A putout in baseball is credited to the fielder responsible for recording each out in a game. Scorers award several different types of putouts, according to the type of play that results in an out and the defensive players involved.

Here is a summary of the ways fielders may record a putout against an opposing team:

  • Catching a third strike thrown by the pitcher (catchers, generally)
  • Stepping on a base while holding the baseball to force out a runner
  • Catching a batted ball
  • Applying a tag to a runner who is in between bases

It’s interesting to note that, while pitchers are responsible for initiating almost every out by throwing a pitch, they are only awarded putouts when they act as a fielder under one of the above scenarios. That usually occurs after the ball has been batted, or if a runner gets caught in a rundown and the pitcher moves in to cover a base or homeplate.

On a related note, a player is awarded an assist when he throws the ball to a teammate who subsequently records a putout. Pitchers aren’t awarded assists for strikeouts, though.