Wild Pitch vs Passed Ball – Baseball basics

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Baseball is a team sport and one of the most popular games in America. It is a favorite American pastime that even kids can play in the backyard to enjoy their leisure time. The team game contains two teams of nine players who are good at hitting, fielding, throwing & running. These skills are vital for a baseball player. However, a baseball player must be well-versed in baseball basics, too, in order to gain a competitive advantage and play the game well.

Wild Pitch vs Passed Ball – Baseball basics

So, in this article, we have come up with some critical baseball basic concepts you must know about. Wild pitch vs passed ball is one such concept. It is important to learn what wild pitch and passed ball are so that you may be able to play the game confidently and invalidate the wrong judgement if any.

So, read down the lines and discover the difference between wild pitch vs passed ball to understand the game well. Both concepts have some elements in common, but there is a valid difference which separates them from each other.

What is a wild pitch?

A game can never be faultless. There is always a chance of human error when you are playing, and the same is the case in a baseball game. However, Professionals do not usually make frequent mistakes, but when it comes to beginners or novice players, mistakes are common, and they affect the result. Typically, there are two types of throwing errors, i.e. Wild pitch & overthrow. In this editorial, we will briefly look at the common throwing error called wild pitch.

A wild pitch, as the name declares, is a penalty which is charged in a situation where the pitcher strikes the pitch so far from the strike box that the catcher may never be able to catch it. When the catcher is not able to catch the ball because of the pitcher’s mistake, and the runners spread forward, consequently, then pitcher is accused of a wild pitch once regardless of the number of runners who advanced as a result.

The exception to the rule is the absence of runners on the base when a pitcher throws the pitch. In this case, the pitch is known as the ball. Moreover, any pitch where the ball bounces on the ground before reaching the home plate is also referred to as a wild pitch. However, if the runners try to steal the base before the pitcher throws the wild pitch, then the mistake is known as a stolen base instead of a wild pitch. A wild pitch can be avoided if the member of the defending team’s batter or base runner is declared as out by the umpire.

What is a passed ball?

A passed ball is another event in a baseball game where a catcher is unable to hold a pitched ball that he could catch, and as a result, a runner or the runners move up on the base. A passed ball is considered to be a catcher’s fault. However, typically, it is not an error but when the team runs a score as a result of a passed ball, it is not considered an earned point against the pitcher.

Sometimes, the players question the umpire’s judgement, so in this case, the scorer will recreate the inning. If he scores the run without the passed ball, the run is considered to be earned otherwise it will be deemed as unearned.

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Wild Pitch vs Passed Ball main differences

The first question that arises in the player’s or reader’s mind is why Wild Pitch vs passed ball? It is because the Wild pitch & passed ball both allow the runners to move forward without a stolen base. However, there are major differences which separate both the mistakes.

The wild pitch is considered to be the pitcher’s fault because the pitcher throws a catch which is far away from the strike box and the catcher could not hold it so far while a passed ball is said to be the catcher’s fault as it is the catcher who misses the ball which he could catch. Or we can say that if the ball could be handled but missed that it is a passed ball, but if it could not have been handled with a reasonable effort, then the ball is a wild pitch.

Another difference is the run which is scored when the wild pitch is thrown while the run is unearned in case of a passed ball if the run would not have been scored otherwise.

In the end, I believe that it is a judgment call. If the formal scorer governs that the catcher couldn’t play the ball because the pitcher threw the ball far from the strike box that it was almost impossible for the catcher to hold it then it will be called a wild pitch.

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Why is a passed ball not an error?

Wild pitches & passed balls are not considered errors because it largely depends upon the judgement of official scorers and how the catcher treats the ball. If the runners do not advance in response to the wild pitch or a passed ball, then it will not be considered a mistake, no matter how the ball was thrown by the pitcher or handled by the catcher. It is, more often, a matter of judgement, so the passed ball, as well as the wild pitch, is not considered an error.

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How to Advance on a wild pitch, passed ball, or ball in the dirt

Advancing on a ball in the dirt is critical. It takes courage, confidence & effort to do so. However, there are a few tips which can help you to do it smartly. These tips are listed below.

  1. Don’t be afraid of making outs

Winning & losing is the part of the game, so don’t hesitate and be afraid of making out. Trying is the key, so one may not stop to keep trying. Do not demotivate your team member. Applaud them and try harder the next time so that you may be able to play the ball well.

  1. Smart secondary lead

Taking a smart secondary lead towards the next base is another tip. Make sure that your right foot hit the ground as the ball enters the hitting zone.

  1. keep an eye on the pitch trajectory and the catcher

It is something difficult but it is a useful tip. Keep your eyes on the pitch trajectory as well as the catcher. Take off if the pitch is on a lower trajectory and the catcher starts to go to his knees.

  1. Anticipate off speed counts

Off-speed pitches are great! Sometimes the pitcher tries to strike the pitch between home plate & the catcher’s feet, and the off-speed pitch bounces more than the fastball due to the nature of the pitch and the location. An off-speed count is when the pitcher has the advantage (0-2, 1-2) but lookout in even counts (1-1, 2-2).

Read: How Fast Can the Average Person Throw a Baseball

Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered a wild pitch?

A wild pitch is said to be a pitcher’s mistake. It occurs when the pitcher throws the ball towards the strike box, but it goes far away from the box that the catcher cannot hold it, and as a result, the runners advance towards the base. The pitcher is charged for a wild pitch regardless of the number of runners who advance towards the base. The charge can only be averted if the runners advance before the ball is thrown. It is called the stolen base. Sometimes, it is just an umpire’s judgement whether he considers the pitch a wild pitch.

Does a wild pitch count as a ball?

A wild pitch is not considered an error, but the pitcher is accountable for it, whereas he is not deemed to be accountable for the passed ball. It happens when the pitcher throws the ball towards the strike box, but it goes far away from the box that the catcher cannot control it, and as a result, the runners advance towards the base.

Is a wild pitch an earned run?

A run scored on a wild pitch is recorded as an earned run but a run remains unearned in case of a passed ball when the scorer recreated the inning and did not accomplish the run otherwise.


Wild Pitch vs passed ball is a basic baseball concept, the game depends upon. It tells us that a throwing mistake can overturn the game in the other party’s favor. It seems to be a minor difference between a wild pitch & a passed ball but the dimensions of the game change when the teams encounter the situation. So these mistakes must be avoided in order to play the game well.

We hope that this brief guide will help you to understand the basic baseball concepts. Let us know about your reviews and also ask questions in the comments section below, if any. Cheers.

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Written By Beedebaseball
Beedebaseball, your trusted source for insightful gaming and sports articles. With a prolific career spanning half a decade, Beedebaseball has consistently delivered compelling content that delves deep into the worlds of gaming and sports. His specialty? The timeless and beloved sport of baseball. With a profound understanding of the game, Beedebaseball has become a leading voice in the realm of baseball journalism, offering a wealth of knowledge to readers and enthusiasts alike.Through his writings, he not only showcases his expertise but also his unbridled passion for the sport. Whether it's breaking down the intricacies of the game, analyzing player performances, or exploring the intersection of gaming and sports, Beedebaseball brings a unique and engaging perspective to the table.