Why Shortstop Is The 6th Position?

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A shortstop player plays between second base and third base, primarily at the deepest end of the field. He has to be very athletic and is required to have good hands, feet, and strong gloves and arms. He also has to be very vocal as he is in charge of the infield. Let us know more detail about ‘Why Shortstop Is The 6th Position?’.

Why Shortstop Is The 6th Position?

Why Shortstop Is The 6th Position?

The shortstop is the 6th position and not any other position because outfielders used to play shallow at this position. Since the baseballs were light in weight, there was a need for another player standing between the infield and the outfield. However, when there was an improvement in the quality of baseball, the shortstop was promoted to the position of an infielder and the position remained the 6th position.

Baseball Positions: Why Shortstop Is The 6th Position?

There are certain positions in baseball, and each position has a number assigned to it so that scorekeeping becomes easier. 

The baseball positions are as follows: 

  • Pitcher: 1
  • Catcher: 2
  • First baseman: 3
  • Second baseman: 4
  • Third baseman: 5
  • Shortstop: 6
  • Left fielder: 7
  • Center fielder: 8
  • Right fielder: 9 

What Is the Role of a shortstop? 

If a baseball is hit by the shortstop, he must throw it to first base. But he also has to be in many different places because the ball might not be in his direction as the area covered by a shortstop is extensive. 

  • If any of the baseman (third) gets out of the position, the shortstop has to make sure he moves over to third base instantly. 
  • If there is a ball hit to the outfield, the shortstop has to go out. 
  • He mainly has the responsibility to cover the area between the second baseman and the third baseman. Shortstop shares his responsibility with the second baseman.
  • They are responsible for fielding ground balls and fly balls that are hit to their portion of the field which is also the biggest portion assigned to an infielder. 
  • They are the best defensive players on the team, having a perfect combination of range and arm strength to throw out the runners who are at first base. 
  • They also play a part in returning double plays whenever needed- either on the fielding end or on the returning end of the play. 
  • They also act as a cutoff man when the ball is hit to the center or left field. 

4 Shortstop Positions on the Field 

These positions represent where a shortstop plays throughout the game. 

Regular Depth 

The first position is regular depth. It is the deepest part of the infield. The player is predominantly playing on the dirt or slightly close to the dirt in the outfield grass. 

Double Play Depth 

This position allows you to get to the baseball real quick, this position also allows you to reach the back of the field if the ball is on the other side of the field as quickly as possible. You will also have to take two to three giant steps from regular depth to the pitcher’s mound and two to three steps over toward second base. The positioning also varies based on the hitter and the pitcher who is on the mound. 

Half- Way 

This is the third position for the shortstop. This position is halfway between the second and third base. It is also a bit closer to the home plate. In this position, the shortstop either has a runner on the third base or the second. If it’s a slow hit, the shortstop has a chance to get the ball and get the guy out. So, this way, the shortstop can cut the guy down if the ball allows. 

In-Field In 

This is the fourth position for the shortstop. This position is again halfway between the second base and the third base. The runner is either on the second or the third or the base is even loaded, and the shortstop has to cut down the runner on the home plate. So, the shortstop is sacrificing the range a little bit, he should be close to the plate so when the baseball comes, the guy on the home plate can get out. 

What Are the Mechanics of Shortstops?

A shortstop is the quarterback of the defense. The shortstop has to be the most athletic person in the game. When the game starts and gets sped up, the shortstop footwork, glove, and hand-eye coordination should be smooth enough to make the tough play seem easy. Also, the angles and the positions of a good shortstop have to be completely in sync. A shortstop should always know what pitch is coming, and should act accordingly. 

What Should Be the Mentality of the Shortstop?

A shortstop has a whole lot more responsibility on the field than other players. A shortstop should anticipate the speed of the runner who is going to hit the ball. He should analyze whether he has to react fast or react slowly to that ball. If there is a guy on first base, the shortstop should also be thinking about his speed. Then, he should also analyze if the situation is a double-play situation. In short, a shortstop should constantly replay the possible scenarios before the hitter hits the ball because once the play happens, the action and the speed of the play are too overwhelming to consider all the situations


Shortstop is a great position to watch during a baseball game. A shortstop can take what usually looks like a positive for the offense and turn it into an out for the defense. They are fun to watch and are also quite athletic and flexible with strong arm strength. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • Why Is Shortstop 6 and Not 5?

The reason for the shortstop to be on 6 and not 5 is because, in the early days of baseball, the shortstop used to be the fourth outfielder who then got moved to the infield, but the number 6 stuck there and has been the same ever since. 

  • Why Is There a Shortstop Position? 

In the early days of baseball, the defense players who were comparatively poor at batting were assigned a position. This is in today’s world called a shortstop position, but the notion related to it has also completely changed. Today, the shortstop players are good, in fact, the best players on the team.

Why Shortstop Is The 6th Position?
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