How to Throw a Forkball
Documentation Download Documentation Download Documentation In comparison to the split-fingered fastball, the forkball is more nastier and moves at a slower pace. When done correctly, the ball will spike downwards late in the game, leaving the batter flailing at thin air for the rest of the game. It has generally gone out of favor in the top leagues, but it still makes an appearance from time to time, often with disastrous results. A highly difficult pitch to perfect, and its relative decline may be attributable in part to the strain it exerts on the pitcher’s arms and the danger of injury that it entails.
In the event that you manage to pull it off, you will have a major pitch in your arsenal.
- 1Grasp the ball with your middle and index fingers and roll it around. The forkball is held between the middle and index fingers of your right hand. Starting with your fingers on the seams in the same manner as you would if you were throwing a two-seam fast ball, 2spread out your fingers even more. When playing forkball, you need a fairly broad grip on the fork. As a result, after you get your fingers on the seams, you must strive to stretch them out even farther so that they extend outside of the seam. This will allow you to hold the ball more deeply between your index and middle finger than you would normally be able to do with a traditional split-fingered fast ball. Advertisement
- s3 Tuck your index and middle fingers under the ball. When using a forkball grip, the index and middle fingers are responsible for the majority of the effort. It’s important to keep your thumb curved and under the ball. It is more likely that your thumb will support the ball rather than hold it
- 4 To get a firm grasp on the ball, bury it between your two index and middle fingers. The two most significant distinctions between a split-seam fastball grip and a conventional fastball grip are how wide your fingers are spread and how deep you hold the ball in your grasp. The ball will be pushed farther into your fingers the wider your grasp is while you hold it. Ideally, you want to crush the ball into your grip as deeply as you comfortably can
- 5 Make sure not to overextend your fingers. In order to pull off the forkball, you need to have a broad grasp, which is simpler to do if you have lengthy finger tips. As a result, it will be extremely difficult for younger players to master, and it is typically regarded as a pitch that should be learned after reaching adulthood. The danger of injury is so great that some big league clubs intentionally dissuade young players from learning the game.
- The elbow is put under additional strain when the fingers are spread so widely apart.
- 1 Bring your arm back to your side. A forkball is delivered with an arm movement that is quite similar to that of a standard fastball. The broad finger grip is the most important aspect in creating the forkball’s characteristic motion, which causes it to tail off or sink down just as the game is about to begin. Get into your wind-up stance by starting with your feet shoulder width apart and facing your catcher, then moving forward. You should bring your arm back as you would for a split-fingered fastball when you’re ready to throw it.
- Return your arm to its original position 1. In terms of arm motion, a forkball has almost exactly the same characteristics as a conventional fastball. Because of the broad finger grip, the forkball’s characteristic movement, in which it tails off or drops down at the last second, is mostly responsible for this. Begin by getting into your wind-up stance with your feet shoulder width apart and facing your catcher. You should bring your arm back as you would for a split-fingered fastball when you’re ready to throw one.
- 2 Extend your arm in front of you. It’s time to throw the ball. Maintain a broad grasp on the ball, with your thumb resting beneath it for further stability. You should be employing the identical movement as you would with a fastball, with the exception of a little firmer wrist in this case. Hold your wrist firmly in place and do not allow it to bend or rotate until you hear a crack when you release it
- This will maintain your wrist rigid.
- Begin to drop your front leg without letting it to come into contact with the ground
- Swing your throwing arm up in front of you as you do this
- When you do this, stride out with this leg
- It’s important to land your front foot at a 75-degree angle to the plate
- Make a 90-degree angle with the plate by pushing off with your rear foot and pivoting your front foot
- You should extend your throwing arm to the maximum extent possible while doing so.
- 3 Now it’s time to release the ball. It is important to remember that when you are ready to release the ball, it should come out of your hand at the same position and height as a fastball, and with your elbow in a straight line above your shoulder. As a result, the batter will have a tougher time determining that it is a forkball after it leaves your hand. In the event that you manage to do this right, concealing the type of pitch you are throwing will provide the batter with less opportunity to respond to the pitch’s odd trajectory
- When you release the ball, make sure your pitching elbow is aligned with your shoulders. Bring your throwing arm all the way through, then elevate your rear leg to generate extra force
- Forkballs are often thrown forcefully, exactly like fastballs, but because of the different grip, they come out of the hand at a slower rate.
