Furthermore, pitchers with high spin rates on their fastballs should throw 4 seam fastballs because it allows for them to maximize the spin rate. Simply put, spin rate is the number of times mini pitching machine the ball spins as it travels through the air. The arm movement of the four-seam fastball is a simple, normal pitch. It does not require the snapping of the wrist or a twist of the arm.
Rather than going from side to side, you might begin to notice more of the vertical movement of the ball. For this pitch to be effective, you should note that the length of a person’s fingers can actually play a role in how much movement a 2 seam fastball can achieve. To grip a 4 seam baseball, place your index finger and middle finger on the seam of the baseball as the picture demonstrates.
The hardest pitches to hit deviate from that path – rising, sinking, and horizontally breaking at a rate that is much different than the average pitch. Pictured below is a graph of the 4-Seam pitch movement versus the average, explaining which pitches are deadly and which are not. The arm action is identical to a four-seam fastball, although the hand action differs slightly. Typically, the two-seam has more movement if the pitcher applies index fingertip pressure, or holds the baseball deeper in the hand. Both techniques cause the ball to spin out of the hand off-center and away from the pitcher, similar to the spin of a changeup. To generate swinging strikes from that movement, a pitcher needs to have the arm angle and spin axis to produce vertical movement.
When throwing a two-seam fastball, your index and middle fingers are placed directly on top of the narrow seams of the baseball . The two-seam fastball is more likely to create bad swings on its own since Major League hitters can typically time a four-seam fastball regardless of speed. Sometimes, even pitchers who normally throw a 2 seam fastball go back to the 4 seam grip when they are struggling to find the zone. It is called a 2 seam because when it is thrown, two of its seams are spinning against the air. This makes the ball less aerodynamic and causes it to move (usually to the pitcher’s arm side) based on the spin-axis of the ball. A 4 seam fastball is held with the index and middle finger laying across the horseshoe on the ball with the thumb underneath.
I should add is that two-seam fastballs are the most effective when you are a right-handed pitcher throwing for a left-handed batter and vice versa. In these situations, the movement of the two-seamers will work on the pitcher’s behalf better. Due to the orientation at which the hand grips the baseball, you can sometimes hear a 4 seamer referred to as a “cross seam” fastball. This grip is advantageous for pitchers blessed with an arm designed for throwing hard. When gripping the pitch in the manner shown above, the fingertips are able to grip the seams creating more pressure on those seams when releasing the ball. The deception on these pitches is mesmerizing – it is generally not surprising that hitters have struggled so much in recent years.
This is typically regarded to as the horseshoe seam because when viewed from above, it resembles the horseshoe U-shape. You will notice that a two-seam fastball will move or tail. You will also find that a two-seamer typically has more velocity. Don’t let ANYONE tell you that advanced pitchers don’t throw fastballs, that you can’t succeed at the TOP level of the game with one, that you won’t get recruited if you rely on it.
And while that is an essential factor, it is only a fraction of the pitch’s worth. A slow fastball can still be effective – it just needs to be used and thrown in the right way. Using several criteria, this article will showcase some of the best methods a person can use to differentiate between a great and horrendous four-seam fastball. When a pitch is thrown with a high spin rate and has straight backspin it gives the hitter the illusion that the ball is rising.
Shown below in red is the expected vs actual spin axis of Rogers in 2022 for his four-seam fastball. When a pitcher can throw what appears as a flatter fastball, he also has a wider margin of error to throw low in the zone. As previously mentioned, fastballs are most effective in the upper part of the strike zone. But when the pitch appears to be rising at a high rate, it can still garner a lot of whiffs – no matter the location.
This type of pitch gets its name from the way that you hold the ball. The parallel seams across the baseball are held across 2 fingers under 2 seams lines. Generally, the only differences we see with the pitch is whether the thumb is tucked or flat, along with theplacement of the index and middle fingers on the ball.