What Is A Change Up Pitch In Baseball

Changeup – Wikipedia

A changeup grip is a grip that is used for a changeup. Pitchinbaseball and fastpitch softball are two sports in which a changeup is used. The changeup is a standard off-speed pitch that is typically thrown to appear as if it is a fastball but really travels considerably more slowly to the plate. Its slowed speed, along with its deceptive delivery, is intended to cause the batter’s timing to get confused. It is intended to be thrown in the same manner as a fastball, but with the palm of the hand positioned further back in the hand, causing it to release from the hand more slowly while maintaining the appearance of a fastball.

Unless the changeup is thrown correctly, it will generate confusion among batters since the human eye will not be able to detect that the ball is moving substantially slower until the ball is around 30 feet away from the plate.

Other names for this phenomenon include “change of tempo” and “change.” Furthermore, until at least the second part of the twentieth century, the phrase “slow ball” was used to designate pitches that were not a fastball or a breaking ball, which almost often denoted a sort of changeup or a changeup variation.

The changeup is similar to the slower ballincricket in terms of speed.


Changeups are pitched with the same arm motion as fastballs, but at a slower rate owing to the pitcher’s use of a particular grip on the ball. Leo Mazzone, a former pitcher and pitching coach, said the following: “It is the changeup that allows a pitcher to throw something other than his best fastball when throwing his best fastball; when throwing his greatest fastball, a pitcher puts more into it. In addition to the difference in grips, the pitch will have less velocity on it as a result of adopting this attitude.

If a hitter is misled by the timing of a pitch and still makes contact with the ball, it will result in the ball or the ball being placed into play weakly, which will almost always result in an out.

The finest changeups combine deception with movement to achieve maximum effect.”


Changeups have grown increasingly popular in the Dominican Republic with the advent of Pedro Martnez, a Dominican pitcher whose changeup was one of the elements that helped him win three Cy Young Awards. Following Martnez’s success with the pitch, a number of Dominican pitchers, includingEdinson Vólquez, Michael Ynoa, and Ervin Santana, have all been credited with developing good changeups in their respective countries. Hall of Fame relievers Trevor Hoffman, Stephen Strasburg, David Price and Max Scherzer reinvented the pitch and employed it extensively in their arsenals during their careers.

Trevor Hoffman, a reliever who went on to become a Hall of Famer, possessed one of the finest changeups in baseball during his heyday and utilized it to make 601 saves.

Sports Illustrated released a story in 2013 stating that the pitch was revolutionized by starting pitchers Justin Verlander, Felix Hernández, Stephen Strasburg, David Price, and Max Scherzer, who all employed it extensively in their repertoire.

According to Fox Sports, in addition to increasing a pitcher’s performance on the field, changeups may also help to lessen the amount of injuries he or she sustains.


A circle changeup grip is one that is utilized for a circle changeup. Changeups may be created by utilizing alternate grips on the ball over the course of a game. There are numerous varieties of changeups. The circle changeup is a well-known grip in the game. Forming a circle with the index and middle fingers, the pitcher crosses the seams of the ball with his middle and ring fingers. When the pitcher releases the pitch, he or she can make the pitch break in the same direction as a screwball by pronating the wrist.

Pedro Martnez utilized this pitch to great effect throughout his career, and many people believe it to be his finest pitch.

In order to reduce the amount of speed created by the wrist and fingers, the ball is grasped with three fingers (rather than two) and held closer to the palm than is customary.

The palmball, the vulcan changeup, and the fosh are some of the other varieties.


  1. John Walsh is a writer who lives in the United Kingdom (September 19, 2007). ” Pitch Identification Tutorial ” is a tutorial on how to identify pitches. The Hardball Times is a publication dedicated to the game of baseball. Retrieved on September 19, 2007
  2. Leo Mazzone and Jim Rosenthal are two of the most well-known figures in the world of sports (1999). Pitching Like a Pro: A Guide for Young Pitchers and Their Coaches, from Little League to High School, is a resource for young pitchers and their coaches. The Pitch of an Island, published by St. Martin’s Press (ISBN 0-312-19946-5)
  3. ‘James Wagner’ is a pen name for James Wagner, a musician from the United Kingdom. Thirteenth of July, 1992, A Gripping Tale Sports Illustrated is a magazine that covers sports. The impact of the changeup on the game
  4. “Not every pitcher need a changeup.” The 19th of January, 2015, according to Fox Sports. “Changeup Grip” is a phrase that was first published on December 21, 2016. The Ultimate Pitcher, as the saying goes. The original version of this article was published on June 29, 2012
  5. Rob Neyer, Bill Neyer, and James Neyer. The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers is a resource for pitchers of all levels. Page 12 of Simon & Schuster’s 2004 publication, ISBN 0-7432-6158-5

How to Throw a Changeup

Welcome to the third installment of our “How to Throw” series! If you’ve read the previous blogs, we’re sure you’re looking forward to learning more about off-speed and breaking pitches in this installment. This tutorial will teach you how to throw the changeup, which is the off-speed pitch of choice for the majority of pitchers. We’ll provide you the fundamentals of what a changeup is, as well as guide you through the grips and signals that you’ll need to know in order to throw one for yourself.