- 4 As you release the ball, snap your wrist to indicate completion. The second most important component in playing a great forkball game, after having a broad grip, is imparting topspin to the ball as it exits your palm. This is accomplished by snapping your wrist at the same instant the ball is released. The ball will have some topspin, or forward spin, if this is done correctly, rather than any backspin if this is done correctly. In addition, the topspin causes the ball to decelerate as it approaches the hitter.
- 1 Pay attention to the movement of your arms. Although a successful pitch necessitates the coordination of your entire body, you may train certain areas of your body with specific workouts. In order to improve your arm movement when pitching, knee throwing drills are a wonderful option to try out before your next game. To pitch the ball to a buddy from this position, if you are a right-hander, kneel down on your right knee and throw it to him or her from this position.
- Observe your arm motion and pay close attention to it. 2 However, while a good pitch requires your entire body to function smoothly, various sections of your body may be trained with specialized workouts to help you improve your performance. In order to improve your arm movement when pitching, knee throwing drills are a wonderful option to try out before the game. To pitch the ball to a buddy from this posture, if you are a right-handed person, kneel down on your right knee.
- You can improve your balance by practicing retaining your balancing posture for a few seconds before throwing. You may do this by raising your front leg and pulling your pitching arm back.
- 4 Put your skills to the test with buddies. Practicing any pitching drill with a group of pals is probably the most enjoyable way to go. Play catch with some forkballs thrown in to see who can catch the other off guard. The fact that your buddy is tricked by the ball as it lowers down at the last second indicates that things are moving along smoothly for you. A catcher is a wonderful choice for practicing with, as they will be able to provide you with valuable feedback on the flight of the ball.
- A friend, parent, or coach can come and watch your pitch to see if they can detect any issues that might be preventing you from reaching your full potential.
- A friend, parent, or coach can come and watch your pitch to see if they can detect any issues that might be preventing you from reaching your full potential
Create a new question
- The following question arises: At what pitch count would it be permissible to throw a forkball? Throwing my forkball is usually done when the count is zero to two or one to two and zero to two. It’s particularly effective after you’ve fired a fastball. It appears to be a fastball at first, but then it simply drops
- Question I’m a teenager
- Is it okay for me to use this as my main pitch? Even though I threw the forkball myself as a teenager with moderate success, I would not advocate it as a primary pitch, unless if it comes out as a forkball (or if you can shift the rotation from knuckleball to forkball, making it unpredictable), which is how it comes out for me. In order to throw the hitter off, a fastball should be your primary pitch, with a forkball serving as a backup pitch (or interchangeable with the fastball if it’s really good). Question Is it OK for youngsters to do this? No. The broad grasp on the ball is most effective when performed with fully developed hands. When throwing this pitch, smaller hands have a greater likelihood of being injured.
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- Don’t toss too hard at the ball. It is the location that is important. As you practice, be sure someone who can provide you with sound advise is keeping an eye on you. In order to throw a forkball well, you must come straight over with your arm, rather than spinning your wrist like you would with a curveball. Prepare by extending the tendon in between your index and middle fingers for roughly a month before you begin to throw this pitch with any seriousness. Always stretch before throwing, or else an injury might result. Please be patient! To master the forkball, one must first master the forkball, which might take years of practice. The ball will almost always drop, but it may be as unexpected as a knuckleball at times. You should aim for your elbow to extend out beyond your wrist when throwing the pitch
- In order to alter the rotation of the forkball, you may either maintain your wrist firm throughout (which will result in the ball turning more like it is a knuckleball) or slightly rotate your hand down to the thumb side during your wrist flick (which will result in the ball sinking sharply).
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Use in the Major Leagues
Several current and past big league pitchers, including Tom Henke, Kevin Appier, Hideo Nomo, José Valverde, José Arredondo, Ken Hill, Justin Speier, Kazuhiro Sasaki, José Contreras, Chien-Ming Wang, Junichi Tazawa, Robert Coello, and Edwar Ramirez, have shown a preference for the forkball. Two-time Tim Lincecum, the winner of the Cy Young Award, employed a changeup with forkball movement as his strikeout pitch. Forkball pioneer Gaylord Perry, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame after winning the Cy Young Award in both leagues, was possibly the finest practitioner of the game ever.
