It’s well-known that every player on the baseball field has a role to play and contributes to the team’s success.
Each position requires a certain set of skills, specific talents, and diverse athletic abilities.
Some positions may require strength and quickness, while at others you’ll mostly rely on baseball IQ and the ability to read the game.
The best teams are always very deep and have solid players at every spot on the field.
However, there’s no denying that some positions are more crucial than others, at least when it comes to winning a game.
The debate on what is the most important position in baseball is probably as old as the game itself.
You can make an argument for almost any position, but still, some are definitely more valued.
I’ll explore which positions are the most important and why players at those spots are so valuable to the team.
What Is The Most Important Position In Baseball?
While there are certainly some that think otherwise and may name other positions, most baseball experts, as well as fans, would agree that pitcher is the most important position on the baseball field.
Pitchers have the most influence on the outcome of the game and contribute to winning more than anyone else.
They see most time on the field and take part in every play.
No matter how good the team’s offense is, winning a game is impossible without a good defense.
Every defensive effort starts with the pitcher and the ball in his hand. Plus, they’re the first line of defense after the hit.
They control the game, set the pace, and impact how the other team hits the ball.
In addition, it’s the pitcher that gets tagged with a Win or Loss stat depending on how the team did and how good was his performance.
Why Is The Pitcher The Most Important Position?
No matter how good your defense is, if you have a bad pitcher, you’ll likely to give up runs.
While they don’t do much in terms of fielding, pitchers minimize offensive damage inflicted by the opponents.
Their job is to keep the batters off balance and make it as hard as possible for them to make proper contact with the ball.
Poor pitching will lead to indefensible home runs or walking a lot of batters which also puts plenty of pressure on the team’s defense.
Besides being crucial to winning, pitching is also probably the hardest job on the field.
It’s no wonder that starting pitchers are rarely in the game for more than 5 innings and commonly only play every five days.
Unlike most of the other defensive players, they’re involved in every defensive play. Plus, they do all this while being under the most pressure of all players.
What Is The Most Important Position In Baseball Besides Pitcher?
There are many different views on which position is the second most important in baseball, but most informed answers will likely point either to the catcher or shortstop.
The catcher is not only number 2 on the scoresheet, but also probably in terms of the importance to the baseball team.
I explained how important the pitcher is, and the catcher’s performance has a significant impact on how the pitcher will play.
A good pitcher doesn’t mean much without a good catcher. A catcher is almost like a manager on the field.
Just like pitchers, they need to be familiar with every hitter, both in the lineup and on the bench.
Also, they need to know their own pitchers, as they will likely play with different starters on the mound.
Plus, they need to know the positioning and the strengths of the defense, as they’re the ones responsible for the strategy on the field and calling pitching signs and locations.
On top of all of this, they’re the players that communicate with the umpires the most.
Another school of thinking suggests that shortstop is the most important position after the pitcher and there are valid arguments for this.
Not everyone can be a shortstop as this position requires superior speed and athletic ability, but also an elite throwing arm.
A play of a shortstop can often have a significant impact on the final outcome of the game.
They’re responsible for fielding most of the ground balls, but also they’re often the cutoff man for any baseball driven to deep left or center field.
Plus, they often cover the second base on steal attempts.
As the anchor of the infield, shortstops have the most contact with the ball and they need to play well with other infielders.
Which Is The Least Important Position In Baseball?
Even though every position matters, at least at some point in the game, some do carry less importance, and players at those positions have fewer responsibilities.
Two outfield corner positions left and right, are usually named as those of the least significant on the field.
This is especially true for the right field which is the area where the hit ball is least likely to end up as most batters are right-handed.
In most cases, managers use these positions to hide players who are good hitters, but poor in the field.
This is often the case with veteran batters who can benefit from seeing less action.
Still, right fielders need a strong arm as they have to throw balls to the infield cutoff man so the runner wouldn’t score points.
If you randomly ask baseball fans which position is the most important, you may get 9 different answers.
Still, on a larger sample, most will likely agree that it’s the pitcher, followed by catcher and shortstop in some order.
However, baseball is known as a very team-oriented game, even more so than some other major sports.
You can’t have a single star bring you results like in basketball, for example.
For a team to be successful all nine players have to work as a unit and each of them has to contribute according to their responsibilities and strengths.
Even players who rarely see action, when called upon, have to perform to their best ability if a team is to secure a win.