Wild Pitches and Passed Balls

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

When a pitch is thrown that is not caught by the catcher and a runner advances, it is scored as a wild pitch (WP) or passed ball (PB) as per scoring rule 10.13.

The difference comes down to whether or not the ball could have been handled with ordinary effort.  If it could, then it’s a passed ball, otherwise a wild pitch.  One specific hard and fast rule to use is that any pitch that hits the ground prior to getting to the catcher is always a wild pitch.   Also note that a strike (swung at by the batter) may  be a wild pitch.  If there is a wild pitch or passed ball, but a runner is thrown out trying to advance, then no WP or PB will be scored, even if other runners advance.  The others runners advance is deemed to be on a fielder’s choice.

Also note that if a runner was stealing on the pitch that ends up past the catcher, then no PB or WP will be charged (unless the runner advances more than one base).

  1. What about if there’s a wild pitch and the catcher throws down to try and get the runner out, does that count as a stolen base for the runner since the catcher made an attempt to get him?

  2. 2 strikes on the hitter, runner at second base only stealing on the pitch, batter swings at ball in the dirt that is cleanly handled by the catcher who throws to third base not in time to put out the runner. Batter advances to first base on the dropped third strike. The catcher could have easily thrown the ball to first base to retire the batter – but instead elected to throw to third. What is the proper scoring? A strikeout; a stolen base; and a wild pitch? And, if the batter subsequently scores is his run earned – even though he reached base on a dropped third strike?

    • Yes, score the strikeout, the stolen base (since he was running on pitch) and wild pitch (since it was in the dirt). The run would be earned. It would not be earned if he struck out and reached 1st base on a passed ball instead of a wild pitch. Rule 9.16(a) covers this where it says “charge an earned run..when a runner scores….by the aid of hits… wild pitches (including a wild pitch on 3rd strike that allows batter to reach 1st)”

      • Dan’s case clearly states the catcher retrieves the ball with plenty of time to throw the batter-runner out at first. Therefore, it’s a stolen base for the runner, and a strikeout and a fielder’s choice for the batter. No WP or PB. Run scored by this batter would be earned.

  3. apparently in tonights WS match; a single base was scored by two separate runners on a called “passed ball” …. so your last paragraph appears inaccurate

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