These types of pitches are important to throw when a strike is critical. If you practice the 2 seam fastball, you’ll know when to throw this type of pitch over a 4 seam. Learning to harness the power of your balls movement is going to be the first step to throwing a good 2 seam pitch. Proper pitching mechanics along with a strong familiarity with your pitching tendencies will lead to a successful 2 seam pitch. Although these grip changes may have ultimately not played a factor in their spin rate increases, there must be some reason why both pitchers would decide to change their 4-Seam fastball grips.
As the majority of a sample is closer to the average, it makes sense that most pitches fall near that area. As each point moves farther away from the center, the deadlier that fastball arguably becomes. A four-seamer that drops away much sooner than expected will be difficult to hit. The same line of thinking goes for horizontal break – the four seam fastball vs two seam farther away it is from average, the better. In general, though, the most effective four-seam fastball shape appears to be rising to the top of the zone, being much flatter than a hitter expects. All of these shapes are influenced by spin efficiency, which is the percentage of movement that is caused by top-spin, back-spin, and side-spin.
The Two seam is a less common fastball found in softball, but some pitchers throw it. Depending on the pitcher the “2-Seamer” can have a tail left or right. When throwing a two-seam fastball, your index and middle fingers are placed directly on top of the narrow seams of the baseball . To grip the four seam fastball, place your index and middle fingertips directly on the perpendicular seam of the baseball.
The velocity of this pitch is pretty fast and this ball has a late-breaking action due to variable pressure applied on the ball by index and middle fingers. The general rule for right handed pitchers is that throwing to a left handed batter, you will be placed at an advantage because the batter will be forced to be jammed inside with the pitch. The same goes for right handed batters facing a left handed pitcher. The more grips that you can master and control, the bigger your advantage will be as a pitcher. Fastballs are not just about speed, but also the movement that you can use to upset a hitter’s timing and balance.
If you ask any hitter whether they would rather see a straight fastball down the middle of the plate or one with movement, every hitter would rather see the straight pitch. I personally threw 2 seam fastballs to the 1, 2, and 3 but I was a sinker ball pitcher, figure out what works best for you. As we learned in previous blog posts, the 4 seam fastball is generally a straighter pitch with a 1-2 MPH increase in velocity over the 2 seam.
The two different types of traditional fastballs are the four-seamer and the two-seamer. Every pitcher has their repertoire of pitches that makes him or her unique. These are your curveballs, your sliders, and even your knuckleballs. This creates a lot of swings and misses as hitters often swing underneath 4 seamers with high spin rates. Yes, a fastball that is both thrown hard and has movement is ideal, but even the most successful pitchers at the highest level of baseball have to choose one or the other.