Overview of a Changeup

In baseball, a changeup is a slow-to-medium-speed pitch that is often employed to pair off a pitcher’s fastball. The trajectory of a changeup is often the same as that of a heater as it goes to the plate, deceiving the batter into anticipating a pitch that may be anywhere between 8-12 mph slower than predicted. Having a tempo disparity leads batters to lose their equilibrium, which can result in soft-contact or swing-and-miss at the plate.

Things to Consider

The way your changeup interacts with your fastball is key. However, it is also vital to take into account other factors, such as your arm slot and the rest of your arsenal, in order to decide how well the pitch meets your needs. Changeups can differ from pitcher to pitcher based on the sort of break they are experiencing. The arm side movement of certain changeups may be deadly, while others are more equivalent to a “slower fastball,” with virtually little movement on the arm side. One thing to keep in mind is that the greater the amount of sidespin imparted to the changeup, the more horizontal run it will create on the ball.

Because we aim to create a distinction in movement between the fastball and the curveball, the ability to optimize this component of your pitch will almost certainly boost its efficacy.

The bigger the space between the pitches, the more likely it is that we will be able to construct two pitches that move in distinct ways to confuse opposing batters. Rather of depending exclusively on a velocity differential, this can provide you with a competitive advantage.

Gripping a Changeup

In our grip tracker database, we discovered that there is a large range of preference across grip styles, which we found to be interesting. Therefore, no single grip style dominates the competition. Our players employ the “CH 2” grip the most frequently (it accounts for 35% of all changeups at our facility), so we’ll focus on it for the purposes of this article. Initial recognition of CH 2 stems from the fact that it is thrown in a manner similar to a two-seam fastball or sinker (“FT 1”) with a two-seam orientation, but the primary distinction is that it is delivered with the non-dominant side of our hand.

  • It is beneficial to utilize the non-dominant side of our hand and to remove the index finger from the side of the ball, as this results in slower ball velocity and aids in the generation of side spin on the ball.
  • The index finger should be placed on the side of the ball, same to how the pinky should be placed on the opposite end of it.
  • Last but not least, the thumb is positioned behind the ball to provide control.
  • Some players like to position the ball precisely beneath the basket rather than to the side, which is a personal choice.
  • In order to avoid the ball slipping out of your grasp, we recommend that your grip is neither too slack nor too tight, since this may restrict the amount of sidespin you can create during release.

How to Throw a Changeup

It has already been discussed that we want to produce as much side spin as possible to enhance the amount of movement arm side and maximize separation off the fastball as much as we possibly can. In order to do this, we frequently instruct players to “roll over the ball with your hand” or “swipe the inside of the ball” with their hands. When it comes to releasing those cues, don’t be scared to go overboard. Although it may appear as though the ball is about to slide out, comfort should develop with time and practice.

Greater side spin will be accompanied by a lower spin direction, and it may even inch closer to 3:00 or higher in the clock.

Analyzing Changeup Movement

Following a bullpen session in which you tested your changeup with a Rapsodo, we would anticipate this pitch to land slightly below fastballs (red baseballs) in terms of vertical movement and to have higher horizontal movement. The changeups are marked in purple on this plot, however their placement on the plot may differ based on your arm slot selection.

If you were a left-handed pitcher, your changeups would be mirrored across the horizontal axis. For the most part, we would anticipate a strong changeup to have a clear difference from your fastball, and the larger gap between the two would result in a more dangerous combination.

Additional Changeup Grips and Cues

Finally, we’ve included a few other changeup grips that are popular among our gym-goers and players. While grasping the ball with a two-seam orientation is the most common, we also see players adopt a four-seam grip on occasion. Using a four-seam fastball grip, the pitcher sets his ring and middle fingers on the seams of the ball in the first inning of CH 1. Additionally, some players may attempt to transfer the ball even further to the non-dominant side of their hand. With another way of saying it, the ring finger will be positioned closer the center of the baseball.

Another variable to consider is whether the fingers should be placed on or off the seam.

Nevertheless, as seen in Chapters 3 and 4, this is not always the case.

Because they are all somewhat different, each of these grips may be customized.

Splitter Grip

A entirely new style of grip is used in “CH 5”, which you should take note of. There are some similarities between it and a splitter, and it has a broad grip in which the index and middle fingers are placed in places that reach over the top of the baseball. This is prevalent among athletes who have large hands and are able to easily squeeze the ball between their index and middle fingers. When compared to other changeup grips, we would expect this grip type to create much less spin and horizontal movement on average than the others.

When thrown correctly, a splitter may be quite devastating.

Keep in mind that the primary purpose of splitters is to eliminate as much spin as possible.

Additionally, “roll over the ball,” “throw it with your ring finger,” “pronate sooner,” “swipe inside of the ball,” and “consider having a flexible wrist” are all suggestions.


Each person will have to experiment with the various grips and choose whether or not they should be included in their repertoire. In order to manage the ball and its movement to their liking, athletes need choose a grip that allows them to do so. This will help you find the grip that is most comfortable for you. As time goes on, we’ll continue to track the effects of different grips used by our in-house athletes and report back on our findings. Mike Tampellini contributed to this article.