- In truth, the forkball is more common in Japan than the splitter, and the forkball is used by the vast majority of the country’s greatest pitchers, who all have one in their repertoire.
- Sandy Koufax made use of the forkball at the end of his career as well.
- Roy Face and Linda McDaniel were relief pitchers who pitched in the Major Leagues for 16 and 21 years, respectively, and were forkballers.
- Face began his professional wrestling career in 1953, while McDaniel began his in 1955.
The forkball is thrown with the same arm action and velocity as a fastball, with the exception that the wrist is snapped downward at the release point.
It’s also possible that letting the ball to spin off the middle or index finger will result in further movement.
Origin of the forkball
“Bullet” Joe Bushof the Boston Red Sox is credited with the development of the forkball, which occurred just after World War I ended. Elroy Face, a former bullpen pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, is credited with popularizing the term. Face, via his masterful use of the pitch, single-handedly elevated the forkball to the status of a widespread topic of debate.
The forkball, if thrown correctly, is known to inflict considerable and more common injury to the shoulder and elbow, particularly in young athletes. In the course of their careers, several famous forkballers, particularly Japanese players, have undergone surgical intervention to heal bone fractures or injured tendons, sometimes more than once. Players under the age of 17–18 are discouraged from attempting to toss the forkball until they reach the appropriate age. Kazuhiro Sasaki, a former Yokohama BayStars and Seattle Mariners closer, was one of these pitchers.
In this case, the forkball should should have no detrimental effect on his arm.
Many people confuse a forkball with a split-finger fastball when they see one. Both pitches are identical in their grip and the manner in which they travel out of the pitcher’s hand, but only one is thrown slower and with a more dangerous downward spin than the other: the forkball. As a general rule, the forkball isn’t particularly prevalent in professional baseball nowadays, with most pitchers opting to throw a splitter instead. Part of the reason for this is that the forkball is a difficult pitch to perfect in any way shape or form.
When learning how to throw a forkball, it’s important to be cautious, especially if you’re a younger player who is still establishing your skills.
Check out the video below to see how to throw a forkball step-by-step.
How to Throw a Forkball
Learning how to throw a forkball begins with the grip, just like it does with any other pitch. As previously said, the grip on a forkball is tough to perfect, therefore you should adopt a multi-step strategy to getting your hand to line properly with the ball. The first step is to grasp the ball in the same manner as you would with a two-seam fastball, which you should already be comfortable with. When throwing a two-seam fastball, position your middle finger and index finger on the seams of the pitch, just like you would when throwing a curveball.
Step2: Spread the Fingers Out Wide
A broad grip on the baseball is required in order to learn how to throw a forkball correctly. The next stage in accomplishing this is to stretch out your middle finger and index finger really widely together. For best results, you want both of these fingers to be placed outside of the seams of the garment. The inside of each of these fingers should be forced up against the outside of the seam on the opposite side of the ball to secure the ball in place.
This will assist you in getting a firm grasp on the ball between your fingers. In terms of grip, the forkball varies from a splitter in that it has a more rounded shape.
Step3: Balance the Grip with Your Thumb
Having a broad grip on the baseball is essential for learning how to throw a forkball accurately. The next stage in this process is to spread your middle finger and index finger extremely wide. Both of these fingers should be put on the outside of the seams, if possible. Using the inside of both of these fingers, press the ball’s seam up against the outside of each finger’s inner surface. This will assist you in getting a firm grasp on the ball between your index and middle finger. The forkball varies from a splitter in terms of how it is held in the hands.
Step4: Make Sure the Grip Is Tight
When throwing a forkball, your grip should be firm, as opposed to other pitches. This is the second most significant distinction between a forkball and a splitter. You want to make sure that the ball is firmly pressed back between your middle finger and index finger as far as it possibly can be when playing with a fork ball. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that your grip is as comfortable as possible as well. Consequently, if pressing the ball between your fingers isn’t pleasant, simply reduce the depth to which you’re squeezing the ball between your fingers.
