What is a Passed Ball?

By Alexis
Last Updated on

The passed ball (PB) definition in baseball is basically when the pitcher pitches a ball that deems to be normal and can be caught normally by the catcher without extra efforts, but the catcher fails to do so. So you can expect pass ball marks on a play with a legal pitch and caught ball that has been dropped or thrown by the catcher in unduly time.

Many of you might be wondering so what’s the deal with Wild Pitch vs. Passed Ball? Well, although wild pitch rule is very similar to a passed ball in baseball, these are considered to be pitches that are harder to catch or require much more effort from the catcher to catch, therefore losing control of the ball.  This definition also applies to Passed Balls in Softball.

is a passed ball a stolen base

Passed Ball vs. Wild Pitch

Passed Ball

  • Pitched balls that are considered to be significantly easier to catch, or pitched normally that can be caught normally, without the catcher needing to exert extra efforts, but has lost control over the ball anyway
  • Run is not considered an earned run
  • Not considered an RBI

Wild Pitch

  • Balls pitched that are considered to require more effort than usual from the catcher, making the pitcher the one to blame for the loss of control on the ball from the catcher’s end
  • Scoring base is considered to be an earned run
  • Considered an RBI

Error or Not?

Passed balls are not labeled as errors because passed balls are considered to be an “Act of Pitching”, whereas “Errors” are usually made through fielding. So it’s not just that it isn’t an error on the catcher, but it’s never usually considered an error at all. A wild pitch in baseball is also considered an “Act of Pitching” meaning this isn’t an error either.

Check this video on wild pitches and passed balls:

Passed Balls and Stolen Bases

When the catcher catches a legal pitch, but then loses control and lets go of the ball, this isn’t the batters fault, therefore the batter is permitted to proceed to run to base. Passed balls may be scored when the batter runs to a base on a passed ball third strike. Basically, a passed ball is not a stolen base unless the batter starts running before the pitcher begins the throw, because it is a sort of penalty to let the batter run.

Runs Batted In and Earned Runs

An RBI or a “Run Batted In”, is used for marking when a batter makes a run in a legal play that is eligible to be scored. Wild pitches can be considered earned runs and RBIs, but passed balls cannot be considered RBIs, however, although the run score of the batter isn’t considered an earned run, the team can still earn RBIs and Earned Runs through passed balls by the runners of the offensive team that are already out on the field.

Updated on

Photo of author
Alexis has been playing baseball since he was around 10. He is a 2020 high school graduate that currently trying to achieve his dream of becoming a professional baseball player.