Learn how to throw a cutter by reading this article. Learn how to throw a slider by reading this article. Learn how to throw a curveball by reading this article. Learn how to throw a sinker or two-seam fastball by reading this article. Learn how to throw a four-seam fastball by reading this article.

The Modern Changeup: The Best New Pitch In Baseball

The changeup is the baseball pitch that has historically been the most misunderstood. In spite of modest variations in grip, the majority of other pitches are thrown in the same manner by all pitchers. A slider has a specified spin, which is a combination of bullet spin, forward spin, and side spin, which results in a visible red dot. One of the characteristics of a curveball is that it has defined spin, with topspin travelling in a 12-6 or 1-7 configuration with the spin axis as true as feasible.

  • The changeup, on the other hand, is another story.
  • This is designed to be a more gradual transition.
  • But by how much is it going to be slower?
  • Six miles per hour?
  • 10 or 12?
  • Straight changeups are sooooooo dated these days.
  • But what about James Shields’ changeup, which has been highly criticized?
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With that stuff, he consistently gets right-handed pitchers out of the game.

That’s always a plus in my book.

What kind of pitcher should a young pitcher strive to become?

Is there a change in the circle?

Is there a “Fosh” changeup?


Alternatively, if all else fails, we may simply say screw it and throw a splitter, which will function as a poor man’s changeup.

Let’s get this out of the way.

Characteristics of The Modern Changeup

First and foremost, let’s get one thing straight: a changeup has a definite set of features, and not all grips are made equally. The majority of folks are simply not on board with this at this time. The following are characteristics of the best changeups:

  • Excellent arm speed that looks to be the same as the fastball
  • Speed reduction of 8-12 percent (miles per hour figure varies depending on fastball velocity)
  • Speed reduction of 8-12 percent “Run” is a mix of arm-side movement (also known as “sinking”) and sinking movement.

One of the most notable instances is James Shields. Pay attention to the little video below to observe what I perceive to be the current changeup: Take the following into consideration:

Straight or Moving?

In the absence of any other factors, hitting a pitch that has movement is more difficult than hitting a pitch that is straight. The purpose of a straight change is not to deceive the opponent by seeming exactly like a straight fastball (which is possible with a straight change). Instead, a mis-hit or a swing and miss is the desired outcome. When the hitter’s brain is forced to deal with both speed change and movement away from the pitch’s initial trajectory, the risk of making poor contact increases significantly.

Pitchers try to generate as many variations as they can in order to prevent the batter from getting barrel to ball on the first pitch.

How Slow?

Because of the other significant half of the equation, movement, the solution is dependent on that factor. My professional pitching experience has taught me that the more movement a changeup has, the harder it can be thrown, which is consistent with my observations. On the surface, it’s no different from a slider or a cutter. Consider Noah Syndergaard’s “slider,” which is notoriously difficult to strike despite its extreme difficulty. Pitch velocity increases when the pitch is thrown harder, resulting in a longer flight time along the same trajectory as a fastball.

  • The more speed we take away from a pitch, the more the pitch must vary from a fastball’s original trajectory, thus making it appear less like a fastball coming out of the hand, and vice versa.
  • This is approximately 7mph slower than a pitcher who throws 90mph, or 83mph.
  • When it comes to any other changeups, the speed change must rise in proportion to the reduction in movement.
  • A changeup that was thrown a little too hard may often be saved by late movement, which causes it to drift off his barrel at the last possible instant.

How Hard?

This is a fundamental point that should be covered in every decent changeup post. A changeup must be thrown as hard as possible in order to have any chance of working. The “harder” a changeup is thrown, the more closely it matches fastball arm speed, and the more it tricks the batter into thinking that 90mph arm speed equals 90mph output at the time of the throw. We require an arm speed of 90mph with an output speed of 79-83mph. This is made possible by the grip and hand motion, both of which contribute equally to the reduction of the velocity output by the weapon.

What About Cutting Changeups?

Some of the time, Kyle Hendricks intentionally slices his changeup. However, this is simply another variation of his changeup, and a new technique for him to confuse batters in the process. Despite the fact that this works well for him, it is not the usual form for most pitchers for one primary reason: pitchers need a pitch that breaks away from batters who are hitting with their opposite hand. What is the difference between a slider and a changeup if we clip our changeup? The answer is that there isn’t much.

Mixing in an occasional cutting changeup can undoubtedly confuse a batter for a senior pitcher who throws a curveball, sinker, and sinking changeup in addition to his other pitches.

However, it is more of a habit that Big Leaguers develop in order to be effective, and less of a rule that we teach to an amateur or minor leaguer who, more than anything, needs consistency.

Throwing The Modern Changeup

Assuming we agree on a 10 percent speed reduction target, which will be great for the vast majority of pitchers, we must understand how we will achieve that decrease. We obtain around 5% of our power from the grip itself, and another 5% from the hand motion. Breaking pitches are slower than fastballs not because they are thrown with less intensity, but because they are delivered at a slower rate. Instead, by spinning the baseball, the arm speed and velocity are transferred into the baseball. In the case of the changeup, the same applies.