- It’s extremely difficult if you don’t have long fingers, which is why many young pitchers struggle to master even the most fundamental grip on a forkball.
- At the same time, this is the component of a forkball that has the potential to inflict harm.
- It’s for this reason that many coaches discourage younger pitchers from even attempting to throw a forkball at all.
- When it comes time to throw the pitch in a game, you want to make sure that your grip is as concealed as possible.
- The goal is to make sure that the batter cannot see your grip, or that the hitter does not see you fiddling with your grip in your glove.
Step5: Body Motion
Having mastered your hold, it’s time to begin moving your body in a natural manner. A forkball should be thrown in the same manner as a fastball, and your complete action should be the same as when you’re throwing a fastball. The only difference is that when you’re throwing a forkball, you’ll want to make sure your wrist is just a little bit stiffer than when you’re throwing a fastball.
In the same way that you would while throwing a fastball, begin by taking a step back or to the side with your front leg, twisting your hips and torso to produce power, and then moving your weight from the rear of your body to the front as your arm moves back and then forward to throw.
Step6: Release Point
Making sure you have the right release point is one of the most important aspects of throwing a solid forkball. It’s important to make a batter think he’s seeing a fastball once again. As a result, your arm should be in the same position when throwing a forkball as it would be when throwing a fastball. Your elbow should be in a straight line just above your shoulder, and your hand should be at the exact same place and height as it would be if you were throwing a fastball when you are throwing a curveball.
When it comes time to release the ball, you want to make sure that your elbow is aligned with your shoulders.
A forkball will be thrown with the same amount of relative force as a fastball will be thrown.
Because the ball will be gripped so firmly in your hand, it will generate more friction, which will in turn lessen the speed with which the pitch is thrown, resulting in a slower pitch.
Step7: Snap That Wrist
The grip you use and how you snap your wrist when you release the ball are the two most significant aspects in whether or not you can throw an effective forkball. The ability to generate a significant quantity of topspin will be required in order for a forkball to perform as envisioned. As the ball reaches the plate, it will plummet to the ground as a result of this. As soon as the baseball is released from your hand, you should snap your wrist to ensure that you get the necessary topspin. This is another another significant distinction between a fastball and a forkball.
Ideally, while using a forkball, you want the ball to die and fall straight down as it reaches the plate.
When you release the ball, snapping your wrist will provide you with the necessary topspin to keep the ball in play.
As a result, when throwing a forkball, exercise extreme caution.
A forkball is a pitch that is extremely difficult to throw. Apart from the fact that it is incredibly difficult to learn the grip, the snapping wrist movement that is essential to ensure that you obtain adequate topspin on the ball is also difficult to perfect. It will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for younger players with shorter fingers to spread their index and middle fingers wide enough to obtain a decent grasp on the ball. Even senior players with longer fingers have a difficult time completing the task at hand.
The broad grip that is necessary to toss a forkball places a significant amount of additional strain on your elbow.
These are some of the reasons why many pitchers, even those in professional leagues, have abandoned the forkball entirely in favor of throwing a split-finger fastball instead.
In reality, many of the best pitchers in the major leagues have terrific splitters that they use as their primary strikeout pitch.
As it reaches the plate, the splitter will have a very similar action and late-breaking downward movement as the splitter. At the same time, it is regarded to be a very safe pitch to throw because it does not place an unnecessary amount of stress on any of your body’s components.
The forkball is one of the most uncommon pitches in baseball, and it is distinguished by its significant downward break as it approaches the plate. A forkball might be one of the more tiring pitches to throw because of the torque required to snap it off the bat.
Pitchers use the forkball to release their pitch by snapping their wrists downwards after jamming the baseball between their index and middle fingers during their pitching motion. While approaching the plate, this results in the baseball moving extremely downward, much like a 12-to-6 curveball would move. In comparison to its cousin, the splitter, which is clutched in a similar manner but is held closer to the tips of the fingers, forkballs are significantly more unusual. A splitter, on the other hand, does not necessitate the use of a wrist-snapping motion.
