A fielder is credited with a putout when he is the fielder who physically records the act of completing an out -- whether it be by stepping on the base for a forceout, tagging a runner, catching a batted ball, or catching a third strike. A fielder can also receive a putout when he is the fielder deemed by the official scorer to be the closest to a runner called out for interference.
Putouts are hardly ever used to evaluate fielders, and leaderboards are left largely unchecked. The purpose of putouts is mostly for use in a number of defensive metrics, such as fielding percentage and range factor.
Catchers -- who record putouts by catching pitches that result in strikeouts -- and first basemen -- who record putouts by catching throws on ground-ball outs -- generally amass the highest putout totals.
If a fielder receives a ground ball and steps on a base for a forceout or tags a runner, he is credited with an unassisted putout -- and, obviously, he does not receive credit for an assist. However, if a fielder does so and then throws the ball to another teammate for an out, he is credited with both a putout and an assist.
Watch: Matt Carpenter records a putout at first base.
In A Call
"tagged out" OR "forced out"