What is the Average Height of an MLB Player? - Baseball Scouter (2023)

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The height of players in major American sports can vary greatly – a phenomenon created by the particular demands of each game. The commonly stated average height of a Major League Baseball player is 6’ 1.5”, or basically not quite 6’ 2”. Note that this is well above the 5’ 9” average height of today’s American male.

Among major sports in the United States, only hockey players are smaller on average, at about 6’ 1”. Average National Basketball Players are 6’ 7” and pro football players are around 6’2” tall. If you consider NASCAR a major sport, they are the smallest at an average of a little more than 5’ 8” tall.

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Does Height Matter in Baseball?

New or average fans may not know this, but in baseball the legs are where the power lies, and the longer, the better. Taller pitchers take advantage of long legs and big thighs to generate velocity on pitches, and also to release the ball closer to the plate which shortens the time a batter has to decide whether to swing. Some say tall pitchers also have an advantageous high release point making their pitches arrive at a steeper, harder-to-hit downward angle.

Taller batters can be at a disadvantage, because of a larger strike zone up and down. However, less-than-average-height batters lose power due to their shorter body frames. Batters generate much power from their hips and upper legs.

Baseball might appear to be a game of arms, but deep down much depends on the legs for power, and feet for mobility and nimbleness.

What’s the Minimum Height Requirement in the MLB?

There is none. However, tinkering around with very short players to shrink strike zones and therefore gain more base on balls is generally frowned upon.

The smallest player in MLB history was Eddie Gaedel, a 3’ 7” pinch-hitter who drew a walk in his only at bat in 1951. It was a publicity stunt during World War II when crowds were sparse with the war efforts, and Gaedel was later banned from the game for making a “mockery” of it.

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Still, shorter players do indeed benefit from shorter strike zones. It’s why many of them are placed atop batting lineups, to get on base however possible like by base on balls, for the sluggers behind them to move them around the bases to hopefully score runs.

MLB Player’s Height By Position

There are no rules for heights for baseball players per the positions they play – but there are tradition-based suggestions. Managers often prefer tall players at first base, to expand their range to grab balls thrown to them and also to provide a big target for other infielders to aim at. Catchers are rarely very tall considering all the squatting and close-to-the-dirt play. Pitchers, especially in modern times, tend to be taller.

In the past, middle infielders used to be quite thin and small, but the trend shifted starting with Cal Ripken and Ryne Sandberg in the 1980s, and Alex Rodriguez and Jeff Kent in the 1990s. Most middle-infielders today are expected to swing the bat with authority and not just be defensive specialists a la Mark Belanger of the Baltimore Orioles circa late-1960s to early 1970s.

Pitchers, first-basemen and right-fielders log in at the same height, on average the tallest of MLB players. The generally accepted average MLB players’ heights, by position:

  • Pitcher: 6’ 2.5”
  • Catcher: About 6’
  • First-Baseman: same as Pitcher and Right-Fielder, 6’ 2.5”
  • Second-Baseman: 5’ 11”
  • Third-Baseman: 6’ 1”
  • Shortstop: Bit over 6’
  • Left-Fielder: Just over 6’
  • Center-Fielder: 6’ 1.5”
  • Right-Fielder: Same as Pitcher and First-Baseman, 6’ 2.5”

For a designated hitter, just consider what position he played prior to becoming a DH. Few players, if any, progress through the minor leagues just as a DH; and many designated hitters still roam the field at times, like J.D. Martinez of the Boston Red Sox today, who could be seen in the outfield or even at first base at times. (Martinez is 6’ 3”).

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Some players defy expectations with their height per their position, or overall size compared with the era they played. Hall of Famer Honus Wagner, for instance, was considered a behemoth at shortstop at 5’ 11” and 200 lbs. at the start of the 20th century. He was a superb hitter, and was considered a very good if not excellent fielder.

Minnesota Twins standout Joe Mauer was very tall for his catcher position, at 6’ 5”. Then again, he was known more for his hitting prowess than defensive abilities. Whitey Ford and Tommy Lasorda were just 5’ 10” – Ford landed in the Hall of Fame, Lasorda didn’t pitch much in the majors but later made fame as a manager.