There is no consistent technique to lessen the speed of a changeup when power is exerted via the center, except from slowing the arm or hand down or not “finishing” the pitch.

When force is delivered to the middle of the baseball, the grip will only account for a 5 percent drop in speed, according to the data.

The second 4.5mph is provided by the hand movement, which is the same as a sinker but is in some ways the reverse of a slider: pronating the hand on the inside of the ball immediately before releasing the ball from the grip.

  1. We lower ball speed because less force is delivered to the middle of the ball
  2. We are turning ball speed into spin in the same way that a breaking pitch does. To achieve angled downward movement, we will tilt the ball’s axis of rotation to an axis that is diagonal to the table, a combination of both arm-side lateral movement (sink) and sink.

And with that, we have provided the changeup with a dependable set of qualities that are comparable to those of any other pitch. The method described above will consistently result in a 10 percent (plus or minus) speed reduction that can be readily replicated at any intensity. A dependable movement pattern for the hand is also established, with a generally similar amount of sink and lateral movement being produced. After throwing to the Rapsodo gadget, a handful of my high school pitchers demonstrated very “clean” diagonal spin axes on their changeups, confirming what I had suspected was taking place with their pitches.

  1. With equal parts lateral and sinking action, I’ve taught this precise form of changeup to hundreds of pitchers, and 70 percent of them have seen a 10 percent speed drop with it.
  2. As long as the speed decrease is in place, aberrations in movement are acceptable and to be expected — no two pitchers are exactly the same.
  3. The ball emerges in a distinctive manner, with a tumbling spin rather than an angled axis, making it stand out from the crowd.
  4. He recalls me of Brad Lidge, who once threw a slider that seemed to be largely moving downwards, but was actually mostly moving up.

Even if the teaching techniques are consistent, there will be inconsistency in the results produced. Most pitchers, on the other hand, will create a changeup that matches the aforementioned template on a consistent basis.

Can All Changeup Grips Accomplish This?

In a nutshell, no. It is feasible to achieve more consistent hand motion and spin application under certain situations, but doing so is rendered difficult or impossible by certain grips. 1st condition: The pressure must be applied at or near the intersection of the palm and fingers, rather than at or near the fingertips. We increase the amount of lateral spin applied by causing the ball to roll up the fingers until eventually releasing off the tip of the fingertip. Changeups that originate and exit from the fingers do not generate as much spin as other types of changeups, and they generally fly too straight and “flat.” Condition 2: The ball must be maintained in a steady state with as little force as feasible.

  • However, we must do it with complete focus and dedication, which is tough.
  • The thumb must be placed towards the bottom of the hand in order to do this.
  • Relaxed hand application of spin results in a more fluid and equal distribution of spin, which allows the pitch to more nearly resemble a fastball at release.
  • Unnecessary hand strain can be caused by several factors, one of which is forcing the fingers along the sides of the baseball.
  • Keeping the ball in the palm of the hand with the thumb allows for virtually total relaxation of the rest of the hand.
  • Tension and fingertip pressure will cause the pitcher to hook the pitch into the ground on a greater number of occasions.
  • Although they do miss high in the in zone, they are able to control the ball in the strike zone for the most part, with a frequency that is comparable to their fastball, and with less severe miscues than they were in the past.

Teaching and Throwing the Modern Changeup

This is the first in a three-part series on how to throw the contemporary changeup in baseball. A step-by-step approach of teaching and pitching the contemporary changeup will be covered in part two of our changeup essay series. My years as a baseball academy owner and professional pitcher have allowed me to teach this pitch to everyone from 11-year olds to 25-year old professionals with equal success. When it comes to teaching the pitch, I use a straightforward step-by-step method, with the cornerstone being regular observation and feedback on ball spin.

And, in part three, we’ll talk about the differences in how you pitch with a contemporary changeup against the traditional changeup.

Yes, without a doubt.

That’s not the case. When it comes to becoming a better pitcher, learning how to maximize the effect of a pitch while also minimizing its faults is essential. In the meanwhile, you may listen to my podcast, Dear Baseball Gods, and follow me on Instagram, where I am known as Coach Dan Blewett.

How To Throw A Filthy Change Up (20 Pictures Of Grips)

HomeArticles PitchGrips for Alternate Pitch Learn more about my pitchers’ exercise routines here. The proper method of developing functional strength should be used. Discover my pitching routines and throwing plans for athletes that are dedicated to their craft and refuse to accept defeat. More information may be found here. Do you have a good understanding of how to throw a changeup? Everything you need to know about throwing an aggressive changeup that goes above and beyond “dirty” or “nasti,” and which almost always results in the hitter being embarrassed, is covered in this article.

  • He possesses one of the finest change ups in baseball, and he literally puts on a clinic for how to throw a perfect change up right here: pitcherlist.com is the source of this image.
  • It’s one of my favorites.
  • His change up pitches were the most effective in the majors last season (1,076), allowing him to slow down and manage hitters’ bat speed, which allowed him to set up his fastball or other offerings in the middle of the plate.
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Change up grip

So, what exactly is the secret to a successful change-up? Let’s take a closer look at how to grab the change and hurl it upward. The most often used grip is a version of the “circle change,” in which the thumb and forefinger come together to form a circle on the side of the ball with their fingertips touching. The ball is positioned near to the palm, and the remaining fingers are fanned around it to form a circle. Baseball-pitching-tips.com is the source of this image.