Pitchers use the forkball to release their pitch by snapping their wrists downwards after jamming the baseball between their index and middle fingers when pitching the ball. While approaching the plate, this results in the baseball moving extremely downward, much like that of a 12-to-6 curveball does. In comparison to its cousin, the splitter, which is clutched in a similar manner but is held closer to the tips of the fingers, forkballs are significantly more unusual. Another advantage of using a splitter is that it does not necessitate the use of your wrist.
In A Call
The attention being paid to R.A. Dickey and his outstanding knuckleball this season couldn’t keep me from remembering when I was a youngster and we were all trying to throw knucklers at the baseball diamond. Some of us were able to throw pitches with no spin (my method was to throw sidearm), but none of us were able to get the ball to move and dance like the others. In a game once, I attempted to throw one by dropping low into a sidearm action, but the pitch, which was high and sluggish, was utterly crushed at the plate.
- “What thehell are you doing?” my coach exclaimed from the sidelines, and the knuckleball experiment came to a stop with one statement.
- Using our index and middle fingers to split the fork apart, we wedged the ball between the fork and the ball was jammed between the fork and the ball As you might expect, this pitch resulted in.
- Controlling and throwing it with any accuracy was nearly impossible, and it came out sluggish and high.
- I don’t think any of us had any idea what a forkball was meant to do or why it had been designed until later.
- Is there none?
- Dickey in the world of forkball?
Randy Wolf has managed to keep even the eephus pitch intact.
It turns out that their disappearance is due to a common cause: they destroy the arms that support them.
A video of Daniel Ray Herrara explaining the pitch from 2009, when he played for the Cincinnati Reds, may be seen here.
However, as it turns out, the forkball is also a speedy route to discomfort.
This fastball is slower than the split-fingered fastball, but when thrown properly with a snap of the wrist, it has a quick break similar to a curve ball.
It’s also becoming less popular to throw the split-finger fastball, which is a modified form of the forkball in which the ball isn’t jammed quite as deep and the fingers aren’t quite as wide, because of the damage it causes.
According to Fangraphs, the anti-splitter crusade has been successful; just 54 pitchers have thrown a split-finger fastball this season, with only 12 of those coming from qualifying starting pitchers (Dan Haren uses it to greatest effect).
No way in hell.
Despite the risk, I was disappointed to see that the forkball was no longer alive.
But then I realized I’d made a little error: I’d neglected to set the minimum number of innings pitched on Fangraphs to zero.
I made the required adjustments and prayed for a hero to come along.
While it’s true that the 33-year-old has only tossed four innings in relief for the Philadelphia Phillies this season and that he’s currently with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, none of that is significant.
Here’s Brian Sanches in one of his two career starts, which came last year against the Los Angeles Dodgers, for our more sophisticated readers.
After three scoreless innings in a game that the Marlins would win 6-1, James Loney swings at a 2-2 pitch that seems to be a slow fastball, only to flail as it drops to the bottom of the infield dirt. That, my friends, is the forkball in action. Maintain the flame’s brightness.
Spinning Yarn: The Forkball
Forkball pitchers are a unique breed, possibly even more so than the enigmatic knuckleballer, who throws a variety of different pitches. Tim Wakefield and R.A. Dickey are the only two regular knuckleball pitchers that are presently starting in the major leagues: Wakefield and Dickey. Several pitchers, like Charlie Haeger and Charlie Zinkha, have used the knuckleball as a part of a wider repertoire in the majors. Josh Banks and Eddie Bonine have also used the knuckleball as a part of a broader repertoire.
- The list of modern major-league forkballers is far fewer, consisting just of three names: Jose Contreras, Scott Linebrink, and Justin Speier (all of whom played in the National League).
- In what ways are the forkball and the splitter different from one another?
- Bush’s forkball, which was essentially a change-up, was grasped with the index and middle fingers split as widely apart as possible, and when thrown correctly, it would glide plateward with minimal spin, much like a knuckleball, and seem to dip quickly upon reaching the plate.
- What is the difference between the forkball and the splitter?
- the slow curve).
- The splitter is a more recent addition to the arsenal.
- The grip of the two pitches is when the similarities and differences between them begin to emerge.
- To play with the forkball, bury the ball between the two index and middle finger tips as deeply as possible, and then flip it out of the hand without much spin or force from the fingers.