More Information

  • Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson brought attention to pitchers’ heights when he started dominating hitters in the 1990s. He is 6’ 10” tall.
  • Chris Young of the San Diego Padres gained headlines for his 6’ 10” frame, from 2004 to 2017. Later in his career, he teamed with the tallest MLB player ever, Jon Rauch at 6’ 11” tall. Next up: the MLB’s first 7-footer?
  • Height does not matter? The infield for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the latter 1970s into the early ‘80s broke a record for playing together for the longest period of time. Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell and Ron Cey won a World Series and played in three other fall classics, with all of them well under 6 feet tall.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, today’s second-baseman Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros is the shortest MLB player at 5’ 6” tall – and he’s considered a superstar.
  • Babe Ruth was 6’ 2” tall, way above the average American’s height at the time. American males have grown consistently taller since then, though the trend appears to be stalling in recent years.
  • A reason the Los Angeles Dodgers stated for trading away young pitcher Pedro Martinez was his small body frame, which club officials believed would make him prone to career-threatening injury. Martinez is 5’ 11” with a playing weight of 195 – still solid compared with average American sizes – and he went on to a long career and election into the baseball Hall of Fame.

Related Questions

Can a tall batter fiddle with the strike zone, such as by exaggerated crouching?

Yes and no. The strike zone is determined by a player’s batting stance as he or she is ready to swing at a pitched ball. This is important, because sometimes a batter starts with an exaggerated stance, only to naturally rise as he prepares to actually swing. It’s during this latter part of a swing that an umpire sets the strike zone.

Therefore, crouching dramatically before a pitch does little before a swing. However, it could provide an optical illusion to the umpire that the strike zone is smaller, and also lead to a batter swinging while still kind of in a crouch (probably not a good thing hitting-wise, though).

The strike zone itself has been adjusted many times. Today, it’s upper portion is at the mid-point between the top of the shoulders, down to the bottom of a player’s knees. There have been several top-bottom adjustments over the years, but in every case the ball also must pass over a portion of home plate to be called a strike.

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Are there any other tips to help an umpire determine a batter’s strike zone?

Some batters believe wearing the uniform a certain way helps. For instance, former batting champion Bill Madlock famously wore his pants high up to the knee, during an era where pants typically went to the mid-calf or lower. Why? To help the umpire know precisely where the low end of the strike zone was located, to deter low balls from being called strikes.

See Also:
Why Does Baseball Have So Many Games in a MLB Season?
Do MLB Players Wear Low Crown Hats?
Why Is The MLB Draft In The Middle Of The Season


What is the Average Height of an MLB Player? - Baseball Scouter? ›

Catcher averages are around 6 feet tall, and the average weight is around 214 pounds. First basemen also tend to be a little taller, averaging 6 feet 2.5 inches (similar to pitchers), which gives them a longer reach than shorter players.

How tall should a baseball catcher be? ›

Catcher averages are around 6 feet tall, and the average weight is around 214 pounds. First basemen also tend to be a little taller, averaging 6 feet 2.5 inches (similar to pitchers), which gives them a longer reach than shorter players.

How tall do you have to be to play baseball? ›

There's no minimum height requirement in Major League Baseball, and more specifically no requirement for minimum strike zone size.

How tall is a MLB shortstop? ›

Average Height of an MLB Shortstop

The average height of a major league baseball shortstop is 72.5 inches (about 6'0 1/2″).

How tall should a pitcher be? ›

The average height of a major league baseball pitcher is 74.63 inches (just over 6'2 1/2″), the tallest of any position in the league.

How hard is it to be a MLB catcher? ›

But the catcher has the most responsibility of any player on the field, eclipsing even that of the pitcher. Being a catcher is the hardest job in baseball. Right now, if you're able, get into a crouching position. It's not very comfortable, is it?

Can you be a tall catcher? ›

There have been notable tall catchers through history, from Hall of Famers Carlton Fisk (6 feet 2 and ironically nicknamed 'Pudge') to Mike Piazza (6 feet 3).

How do you get noticed by MLB scouts? ›

8 Tips To Help You Get Noticed by College Baseball Scouts
  1. Put in the WORK. ...
  2. Know college recruiting rules and schedule. ...
  3. Write down your target list of schools. ...
  4. Show off your skills with video. ...
  5. Build profiles on recruiting websites. ...
  6. Get a Rapsodo Certified Assessment. ...
  7. Reach out to coaches on your target list.