  1. The ball can be marked with your thumb and index fingers to form a circle or the letter “OK.” Place the baseball in the middle of your three otherfingers (as shown in the middle picture above right). If possible, the baseball should be tucked comfortably against the circle. The same arm speed and body mechanics as a fastball should be used to throw this pitch. The only variation is to throw the circle to the target, which will slightly turn the ball over a little. Pronating your hand is the term used to describe this. With your throwing hand, you are simulating giving someone the “thumbs down” sign. The fading movement to the throwing-arm side of the plate slows down the game’s pace.
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More images of change up grips

Baseball-pitching-tips.com is the source of this image. WHAT IF I TOLD YOU? When it comes to fastballs, the change up is the great pretender. It’s designed to appear like a fastball while coming in slower and therefore throwing off the batter’s timing. The arm action and release point of the curveball are ideally the same as those of the fastball, with the exception of the grip. When compared to the fastball, which employs leverage to impart force and spin with its first two fingers, the changeup disperses force around the ball, concentrating it in the middle of the ball, and slowing the ball’s velocity.

The remaining fingers are stretched out around the ball as a protective measure.

The palm ball grip is the most common variation on the grip.

My favorite GIF of throwing a change up

When you put everything together, it looks like this. As an example, here’s Noah Syndergaard’s change up at 88 miles per hour on his way to striking out: pitcherlist.com is the source of this image. What a fantastic pitch. That is some very amazing work right there!

Learn more about my workout programs for pitchers

When it comes to baseball, one of the most common myths is that playing the game keeps you in condition to pitch. That would be fantastic if it were true. It is not the case. Preparation is critical in order to go to the next level. Pitchers in the major leagues spend significantly more time preparing to prepare than they do actually pitching. You may learn more about my fitness and pitching programs for baseball pitchers of all ages if you feel that increasing your velocity will be vital to your future success.

What do you think?

Now it’s your turn to share your thoughts: Are there any other grips, ideas, or approaches that I’ve overlooked? Alternatively, perhaps you have an idea for how I might improve this post even further. In any case, please leave a remark and let me know. Next, check out this cheat sheet on pitching grips, which explains how to throw eight different baseball pitches.

Baseball Pitch Types

  • Knuckleballs, Knuckleballs, Sliders, and Splitters are all types of breaking balls. Changeups, Curveballs, Fastballs, Forkballs, Knuckleballs, Sliders, and Splitters are all types of breaking balls.

Breaking Balls

The term “breaking ball” in baseball refers to pitches that curve in the direction of the batter’s throwing motion while in flight. These pitches can have an arced path while in flight, go toward the ground, or curve to the left or right. This is done in order to deceive hitters. Curveballs, forkballs, splitters, sliders, and backdoor sliders are all examples of this sort of pitching. Breaking pitches (also known as breaking balls) are pitches that, in contrast to fastballs, “break” from a straight course through the air, causing the batter to strike out.

The objective of these devices is to deceive hitters.

Then, when it is too late for the hitter, the ball deviates from its intended path, resulting in the batter missing the baseball.

They also have lower velocity than fastballs, which is another advantage.

Types Of Breaking Balls

There are several different sorts of breaking pitches that we’ll cover:

  • Curveballs, forkballs, splitters, sliders, and backdoor sliders are all examples of this.


Changeups are pitches thrown by pitchers that are different in pace from their prior pitches, frequently slower than their previous pitches, but that have the look and course of a fastball, misleading the batter and causing him to mistime his swing. A changeup is a pitch that allows pitchers to alter the tempo of a pitch. Batter deception is not limited to just changing direction of a pitch in order for it to be effective. It is also possible to employ different or slower velocities to make pitches more difficult to hit; these sorts of pitches are referred to as off-speed pitches.

They have a similar appearance to a fastball in that they are thrown in the same manner and follow a straight course, but they are substantially slower than a fastball.

For batters, distinguishing between a fastball and a changeup may be difficult since they both follow the same route and the speed of the baseball cannot be assessed until the baseball is extremely close to the batter.

Due to the fact that changeups are far slower than fastballs, the swing would be too early, resulting in either missing the baseball altogether or hitting it very marginally with strength.


By examining the seams of the ball, batters can determine the sort of pitch that is being thrown by their opponent. Curveballs are a sort of breaking ball that has a forward spin and often breaks downhill, which means that they appear to be traveling in a straight line at first, but then quickly deviate to the left or right. Some pitchers, on the other hand, will add variations to this fundamental idea. In the Major Leagues, curveballs are somewhat slow, averaging 70-80 miles per hour in the Majors, but they contain a lot of movement when compared to other pitch types.


