In baseball, a leadoff hitter is a batter who bats first in the lineup. It can also refer to any batter who bats first in any inning.
Leadoff hitters must possess certain traits to be successful: they must reach base at a proficient on-base percentage rate and be able to steal bases. Sabermetric analysis has indicated that the ability to steal bases is often an overrated quality of leadoff hitters; however, the leadoff hitter should still take a large lead at first and draw a throw from the pitcher. This is useful because it shows the team the pitcher's pick-off move. Many managers also wish their leadoff hitters to take a lot of pitches, to work high pitch counts, to give their teammates a feel for the opposing pitcher, as well as raising his pitch count. Also, because the leadoff hitter is first in the batting order, he will usually have the most plate appearances on the team over the course of a season, therefore must be a competent hitter. Power is valuable for a lead-off hitter, as any hitter who reaches second base or third base has a far greater chance of scoring on a single.
Leadoff hitters tend to play defensively difficult positions, such as shortstop, second base, and center field that require great mobility in the field. Rickey Henderson is widely regarded as the prototypical leadoff hitter for a combination of a high on-base percentage, power, speed, and base-running judgment.
Most times on base as leadoff hitter
Below is a list of Major League Baseball players with the most times on base from the leadoff spot as of the end of the 2020 season.
Most games played as leadoff hitter
Below is a list of Major League Baseball players with the most games played in the leadoff spot as of the end of the 2020 season.
Most plate appearances as leadoff hitter
Below is a list of Major League Baseball players with the most plate appearances from the leadoff spot as of the end of the 2020 season.