Is it better to be short or tall in baseball? ›

While drafted shorter players are just as likely to become established major-league relief pitchers and established major-league pitchers in general, taller pitchers are more likely to become established major-league starting pitchers. Highest level got to in professional baseball (majors, AAA, etc.)

Is 17 too late to start baseball? ›

There is no age that is too late if you have a kid that is exceptionally gifted athletically, however, if they are a below-average athlete beyond the age of 12 it starts to get very difficult for kids to catch up to peers that have trained their whole lives in baseball.

How hard do MLB shortstops throw? ›

But if you do not have a radar gun, average-grade velocities throwing from shortstop to first usually around 85 mph and higher. And, I have seen a Major League outfielder with an above-average arm (when he was a minor leaguer) throw a ball 91 mph from behind the mound to home plate.

Can a pitcher pick off to shortstop? ›

As long as the pitcher steps off the rubber, he can throw the ball wherever he wants. Sometimes the shortstop will cover second base on a pickoff attempt.

Is catcher or shortstop harder? ›

Shortstop is one of the hardest positions to play on a baseball diamond. When playing shortstop, you have to cover the most ground of any position on the infield, moving to your left, to your right, and sometimes into the outfield for short fly balls.

Why do MLB pitchers throw so fast? ›

At high speeds, the airstream friction against this rotating turbulence is less than it would be against the actual surface of the ball. There is a drastic overall decrease in drag, making it possible for a major league "flame-thrower" to hurl the ball at speeds of 90 to 100 miles an hour.

Can short pitchers throw hard? ›

Short pitchers who throw 90+ MPH usually test very well in our mobility assessment. This allows them to maximize their bodies in the key biomechanics principles of pitching like back leg load, back leg drive, hip to shoulder separation, front leg extension, forward trunk tilt etc. This pitcher throws 90-92 MPH.

What age do pitchers peak? ›

Generally, pitchers see their velocity peak in their early 20s and steadily decline by a full mile per hour by age 26. After that, velocity drops more sharply and continues a steep decline into a pitcher's 30s.

What is the hardest skill in baseball? ›

"Most of all, the hardest thing to do is gauge movement—it's almost impossible to do it," he said. "People who watch the game can't really see what a ball looks like coming into a hitter. They expect their best hitter on the team to get a hit every time, or at least hit the ball hard.

How hard should a 13 year old boy throw a baseball? ›

13 And 14-Year-Olds

An average fastball from this age range is anywhere from 55 mph (on the low side) to 75 mph. A pitcher throwing 75 mph is better than most people for this age, and their fastball is at a high school quality. An average changeup for this age is approximately around the 50-60 mph mark.

Why is shortstop 6 and not 5? ›

Why is the shortstop #6 and not #5? This was because originally, in the early days of baseball, the shortstop was the fourth outfielder. Later, the shortstop was moved permanently to the infield but his number stuck at #6.

Do catchers need a strong arm? ›

It's "good" to have a strong arm for a catcher, and while that perhaps seemed obvious, it's nice to have some empirical evidence around it. It's just one of a ton of different things that go into it. You probably already knew not to judge a catcher based on "caught-stealing percentage" alone.

What age do catchers decline? ›

Good 34 year olds don't regularly become bad 35 year olds. In general, you should expect players to decline at something like +0.5 per season.
Catcher Aging is a Curve, Not a Cliff.
32 to 33-22.8-21.8
33 to 34-22.4-25.3
34 to 35-28.9-30.8
35 to 36-32.5-35.8
17 more rows
Nov 18, 2013

What is a five tool player? ›

Scouts have long graded position players on five tools that are central to success in the game: hitting, hitting for power, running, fielding and throwing. The so-called “five-tool player” is a special breed, as those who truly rate above average in each category are extremely rare.

At what age are baseball players scouted? ›

What age do scouts look at baseball players? Coaches are going to begin looking at prospects as soon as they are physically developed enough to give a reliable estimation of how they will project as an 18- to 21-year-old player.

What are MLB scouts looking for? ›

As a starting point, scouts start by looking at a pitcher's strength, stamina, agility and aggressiveness, and then look at things like arm action and delivery. Sure it's nice to throw hard, but scouts are also looking for movement and deception.