Fastballs are the most fundamental and most used type of pitch by pitchers. They are also the most effective. As the name implies, its primary characteristic is speed, and as a result, it follows a very straight course when compared to other pitch kinds. Typically, fastballs are the first pitch thrown by a pitcher to a hitter during any given at-bat. In order to evaluate the batter’s response time and identify the batter’s strike zone, the pitcher delivers a straight fastball in what he believes is the batter’s strike zone, but the umpire calls it a baseball, forcing the pitcher to change his pitching strategy for the remainder of the at-bat.

In order to determine the speed of pitch, a gadget known as a radar gun is used.


When it comes to baseball, a forkball is a sort of pitch that is comparable to a curveball but is more severe in nature. Forkballs are a type of curveball that breaks downhill, although its break is considerably more dramatic and abrupt than a conventional curveball. Because of the exhausting and even dangerous action required to throw them, they are an unusual sort of pitch. Forkballs are a sort of breaking pitch that is extremely unusual. When they break downhill, they behave similarly to a more severe sort of curveball, but their break is considerably more intense and quick.

This is one of the reasons why pitchers seldom (if ever) throw forkballs and why they are rarely (if ever) used in baseball.


In baseball, a splitter is a sort of breaking pitch that appears similar to a fastball but is slightly slower (typically between 80 and 90 miles per hour) and breaks downward immediately before reaching the batter’s box. Its purpose is to trick hitters into swinging at the wrong time. The splitter is a forkball variation that is far more prevalent than the forkball.

When compared to a fastball, they are somewhat slower, often averaging 80-90 mph, and they break downward immediately before reaching home plate. Their break, on the other hand, is not as dramatic or abrupt as that of a forkball, making them easier to throw and less prone to injuring players.


A slider is a sort of baseball pitch that features lateral (left/right) movement as well as breaking downhill as it is delivered. In comparison to a curveball, a fastball often has more velocity but less movement. Unlike curveballs, sliders have greater lateral (left/right) movement and faster velocity than curveballs. Sliders are similar to curveballs in that they tend to break downhill. Aside from that, they have a tendency to have less movement than curveballs, meaning that their deviation from a straight course is not as abrupt.

Unlike regular breaking balls, backdoor breaking balls (sometimes known as backdoor sliders, although the word can refer to either curveballs or sliders) act in the other direction.

The hitter does not swing because he believes it is a ball.


Knuckleballs are extremely unusual pitches that present batters with a difficult task because to their unexpected speed and movement. Knuckleballs contain very little rotational spin, which causes them to travel erratically (because spin is what determines how fast and where a ball will go in a given direction). The movement of a knuckleball is extremely unpredictable and uncontrolled; it is governed by elements such as wind and air resistance, among others. Not only does the irregular movement of the knuckleball make it difficult for hitters to hit, but it also makes it difficult for catchers to catch and umpires to rule balls and strikes.

Rare Pitch Types

For the purposes of this article, “screwball” refers to a baseball pitch that travels in the opposite direction of a pitcher’s conventional curveball or slider. It is quite unusual to come across one.

Backdoor Sliders

When a backdoor slider is used in conjunction with a backdoor breaking ball, the batter will be fooled into believing the pitch is a ball. The pitch will go laterally out from the strike zone, before curving back into the strike zone at the last second for a strike.


A cutter is a type of pitch in baseball that appears similar to a fastball but breaks in the opposite direction of a fastball when it is thrown. In most cases, fastballs break to one side of the pitcher’s throwing arm side, whereas cutters break to one side of the pitcher’s throwing arm side, catching batters completely off surprise.


In baseball, a spitball is an old-fashioned method of getting the ball wet in order to throw off the hitter. This was accomplished by the pitcher spitting the ball in order to enhance its velocity.


An off-speed pitch or changeup is a type of pitch in baseball that is similar to a palmball in appearance.

Two-Seam Fastball

An infield two-seam fastball in baseball refers to a sort of fastball that is one of the most commonly used pitches in the game. It differs from the four-seam fastball in that it has a somewhat lower velocity and tends to break more than the latter.

Pitch Placement

When a pitcher delivers a ball that is in the insideout of the strike zone, this is referred as as an inner pitch in baseball. This is on the side of the zone that is closest to the batter’s position.

High Pitch

In baseball, a high pitch is defined as a pitch that is thrown well over the strike zone or above the catcher.

Low Pitch

When a pitcher delivers a ball that is low to the ground and close to the plate, this is referred to as a low pitch in baseball.

Baseball pitches illustrated

Baseball is one of my favorite sports. I’ve seen my fair share of broadcast games and been to a couple of live games. Even after all of this, I was still unsure of the difference between the different pitches. I was aware that a curveball was a downward-breaking pitch, but what precisely was a circle changeup? This information was gathered via reading baseball books and conducting web research to create the graphics shown below. This is not an exhaustive list of resources. I’ve selected twelve of the more common pitches, and they are:

  • Fastballs: four-seam, two-seam, Cutter, Splitter, and Forkball
  • Curveballs: four-seam, two-seam, Cutter, Splitter, and Forkball Breaking Balls: Curveball, Slider, Slurve, and Screwball are some of the most common. Changeups include the Changeup, the Palmball, and the Circle Changeup.

