Shortstop, abbreviated SS, is the baseball fielding position between second and third base. Shortstop is often regarded as the most dynamic defensive position in baseball, because there are more right-handed hitters in baseball than left-handed hitters, and most hitters have a tendency to pull the ball slightly, so more balls go to the shortstop than any other position. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the shortstop is assigned the number 6.
Shortstops are required to cover second base in double play situations when the ball is hit to the second baseman, first baseman, pitcher, or catcher. They cover second when a runner is attempting a stolen base, but only when a left-handed hitter is batting. This is because the chances of a ball being hit to the left side of the infield are almost cut in half. They also must cover third at various times, including the rotation play; that is, when there are runners on first and second and a sacrifice bunt is attempted. Shortstops generally are given precedence on catching pop-ups in the infield as well, so they end up calling off other players many times, although on deep pop-ups they fall back when called off by an outfielder. They often become the cutoff man on balls to any part of the outfield that are being directed towards third base and all balls to left and right field that are destined to second base. Depending on the system the shortstop may cut balls from left field heading home however, this is usually the role of a third basemen.
Traditionally, players are selected as shortstops for their fielding prowess, but in recent years more shortstops with excellent hitting have entered the leagues as well. It is an exclusively right-handed position, as a righty can easily throw to first or second without having to physically turn after playing a ground ball, the most common type of hit directed at the shortstop.