What is the best sport to be tall? ›

Best Sports for Tall People
  • Boxing. Taller boxers have a longer reach, which is useful when pounding on your opponent. ...
  • Hurdles. The tallest runners seem to always be hurdlers. ...
  • Rowing. Long, muscular limbs produce strong, powerful strokes. ...
  • Swimming. ...
  • Tennis. ...
  • Throwing. ...
  • Water Polo.
Nov 7, 2017

How tall is the average male height? ›

For an average male in the U.S. (69 inches tall), a healthy weight would be 128–169 pounds (around 58–77 kilograms). People with overweight or obesity may be vulnerable to a wide range of medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. A person can calculate their BMI here.

What sport requires the most height? ›

Professional sumo wrestlers are required to be at least 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in) tall. Some aspiring sumo athletes have silicone implants added to the tops of their heads to reach the necessary height. The average height for a sumo wrestler is 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in), far above the national average in Japan.

Is 22 too old to play college baseball? ›

While the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) does not set an official age limit for student-athletes to play college sports, their strict eligibility requirements can limit older students' ability to play.

Can a 21 year old play college baseball? ›

Players attending four-year colleges are eligible to be drafted upon completing their junior year or turning 21 years old.

Has an 18 year old ever played in the MLB? ›

Age 18: Jasson Dominguez, Yankees

Alex Rodriguez remains MLB's last 18-year-old (he appeared in 13 games as an 18-year-old with the 1994 Mariners), and before him, you have to go back to Jose Rijo with the 1984 Yankees.

Who has the strongest arm in MLB? ›

To MLB's Film Room! Nate Eaton has an absolute cannon for an arm. Of all the players in the league with at least 100 throws in 2022, he ranks first on the arm strength leaderboard with an average throw of 98.1 mph.

Which infielder has the strongest arm? ›

But once again, Winn tops all MLB infielders when it comes to this as well. Winn has three 97.8 mph relays this year and one 98.7 relay throw.

Is it hard to throw a baseball 90 mph? ›

Throwing a fastball 90 mph is what every pitcher wants but only a rare few can do it. Some who can do it also want the ability to do every pitch. The problem is most pitchers have very little understanding of the requirements for throwing a fastball 90 mph.

Can you balk with nobody on? ›

A quick pitch is an illegal pitch. Umpires will judge a quick pitch as one delivered before the batter is reasonably set in the batter's box. With runners on base the penalty is a balk; with no runners on base, it is a ball. The quick pitch is dangerous and should not be permitted.

Can a pitcher fake a throw to 1st base? ›

A pitcher can not feint a throw to first base.

Why is a balk illegal? ›

The reason a balk is prohibited is given in the Official Baseball Rules: "Umpires should bear in mind that the purpose of the balk rule is to prevent the pitcher from deliberately deceiving the base runner."

What is the hardest base to play in baseball? ›

With such limited margin of error and need for automated reflexes, third base is arguably the toughest position to play in baseball; where plays boil down to tiny fractions of a second that will either make or break the play.

Who is statistically the worst shortstop of all time? ›

Herman Long, who retired in 1904 after setting major league records for games and putouts as a shortstop, is the all-time leader in errors committed as a shortstop with 1,070, nearly three times as many as any shortstop active since 1960, and the most by any player at a single position in major league history; he is ...

What is the hardest throw by an infielder ever? ›

Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz made the fastest throw ever recorded in the Statcast era on Thursday, with a 97.8 strike on a third inning putout against the Miami Marlins.

What is the rarest pitch in baseball? ›

Definition. A screwball is a breaking ball designed to move in the opposite direction of just about every other breaking pitch. It is one of the rarest pitches thrown in baseball, mostly because of the tax it can put on a pitcher's arm.

Can you hit a 100 mph fastball? ›

Throwing a 100 mph fastball is not easy, and it will require dedication and hard work. But with the right program and training, it is possible to achieve this goal.

What is the fastest pitch in history? ›

Aroldis Chapman officially holds the Guinness World Record for fastest baseball pitch with a 105.8 mph fastball. On Sept. 24, 2010, the Cincinnati Reds' pitcher set the record with a high-velocity pitch against the San Diego Padres.

How rare is it to throw 90 mph? ›

Velocity Myth #2: “I Throw 90”

Despite it being more common than ever, still, very few pitchers can do this. On the average Division-I baseball team, each team usually has 4-8 players capable of touching 90mph, though perhaps only 1 or 2 who can average it.

