An offensive baseball strategy that favors situational hitting and baserunning tactics over pure hitting in an effort to make efficient use of scoring opportunities in any given inning.
During the Dead Ball Era, "small ball" was the primary strategy of teams on offense, utilizing speed, sacrifice plays and hit-and-run tactics to get players on base and score runs. While it is not as prevalent today (due to the emergence of power hitting), small ball is still a vital strategy most teams employ to make the best use of scoring opportunities when they are present. Small ball uses tactics such as the bunt, sacrifice fly, hit-and-run, steals and other methods of situational hitting to trade outs for advancing runners, all with the goal of scoring at least one run when a runner gets on base in an inning.
Use of the small ball strategy varies across both leagues, but is used more often in the National League, due to the presence of pitchers in the hitting lineup. Teams that have more power threats will often choose to forego small ball tactics in favor of giving hitters the "green light" to attempt extra-base hits and home runs, even when the situation may call for a sacrifice or similar strategy. Typically teams with the smallest presence of power in their lineups or that feature speedy players will often employ some form of small ball during most games.