Learning to identify pitches

Although the amount of pitches may appear to be a daunting task to keep track of, bear in mind that each pitcher only employs a subset of these pitches. Pedro Martinez, for example, throws a curveball, a circle-changeup, an occasional slider, and a fastball in his repertoire. Before the game, do some preliminary study on the pitcher. Things to look out for that will assist you in identifying a pitch include:

  • The ball’s speed and movement, as well as the overall direction in which it is going. A break is a rapid change in direction
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There are a few other characteristics that can aid in the identification of a pitch, including ball rotation, point of release, and grip. Although it may seem excessive to a casual fan, I do not draw or explain any of the last three topics in this section of the website.

Reading the diagrams

Take note of the ball’s speed, movement, and break as well as its break. Make no distinction between where the baseball is depicted in the strike zone and where it is actually located. In addition to fastballs in the middle of the strike zone, you may throw fastballs high and away from the hitter as shown in the illustration. It’s still a fastball, mind you. The pitch is not determined by the location.

Four-seam Fastball

The straightest and fastest pitch. There has been little to no movement.

Two-seam Fastball

A Sinker is another term for this type of person. Occasionally runs in on a right handed hitter as he moves downhill and depending on the release timing of the pitch (RHH).


As it approaches the plate, it begins to separate from a right handed batter (RHH). A combination of a slider and a fastball. A fastball is faster than a slider, yet it has more movement than a slider.


Before reaching the plate, the vehicle has an unexpected breakdown.


Similar to asplitter, but with a more steady, less violent downward movement.


A 12-6 curveball is a type of pitch that is commonly used.

The number 12-6 relates to the movement from top to bottom (picture a clock with hands at 12 and 6).


Breaks down and gets away from the aRHH situation. In the middle of a fastball and a curve.


11-5 movement is the order of the day. A curve with more lateral mobility is similar to a spline.


Movement from 1-7. The polar opposite of theslurve.


It is thrown more slowly than a fastball, yet it has the same arm action as a fastball.


The ball is securely grasped in the palm of the hand. This pitch is similar to a changeup in that it is slower than a fastball, but it is delivered with the same arm action.

Circle Changeup

The screwball is a changeup with a 1-7 moment like the screwball.

PDF Download

Each of the twelve pitch diagrams, with the exception of the text comments, is combined onto a single page PDF.

How To Grip And Throw Different Baseball Pitches

PITCHERS, PLEASE READ: When it comes to baseball, one of the most common myths is that playing the game keeps you in condition to pitch. That would be fantastic if it were true. It is not the case. Preparation is essential for moving on to the next level. Pitchers in the major leagues spend significantly more time preparing to prepare than they do actually pitching. In the event you feel increasing your velocity will be crucial to your performance, have a look at my tested plans for pitchers of all ages.

Here are some of the most prevalent baseball pitching grips, as well as examples of how I used them when playing college and professional baseball in the United States.

  • Instructions on how to grasp and throw a four-seam fastball
  • Instructions on how to grip and throw a two-seam fastball
  • Instructions on how to grip and throw a three-finger changeup. An explanation of how to hold and throw a circle changeup
  • What is a palmball (palm ball) and how do you toss one? Instructions on how to grasp and throw a beginner’s curveball
  • Instructions on how to grip and throw a straight curveball In this video, I demonstrate how to grip and pitch a knuckle curveball. Using a slider, learn how to hold it and throw it. Learn how to grip and throw a split-finger fastball in this video.

Learn how to grip and throw a four seam fastball in this video. Fastball with four seams Position your index and middle fingertips squarely on the perpendicular seam of the baseball in order to hold a four seam fastball. If you are throwing with your throwing hand, the “horseshoe seam” should be facing into your ring finger (as shown in the picture on the left). For the simple reason that the seam itself resembles the form of a horseshoe, I refer to it as the horseshoe seam. Place your thumb just beneath the baseball, resting it on the smooth leather of the baseball bat (as shown in the picture on the right).

Take this pitch in your fingertips and hold it tenderly, like an egg.

If you want to throw a nice, hard four-seam fastball with maximum backspin and velocity, you must do the following: A relaxed grip reduces the amount of “friction” that occurs between your hand and the baseball.

Does a four-seam fastball have any rise to it?

“If a fastball is thrown underhand, it will not ascend in the air.

Fastball with two seams It’s similar to how a sinker or cutter (cut fastball) is held in the throwing hand, but it’s gripped somewhat tighter and deeper in the throwing hand than a four-seam fastball.

In order to throw a two-seam fastball, your index and middle fingers should be placed directly on top of the thin seams of the baseball bat (as shown in the picture on the left).

In this case, too, a two seamer is grasped a bit more tightly than a four seamer.

It also has the additional effect of decreasing the speed of the pitch, which is why most two-seam fastballs are 1 to 3 mph slower than four-seam fastballs on the radar gun.

To put it another way, because I’m a right-handed pitcher, I’d throw two-seamers inside to right-handed batters and four-seamers away from them.

A Three-Finger Changeup: Grip and Throw Instructions Changeup with three fingers When used properly, a three-finger changeup may be an effective off-speed pitch for younger baseball pitchers — particularly those who do not have large hands.

Your thumb and pinky finger should be positioned just beneath the baseball on the smooth leather (as shown in the middle picture).