Can anyone throw a 90 mph fastball? ›

We have had many mid 90MPH pitchers (injury free to boot) as well as some whom have touched 99+MPH. Some of these athletes have gained upwards of 50lbs of very clean weight (still viable abs) in less than a year. Everyone is different based on genetics, work ethic, movement capabilities, diet etc.

Do fat pitchers throw harder? ›

Yes, a study proves a high correlation between body weight and pitching velocity. The study states that larger athletes on average throw harder than smaller athletes.

How much should I weigh as a pitcher? ›

Overall, pitchers tend to be on the taller side (an average of 6 ft. 2.5 in.) and of average weight (around 210 lbs.), while catchers tend to be a bit shorter and heavier.

Who was the oldest pitcher in MLB? ›

At 49 years and 150 days old, Moyer, then pitching for the Rockies, was the winning pitcher against the Padres on April 17, 2012 and broke the previous record of 49 years and 70 days old held by Jack Quinn of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Does age matter in baseball? ›

But while each individual has their own rate of decline, generally speaking, we know a fair amount about how age affects hitters' abilities: A typical player peaks around age 26 and gradually declines afterward in what we know as the age curve. For those fortunate enough to stick around into their late 30s.

How should catchers feet be? ›


To do this, the catcher's feet should be a little wider than they were in the receiving stance. Once again, the catcher will roll his feet in, but not as much as in the receiving stance. The catcher still wants to be on the balls of his feet, without sitting back too far.

What is a good pop time for a catcher? ›

The MLB average pop time is 2.01 seconds. A pop time of less than 2.0 seconds affords the pitcher 1.3 seconds to throw the ball to the catcher.

At what age do baseball players get scouted? ›

What age do scouts look at baseball players? Coaches are going to begin looking at prospects as soon as they are physically developed enough to give a reliable estimation of how they will project as an 18- to 21-year-old player.

What are MLB scouts called? ›

The official scouts, often called “ivory hunters” by the press, were hired by the major- league teams, following the minor leagues most of the time, looking for players whose contracts they would then purchase.

Why do catchers drop a knee? ›

One-knee stances help improve a catcher's receiving on bottom-zone pitches and can increase how many of those pitches end up being called strikes. For MLB the potential run value of each skill swings heavily in favor of receiving.

Why can't catchers be lefty? ›

A lefty catcher would struggle to throw out runners at third base. This is true! Whereas a right-handed catcher can keep his feet planted and make the throw, a lefty would have to pivot first. This encumbrance counts on plays in which fractions of a second make the difference between safe or out.

What muscles should catchers work? ›

Catchers put intense strain on their hamstrings, quads, glutes, and hips in order to get up and down into a catching squat position. Both the primary and the secondary catching positions and the up and down wear and tear for 7-9 innings can easily cause injury.

How fast should a 14 year old catcher throw? ›

The average velocity range for a 14-year-old pitcher may be between 63 and 73 mph, but this is just the start.

How fast do catchers throw mph? ›

Of 53 catchers with 15 tracked throws to second. MLB average is 81.8 mph. Range is from 87.8 mph (elite) to 74.7 mph (poor). You shouldn't be surprised to see the names here.

Who has the strongest arm in the MLB? ›

To MLB's Film Room! Nate Eaton has an absolute cannon for an arm. Of all the players in the league with at least 100 throws in 2022, he ranks first on the arm strength leaderboard with an average throw of 98.1 mph.

How fast should a catcher throw to second? ›

The catchers time starts when he catches the ball and stops when the infielder standing on second catches the ball. An average catcher throw to 2nd base is 2.0 seconds.

Are catchers ever left-handed? ›

The last left-handed catcher to play in the big leagues was Benny Distefano, who caught three games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1989. Before Distefano, there had only been a handful: Jack Clements, Dale Long and Mike Squires to name a few. Why so few lefties behind the dish?


1. Can the Average Baseball Fan Make a High School Team?
2. Shane Connell is an absolute legend.
(Five Tool Baseball)
3. What MLB Scout Carlos Gomez Looks for When Assessing Players
(Arm Care)
4. What do MLB Scouts look for in Pitchers
(Mental Edge Training Coach)
5. My Advice If You Want To Play Major League Baseball
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