- The forkball grip appears to be a difficult one for the pitcher’s hand to master.
A variety of grips are used for the splitter, but for a typical splitter, the ball is not wedged as deeply between the fingers so that the pitcher can provide either some finger force behind the ball, or some sidespin off the middle finger when pronating on release, or a combination of the two effects.
- Pitchers in the major leagues throw their splitter between four and eleven miles per hour slower than their fastball, with the average speed being between seven and eight miles per hour slower.
- Unlike the forkball, which sets its tent in the camp with off-speed pitches, the forkball is more agile.
- Contreras’ forkballs were around 13 mph slower than Linebrink’s fastballs, which was a significant difference.
- The forkball’s low spin rate is another another distinguishing characteristic.
- During its half-second trek to the plate, a decent knuckler will turn less than half a revolution, on average.
- As a result, the baseball travels about 15 revolutions on its route from the pitcher’s hand to the batter’s plate, depending on the pace of the pitch and the precise spin rate employed.
- Several players, including Kirby Puckett and Wade Boggs, have stated in interviews done by Bill Koenig that the forkball’s spin has a peculiar tumbling aspect.
The patterns created by the spinning seams are distinct and identifiable.
A curveball creates a tumbling look on the ball, with horizontal stripes falling downward as the ball rolls.
A four-seam fastball is a little darker in color than a two-seam fastball.
Forkball spin varies from splitter spin in one more way: the direction of its spin axis is different from that of the splitter.
Sliders, changeups, and sinkers are all examples of pitches that feature sidespin because the pitcher turns the ball over with his middle finger against the ball as he pronates immediately before to releasing the ball.
Splitters and changeups often have less backspin than fastballs, and since they are thrown at a slower rate than fastballs, gravity has more time to operate to drag the ball down, and the backspin force counteracts this longer period of time.
When there is PITCHf/x data available, the three forkballers who threw their forkballs with topspin, similar to a curveball, rather than backspin, similar to a splitter or a changeup, were all considered to be topspin throwers.
Topspin causes a forkball and a curveball to drop more than they would typically descend if they were only falling due to gravity.
Essentially, it behaves like a curveball, but it does not spin like a curveball, which causes many batters to return to the dugout scratching their heads in bemusement after being hit by it.
Starting with Contreras, let us take a look at the specific pitch statistics from PITCHf/x for the forkball pitchers in order to see how they compare.
According to his fastball’s velocity, the difference between it and his forkball was comparable to a very slow changeup or a curveball.
This movement is similar to, but somewhat less than, what one would expect from a changeup.
You can read more about him here.
Furthermore, there is a great deal of variation in the amount by which the pitch drops.
If we remove the influence of gravity from the equation, we can examine the effect of the spin force alone on the baseball.
This means that his forkball dropped more than it would have if gravity had been the only factor at play.
In comparison to his curveball, Contreras’ forkball drops about four inches to one side of his arm rather than the other.
It’s also a slow tumbler, but its movement is more akin to a curveball than the Contreras forkball in terms of speed and movement.
His forkball didn’t seem to be moving much to the arm side either.
You can see some examples of Linebrink’s forkball griphere and here, among other places.
Speier threw his forkball at an average speed of approximately 81 mph, which was approximately nine mph slower than his fastball, which reached 90 mph.
There are two places where you can see photos of Speier’s grip: here and here.
Do they, or don’t they?
Many pitchers wrap their fingers around the baseball in a wide circle.
According to the PITCHf/x data, Contreras, Linebrink, and Speier are the only three major leaguers who regularly threw a slow pitch with topspin and a low spin rate, according to the data collected.
Brandon League, for example, threw a slow pitch that was approximately 10 mph slower than his fastball, which had some topspin.
Matt DeSalvot, on the other hand, delivered a pitch that was about 13 mph slower than his fastball but had a couple inches more drop due to topspin.
The pitchers Dan Haren and Hiroki Kurodatthrew pitches with low spin rates, which resulted in some tumbling action on the mound.
In addition, the splitters from Haren and Kuroda exhibit a few inches of upward spin deflection as a result of backspin on the axis of rotation.
The splitters thrown by Jose Valverde and Keiichi Yabu came the closest to qualifying as forkballs, according to the officials.
