A center fielder, abbreviated CF, is the outfielder in baseball who plays defense in center field – the baseball fielding position between left field and right field (e.g., "Mickey Mantle was a center fielder"). In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the center fielder is assigned the number 8.
Outfielders must cover large distances, so speed, instincts and quickness to react to the ball is key. They must be able to catch fly balls above their head and on the run. They must be able to throw the ball accurately over a long distance to be effective. Amateur players may find it difficult to concentrate on the game, since they are so far from the action. Emphasizing the correct position will give outfield players something to concentrate on at each pitch.
As well as the requirements above, the center fielder will be the outfielder that has the best combination of speed and throwing distance. The center fielder covers more grass than any other player and, most likely, will catch the most fly balls. The center fielder also has the greatest responsibility among the three outfielders for coordinating their play to prevent collisions when converging on a fly ball. Aside from requiring more speed and range, the center field position is slightly easier to field because balls tend to fly on a straight path, rather than curving as they do for the other outfield positions. Because centerfield requires a good arm and fast legs, center fielder is not generally considered one of the positions which produces power hitters; many center fielders such as Torii Hunter of the Minnesota Twins are renowned as excellent batters and baserunners.
|Outfielders:||Left field | Center field | Right field|
|Infielders:||3rd base | Shortstop | 2nd base | 1st base|