As a result, it assists in developing a good “feel” for the pitch, which is important because the changeup is a finesse pitch.

This assists in slowing down the pitch’s speed.

The same arm speed was used.

When developing “fastball mechanics,” but not changeup speed, throwing your changeup as you long toss is a good practice technique (throwing beyond 90 feet).

Please keep in mind that advanced pitchers can experiment with “turning the ball over” to add even more movement to their pitches.

What Is The Proper Grip And Throw For A Circle Changeup?

Both of these pitches are excellent.

The baseball is then centered between your three other index and middle fingers (as shown in the middle picture above right).

This pitch should be thrown with the same arm speed and body mechanics as a fastball, with the exception that the ball should be slightly turned over by throwing the circle to the target.

To put it another way, imagine throwing your throwing hand at someone who is directly in front of you and giving them the “thumbs down.” This slows down your speed and allows you to have that nice, fading movement to the side of the plate where your throwing arm is.

Fastballs and changeups should be alternated at 90-plus feet for approximately 20 throws a couple of times per week.

It’s a pitch with a slow velocity.

With this change-up, the baseball is centered between your middle and ring fingers in your hand, similar to a four-finger change-up in baseball.

To get more movement out of the ball at its release point, try turning it over a little bit.

Nonetheless, just as with all off-speed pitches, the arm speed and mechanics of your pitching delivery must be the same as those used to deliver your fastball.

To put it simply, this pitch has the exact opposite effect as a fastball.

And, unlike a four-seam fastball, where leverage comes from behind the top of the baseball, leverage on a curveball comes from the front of the baseball.

(However, I believe this is an excellent grip for more advanced pitchers to use in a practice setting if you’re having difficulty with your breaking ball.) The way it works is as follows: Using your index finger, grip the baseball as though you were pointing at something in the distance.

When this pitch is thrown, your thumb should rotate upward, and your middle finger should snap downward while your index finger points in the direction of your target.

The beginners curveball helps to align your hand and ball to the target.

How To Grip And Throw A Straight Curveball Straight curveball The straight curveball (or “overhand curveball”) is one of the most common breaking ball grips.

A straight curve requires mastery of my beginners curveball, because many of the same principles that apply to both grips.

But the beginners curveball is a good place to start.

That’s because there is essentially no significant difference between a straight curveball and a beginners curveball, except for the finger placement of your index finger.

The thumb action of the pitch is upward.

The arm action on this pitch is a little abbreviated at the end.

This, of course, shortens your follow through, but allows you to really snap off the pitch.

This is the curveball grip that I used.

Your knuckle will now point to your target instead of your index finger (in the beginners curve) (in the beginners curve).

In fact, most pitchers feel this grip gives them the most rotation – and most movement – of any breaking pitch.

It’s not super comfortable at first to tuck your index finger into the baseball.

Do it while you’re watching TV or in study hall at school.

Note: You’ve got to maintain short and well-manicured nails – especially on your index finger of the throwing hand – for this pitch to be effective because long fingernails can get in the way of the grip.

It’s in the women’s section where fingernail polish is found, of course.

And it helps to make fingernails a little tougher.

A slider is the third fastest pitch in baseball.

1 fastest is a four-seam fastball and No.

A slider is gripped like a two-seam fastball, but held slightly off-center.

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.

Avoid any twisting of the wrist upon release.

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.

Remember to slightly cock your wrist, but don’t stiffen it.

If your wrist is slightly cocked to the throwing hand’s thumb side, your wrist-snap will enable you to have the pitch come off of the thumb-side of your index finger, which, in turn, produces good spin on the ball.

In this pitch, the movement is caused by the baseball spinning off of the index finger from the outside of the baseball — NOT by twisting your hand beneath the ball.

How to Grip and Throw a Splitter (with Pictures) Splitter A split-finger fastball (also known as a splitter or splitty) is a more sophisticated pitch that requires more than one finger to throw.

This is due to the fact that the pitch itself should be “choked” deep within the hand.

Place your index and middle fingers on the outside of the horseshoe seam, with your middle finger on the inside.

When throwing this pitch, maintain your index and middle fingers extended upward and the palm-side wrist of your throwing hand aimed squarely at the target while doing so.

Bruce Sutter, one of the greatest splitter pitchers in the history of the game, believes that it is critical to place your thumb on the rear seam rather than the front seam while splitting a ball.

Then, he explains, all you have to do is throw a fastball.

However, according to an interview between Roger Kahn and Bruce Sutter published in Kahn’s book, The Head Game: Baseball, He points out that, when viewed from the pitcher’s mound, this is not the situation.

What method do you use to throw your pitches? Post pictures of your pitching grips in the discussion forums for mybaseball pitching equipment.

Get my pitching velocity program

When it comes to baseball, one of the most common myths is that playing the game keeps you in condition to pitch. That would be fantastic if it were true. It is not the case. Preparation is essential for moving on to the next level. Pitchers in the major leagues spend significantly more time preparing to prepare than they do actually pitching. In the event you feel increasing your velocity will be crucial to your performance, have a look at my tested plans for pitchers of all ages.

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