difficult to decide whether the bat passed the home plate or the bat crossed the hip or the batter’s wrist rolled.


  • The Bat Clears Home Plate

This approach does not focus on the batter but decides on a swing based on the bat’s distance while moving. 

This check leaves the batter and focuses on the distance the bat moves. For supporters of this system, breaking or swinging of the wrist does not matter.

A strike gets converted from a swing if the barrel of the bat overtakes home plate or in the other case it crosses the front hip of the batter. Pro baseball does not follow these rules. This is a fact that even with cameras and the latest technologies available, it is hard to decide if a bat has cleared the home plate. 

A swing decision cannot be reviewed in pro baseball. The real-time decision is made by the umpires whether a swing is a strike or not. Sometimes umpire asks for assistance from a better angle and views the umpire present on the ground. It is always difficult for the umpires to say with 100% surety that the bat cleared the home plate.

Spectators benefit

Spectators have the benefit of watching the replay but umpires don’t have the privilege of reviewing their decision. So in many cases, the umpire might consider that the bat did not cross the home plate whereas the spectators believe after watching the replay that it is a strike.

Checked Swing in Baseball

A checked swing (half swing), happens if a batter starts to execute his swing, but cannot completely execute the swing at the pitch. Mostly what happens is that the bat is not able to travel enough space for an umpire to decide it as an attempt at a swing.


When the pitch is ruled a ball and the next pitch is not delivered then the players can appeal a check swing. A check swing can be appealed by the defense team only.

The base umpire decides about the appeal by the defense against the decision of check swing and no other appeal can be made against the base umpire’s decision.

Umpires Decision-making process

It is always the umpire’s decision that matters and if he shows a safe gesture then it is considered a swing call and if he shows a gritted fist then it shows the call of a strike. The home base umpire makes the decision of a strike and the batters are not allowed to appeal but the pitcher or catcher can appeal if the umpire does not call a strike.

Home base umpires take reviews decision with the help of the first and third base umpires because their view is better in this case.

The batter struck out if he faces a strike call for the third time. Checked swings cannot be reviewed and these decisions are based on the human eye and mind’s presence. This is the reason that these decisions are sometimes clumsy. 


The interpretation of the umpire decides whether it is a swing or not and there are no fixed rules in baseball to decide about it. It is impossible to tell in exact words how a swing is considered to be a strike but normally the batter’s intention is mainly considered the deciding factor in this regard. The physical aspects to know about the strikes are very unclear. The batters have the disadvantage of no appeals against the umpire’s decision.


1.How much is the speed of a swing in baseball?

The average speed of a swing is about eighty miles per hour.

2.Who decides on a swing or strike in baseball?

The umpire’s decision is final in narrating whether it is a swing or a strike.

What Is A Swing In Baseball?
Scroll to top