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Younger players also lack the the arm strength and durability to control the forces on the elbow joint during the pitch. Younger kids usually have hands and fingers that are smaller and shorter. Upon release, the fingers are lifted off the ball, the ball rolls up the fingers.
But, what if you could make two different pitches look like they are spinning the same way? A fastball that generally goes straight and a breaking pitch that won’t reach the strike zone appears to be the same pitch for the majority of the path to the hitter. Only when each pitch is about to break does it become obvious to the hitter that he is not seeing the pitch he expected, leaving them either whiffing or in a daze of confusion. Most good slider pitchers grip the outer-third of the baseball and cock their wrist slightly, but not stiffly, to their throwing hand’s thumb-side upon release of the pitch. This enables a pitcher to apply pressure to the outer-half of the ball with the index finger.
This is encouraging as last season saw many starting pitchers throwing 4-Seam fastballs above 50% of the time and many of those starters had above average velocity and/or vertical movement. Unfortunately, many of them made the first mistake of focusing on the bottom of the plate and paid the price . The way that you grip the baseball is going to be the basis for how your pitch will be thrown. To grip a baseball for the four-seam fastball, you will want to position your index and middle finger perpendicular across one of the U-shaped seams of the ball. Each finger should touch the corresponding seams on the inside and on the top.
Throw this pitch with the same arm speed and body mechanics as a fastball, only slightly turn the ball over by throwing the circle to the target. In other words, because I’m a righty, I’d throw two-seamers inside to right-handed batters and four-seamers away. I always liked how the feel of the grip of the two-seamer in my glove (when I was in my pre-pitch stance) let me know on a sub-conscious level that I was going inside on guy. One of the big misconceptions in baseball is that playing the game keeps you in shape to pitch.
Some baseball pitchers may find it more helpful to place their index finger along the seam of the baseball since the index finger is the one from which the slider is thrown. The difficulty with this pitch isn’t from the pitch itself. In fact, most pitchers feel this grip gives them the most rotation – and most movement – of any breaking pitch. However, many pitchers who are learning this pitch for the first time, aren’t comfortable with the “tucking” part.
Once he’s mastered the four-seamer, I recommend adding a two-seamer and a change up before advancing to a breaking pitch like the curve ball at 14 or 15 years old. 4 seamers have very little noticeable movement up/down or sideways. The ball will move down and to the right for a right handed pitcher. For a left hand pitcher, it moves down and to the left. After the 2 seamer, this is the most common pitch thrown in baseball. Some type of fastball is thrown 60% of the time in the majors.
Poche could likely survive with only one of these fastball aids, but having both of them should make him a special reliever over the next couple of years . The first additional influencer of fastball success is spin rate, which has been somewhat of a buzzword in baseball for the last couple years. The general understanding is that the higher the spin rate, the more movement each pitch will have. When it comes to pitching in baseball, there is a wide variety of styles that a pitcher can choose from when throwing the ball.
Many athletes will cut their fastballs to some degree. Leading the coach and player to determine the best path forward. Often, an athlete will have a comfortable grip but need some cueing to modify the pitch profile to their liking. Making them frequently rely on grips taught to them at a young age. Depending on hand size, the ring finger is placed on the side or below the ball. You want to keep the ball out on your fingertips as much as comfortably possible, yet still possess good control.
Your fingers should be a comfortable distance apart but not too far – the farther they’re spread, the less velocity on the throw. Every fielder must use a four seam fastball grip for the fastest, straightest throw possible. If you throw this pitch to hitters using wooden bats, you may notice several broken how to slide into a base bats because of the late break of the ball. If you are throwing against aluminum bats you will notice that the pitch often avoids the “sweet spot” of the bat. While some may perceive it to rise, the four-seam fastball is just a straight pitch. You use it when you are trying to stay ahead of a batter.
It could be possible that Cole was unknowingly throwing his 4-Seam fastball with the Major League Baseball logo horizontal when he would hit 2300 rpm. There would be few differences with the grip of his fingers other than the “horseshoe” of the seams being on one side of hand vs the other. In 2017, we can see that Cole’s fastball was hard – averaging nearly 96 MPH – but it was relatively flat and had a similar movement profile to that of Chris Sale . His spin rate was nothing special and unfortunately, Statcast did not start tracking Active Spin Rate until 2018. All of this resulted in a – rather lacklustre – high 4-Seam fastball swinging strike rate of 13.5%.