However, they are thrown at slower speeds than their fastballs, typically six to seven mph slower than their fastballs.
As a result, their splitters don’t really fit in with the much slower classic forkballs with topspin that are more commonly seen.
When it comes to pitching, Rich Harden has an interesting one that is worth mentioning in this context.
His pitch, in contrast to the typical arm-side sinking and tailing action of a circle change, has a very low spin rate and very little left-right spin deflection, resulting in a very low spin rate and very little left-right spin deflection.
Splitter and forkball are two names that are sometimes used interchangeably to describe a pitch in which the index and middle fingers are divided around the baseball in any manner possible.
Despite this, only a small percentage of pitchers really throw the slow, sliding, sinking forkball.
Scott Linebrink, at the age of 34, is the youngest member of the group.
Are you worried that there won’t be someone to take over for Linebrink and Contreras after they retire from forkballing? Not to mention, what does it take for the forkballers to become members of a club that is as legendary and mysterious as the knuckleballers?
Thank you for reading
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Splitter vs Forkball – What’s The Difference? (Solved!)
Every young pitcher’s primary focus is on refining his or her pitching technique and building their repertoire of different pitches to use in games. During a player’s development and advancement in skill, his throws grow increasingly risky, and more sophisticated pitches gradually take their place. A pitcher’s ability to adjust his or her delivery to the level of batter he or she is facing is critical to their or her success. However, this growth does not occur solely on an individual level. It happens to all of baseball’s pitching, and it is the same thing.
In the case of forkball and splitter, this is exactly the situation.
Forkball is a forerunner of the splitter, which has evolved from this pitch, which is now extremely rare in the game.
What is a Splitter?
Off-speed pitches like as the splitter, sometimes known as split-finger fastballs, are among the most common. It is often regarded as one of the most efficient pitches in the game of baseball. In comparison to regular fastballs, splitters have more break and travel at a slower speed. Their most distinguishing attribute is a sudden change in direction late in the ball’s flight. It is common for the ball to break downhill in front of the hitter and bounce off the dirt before reaching the catcher when this occurs.
From the batter’s perspective, the pitch first seems to be a standard fastball as it leaves the pitcher’s hand.
Because of its unpredictable nature, splitter is one of the most difficult pitches to hit and frequently results in a swing and a miss.
How to Throw a Splitter?
This grip is quite similar to the forkball grip, except that the ball is gripped with greater ease and is held closer to the top of the fingers with this grip. Because the splitter is a sort of fastball, the grip is quite similar to that of a fastball. The index and middle fingers are utilized to lift the ball off the ground in both scenarios. When throwing a splitter, on the other hand, these fingers are spread widely apart, generally following the outside of the seams that are closest to the thrower.
When throwing the fastball, a broad grip produces far less spin on the ball than when throwing the curveball.
When throwing a splitter, the pitcher employs only a little amount of wrist movement. Even so, the hand and forearm are pulled downwards, which helps to lessen the amount of backspin on the ball as well.
What is a Forkball?
Forkball is one of the most uncommon pitchers in baseball history, and it is now all but forgotten. Its position has mostly been replaced by the splitter, which is its replacement. In many respects, the two pitches are comparable, although the forkball has less dramatic movement than the curveball does. In contrast to the splitter, where the ball drops in a single swift motion, the forkball drops in a more leisurely manner. It is slower than the splitter and is often regarded as the slowest fastball, with an average speed between 75 and 85 miles per hour (mph).
In today’s baseball, the forkball is rarely employed since it may be quite demanding on the pitcher’s abilities.
This is also the reason why this pitch is not suggested for young players who are still establishing their physical abilities on the field.
How to Throw a Forkball?
The forkball grip is very similar to the splitter grip, with the exception that the ball is jammed farther into the hand. Similarly to when throwing the splitter, the ball is grasped between the middle and index fingers with the thumb support beneath, although the fingers are often farther apart than when throwing the splitting shot. It is best to begin by holding the ball like a 2-seam fastball, with your fingers running along the seams and then spreading them out as far as you possibly can.
When the pitcher releases the ball, he or she should snap the wrist downwards.
This spin will assist the ball in falling to the ground in front of the hitter.
