Every year, millions of Americans look forward to watching or playing baseball.
The thrill and the anticipation this game has to offer, makes it hard to miss out, especially if you understand the concept behind the game.
So, if you are a newbie fan or baseball player, or you are a veteran baseball fan, and you have been wondering, ‘Does height matter in baseball?’ then read on as I got you covered through this article.
I will be providing you with all the answers you need concerning height and baseball.
Make sure to read to the end of the article as I have also selected a few phenomenal players who had heights that are worth mentioning.
Does Height Matter In Baseball?
Yes, height does really matter in baseball.
There is no height requirement for Major League Baseball (MLB) players, but height will determine in which and what position you will be playing in the field.
For instance, the Pitcher (P, number 1), the First baseman (1B, number 3), and the Right fielder (RF, number 9) usually have an average height of 6 feet and 2.5 inches.
On the other hand, the Catcher (C, number 2), the Shortstop (SS, number 6), and the Left fielder (LF, number 7) should at least be about or a bit over 6 feet tall.
The average height of the Second baseman (2B, number 4) can be 6 feet and below. The Centerfielder (CF, number 8) should have an approximate height of 6 feet and 1.5 inches.
The average height of the third baseman (3B, number 3) should not be less than 6 feet and 1.5 inches long.
What Is The Best Height For A Baseball Player?
A height of 6 feet and 1 inch can be considered to be the best height for a baseball player.
How Short Is The Shortest Player In MLB?
The shortest player in MLB is Jose Altuve, who is 5 feet and 6 inches tall.
He was signed in 2007 by the Astros as a free agent and is still an active MLB player to date, and in 2017, he won the MVP (Most Valuable player) award.
He has also appeared 7 times in the all-star game in baseball.
However, there are also shorter MLB players in the history of baseball.
For instance, Eddie Gaedel, whose real name was Edward Carl Gaedel, holds the world record for the shortest player in MLB.
He was 3 feet and 7 inches long and weighed around 27 kgs.
However, Gaedel wasn’t an active baseball player, since he only made a one-time plate appearance with a perfect on-base percentage of 1.000.
Other players who were way shorter than Jose Altuve and actively played and made major achievements in MLB include; Stubby Magner, 5 feet and 3 inches long.
He played as the Yankees (previously known as the New York Highlanders) 2nd baseman and also as the shortstop in 13 professional MLB games.
Pompeyo Davalillo, sensationally nicknamed as ‘Yo-yo’ by his teammates, was 5 feet and 3 inches tall.
Being the only fourth Venezuelan MLB player, Yo-Yo earned himself a spot as one of the shortest MLB players who has ever had a batting mean of .293 and 2 RBIs.
Willie Keeler, who was 5 feet and 4 inches tall, can be described as the bunter pioneer due to his bunting skills.
He is also accredited for inspiring rules that helped prevent hitters from fouling off too many pitches with bunts.
He still, up to date, owns the lowest strikeout percentage in baseball despite retiring after the 1910 season.
Do Baseball Scouts Look At Height?
Yes, to some extent, scouts do look at height.
However, they don’t only look at height but also on a number of things as I am going to discuss below;
Velocity Or Speed
Speed is everything in baseball since it not only determines how long the game will last but also determines who gets to win.
A fast player will cover the field faster and with ease without risking injuring themselves as compared to a slower player.
This makes it essential that baseball scouts look at the speed of a potential baseball player.
So, if you have a velocity of more than 80MPH at throwing and at running, the chances are that the baseball scouts might select you.
Arm Span And Dexterity
The greater your arm span is, the higher your chances of being selected by baseball scouts.
A long arm span equals stronger hits, which means the ball will go to further distance.
Also, a longer arm span makes it easy for the catcher (number 2) to reach the pitcher’s pitches.
Dexterity simply means the ability to perform activities by the use of arms.
This attribute is very important, especially for catchers, as they are supposed to react and act accordingly(catch) within a pop time.
How strong a potential baseball player arm is, is of great importance as it determines how fast and far the player will hit the ball.
It will also determine the player’s ability to catch a pitch and also throw it to the next player while in the field at a quick speed.
Pro-tip; To improve your arm strength consider doing the following exercises;
Bench dips, dumbbell shoulder fly (both in lateral and posterior raise), kettlebell overhead press, triceps extensions, and pushups.
Ensure that you correctly perform these exercises since, you risk injuring yourself, when you do them incorrectly.
Intelligence, Decisiveness, And Alertness
Baseball is quite a unique game, it’s like playing chess, but the only difference is that you have to be both physically and mentally alert.
Players have to be intelligent, or what professionals say have baseball IQ.
They have to make decisive decisions very fast, which should always be in the interest of their teammates or aimed at winning.
Regardless of their position in the field, any baseball player must always be alert.
Baseball scouts are always in search of a potential baseballer who is quick to notice anything unusual done by their opponent and use it to their advantage.
Athletic And Endurance
Baseball scouts are always looking for an athletic and endurant player.
Note, baseball doesn’t have a halftime, and neither does it have a specific game clock; players only get to take a break during the seventh-inning stretch.
This makes it important that potential baseballers be athletic, in that they should be competitive, physically fit, flexible and active while in the field.
Endurant players are able to cope with the never-ending pressure in a baseball game without giving up or showing any signs of fatigue.
And that’s what scouts want, an athletic and endurant player.
Excellent Reflexes And Body Balance
Since baseball thrives on anticipation, that is, you don’t know which move your opponent will make, it is important that any baseball player have excellent reflexes, especially the third base player.
A player should be able to react fast and objectively.
Body balance is essential as it functions to aid a baseballer in moving the ball in the desired direction and at the right speed.
Any potential or professional baseballer should always have an ideal body balance.
Extra tip; Consider doing the following exercises if you want to enhance your body balance.
Do daily squats, walk-on heel to toe and vice versa, balance on one leg or an unstable surface (always have protective elbow and knee pads on when doing this maneuver).
For your balance exercises to be more effective, ensure that you do them on a regular basis and for a session of not less than 30 minutes.
Elite Vision Acuity
Human beings with a vision of 20/8 are considered to have the best visual acuity. However, most baseball players have a visual acuity of 20/12 to 20/13.
Through vision, a baseball player knows which position to move to, easily predicts his teammates’ movements, and also read bad throws.
This makes it essential that any potential baseball player have unquestionable vision acuity.
Your Dominant Hand
Your dominant hand is another quality that baseball scouts look for before selecting you to play in an MLB or any other league.
For instance, if you are left-handed and have quick reflexes, the scouts are likely to pick you as a first baseman.
Yes, height does matter in baseball. In fact, through height and other factors, baseball scouts are able to select potential baseball players to play in the different positions in the field.
The average height of a Major league baseball player is usually 6 feet and 1 inch tall, with the pitcher, the first baseman, and the Right fielder being the tallest.
Mostly, baseball players averaging at least below 6” play as the second baseman.
Scouts do not only look at the height of potential baseball players, but they also look for speed/velocity, arm span, agility, excellent reflexes, intelligence, decisiveness, alertness, arm power, vision acuity, dominant hand, and dexterity in a potential player.
All these qualities contribute to how well a player will perform in their given position.