Splitter vs Forkball- What are the Differences?
In addition to the splitter and forkball relationships, which are both related in that they are similar in many respects and one has developed from the other, there is a relationship between splitter and forkball relationships. However, I’ll concentrate on the distinctions in this article.
Grip and Release
When comparing splitter with forkball, the grip is similar yet somewhat different, as is the case with many other aspects of the game. If you’re throwing a forkball, you’ll hold the ball deeper in your hand with your fingers spread even wider apart. In addition, the forkball is flipped out of the hand with the least amount of spin or force applied by the finger on the thumb. A slower and more tumbling pitch is the effect of this, as compared to the splitter. Forkball moves at a rate that is approximately 4-5 mph slower than the splitter.
Movement of the Ball
The forkball has a lower spin rate than the splitter, which is another advantage. As a result, it’s considerably more similar to the knuckleball in this regard. Most of the time, the forkball rotates no more than 9 times from the time it is released until it hits the batter.
The direction of the spin axis is another factor that distinguishes these two pitches. While the splitter throws with a little backspin, the pitchers toss the forkball with a little topspin to give it some movement.
The average baseball spectator may have difficulty distinguishing between a splitter and a forkball. To be honest, they are frequently used interchangeably by announcers and analysts, particularly when demonstrating the pitch by splitting the fingers around the baseball during a baseball game. Nonetheless, as you can see, there are small variances in the grip, the release, the movement, and the velocity of the ball from one player to the next. Recently, the difficulty of identifying which pitch it is has been made a little easier due to the fact that forkball has almost completely disappeared from professional baseball.
One thing is certain: when executed perfectly, both of these pitches are a batter’s worst nightmare, especially when used in combination.
Split Fingered Fastball and Forkball
The split-fingered fastball is neither a true fastball nor a breaking ball, despite the fact that it is thrown with a fastball action and seems to travel down in the zone, despite the fact that it is not delivered with pronation or supination, and so does not officially “break.” Due to the fact that the splitter is often thrown 5-15 MPH slower than the fastball, it is classed as an offspeed pitch.
- The physics of a split-fingered fastball are distinct from those of practically every other pitch in the baseball arsenal.
- This is difficult to do with smaller hands, and it is sometimes impossible to teach to young players.
- Despite the fact that the pitch is delivered with a regular fastball arm action, the split-finger has lesser velocity than a standard fastball because the ball is loosely grasped between the fingers (as opposed to tightly gripped between the fingertips).
- This, combined with the ball’s somewhat lower velocity, is the cause for the ball slipping out of the strike zone.
Knuckleball (and Forkball)
The Knuckleball is sufficiently distinct from every other pitch that it deserves to be classified as such. The forkball, which we shall discuss last, is the only other pitch that comes close to the forkball. The knuckleball is a bit of a novelty, despite the fact that it is a very legitimate pitching motion. This peculiarity is due to the fact that, once it leaves the pitcher’s hand, nobody knows where it will end up. Movement is created via the notion of rotation, which is used in all of the other pitches we’ve discussed thus far.
It’s thrown with as little spin as possible on purpose to maximize its effectiveness.
However, because there is no rotation, the position of the seams is random, as is the manner in which the air resistance causes it to move.
The fact that knuckleballs are unpredictable is what makes them so difficult to hit, but it is also what makes them so difficult to throw well.
Knuckleball pitchers employ a variety of finger methods to throw their balls.
I’ve seen knuckleballs held with two, three, and four fingers on the index and middle fingers.
It makes no difference where the seams are located.
Pitching from over the top, with their arm bending at the elbow to generate a slingshot action, is the preferred method for most pitchers.
Instead of throwing the ball, the ball is pushed to the plate.
The pushing motion is also required in order to release the ball with the least amount of spin possible.
There aren’t many actual forkballs thrown by major leaguers.
Instead, the white horseshoes serve as the grip for the forkball.
Despite the fact that it’s thrown in a fastball action, it glides out from between the fingers and floats to the catcher without rotating, much like a fastball does.
Forkballs have a far higher velocity than knuckleballs because of the fastball throwing action, but the results are same. Before reaching the catcher, a forkball dances and moves all over the place.