What Is Spin Rate In Baseball

Spin Rate

The number of revolutions per minute, or RPM, is used to quantify spin rate. It refers to the rate at which a baseball spins after it has left the pitcher’s hand. The spin rate of a fastball is critical, with fastballs that spin below 1800 rpm and over 2600 rpm being significantly more effective than fastballs that ride the line in the middle of the plate. A fastball with a greater spin rate will appear to soar in the air and will be more difficult to square up. It is possible for a pitch to throw the same pitch at the same pace and end up in a different location depending on the rate of spin (RPM) of the baseball.

The identical pitch delivered at a lower RPM will have a tendency to land in the same location over and over again, giving the batter an edge.

More spin rate means a better fastball, curve ball, or slider, and vice versa.

Spin Rate-Highest per Pitch

According to MLB Statcast, the following are the clubs that will have the highest spin rate on fastballs in 2020. 1) Reds: 2,489 revolutions per minute 2.) Miami Marlins: 2,386 rpm. 3.) Texas Rangers: 2,380 rpm. 4) D-backs: 2,368 revolutions per minute 5) Brewers: 2,360 revolutions per minute The average 4-seam spin rate in Major League Baseball is 2,309 rpm. According to MLB Statcst, the clubs with the greatest spin rate on curveballs in 2020 are shown below. 1) Cincinnati Reds: 2,884 rpm; 2) Los Angeles Dodgers: 2,763 rpm Astros: 2,754 rpm, Cubs: 2,689 rpm, Braves: 2,603 rpm, and so on.

  1. Who are the Reds?
  2. Yes, that makes sense, especially given the fact that the franchise has hired Kyle Boddy to spearhead their analytical approach to playing the game.
  3. According to Wikipedia, Kyle Boddy is: Kyle Boddy is a baseball pitching trainer and consultant from the United States.
  4. He also works with the Cincinnati Reds of the Major League Baseball organization.
  5. The highest 4-seam spin rate will be achieved in 2020.
  6. The following are the top pitchers in terms of spin rate when throwing the curveball.

The average curveball spin rate in Major League Baseball is 2,515 rpm. Take a look at this YouTube video about the spin rate in video games.

Spin Rate- Can it Be Taught

All of the experts have stated that they are “maybe, but not sure yet.” One thing they both agree on is that being in the middle of the pack or even close to the average spin rate is not a good thing. If you want to be better than the middle, you should have a high spin rate or even a low spin rate. Due to the fact that the pitch is somewhat flat and lacks movement in the middle, this is the case. When it comes to big league baseball, the expression “spin to win” has grown increasingly relevant.

  1. As a die-hard St.
  2. In addition, Tom is a member of the United Cardinals Bloggers as well as the Baseball Bloggers Association.
  3. More recently, he has been working at KnupSolutions and KnupSports, where he is the lead writer for various sports and contributes articles to Sports 2.0.
  4. He may also be followed on Twitter, where his handle is @tknup.

How does spin rate really affect pitches?

To be clear, this essay could easily be 10 pages long and yet barely scratch the surface of the significance and intricacy that Spin Rates in baseball hold. This is intended to be a quick introduction and discussion of one of the most important statistics available, rather than a comprehensive guide. Hopefully, this has piqued your curiosity and prompted you to learn more about some of the exciting new material available on the topic. Because this is a compilation of information gathered by a group of extremely intelligent individuals, please visit their websites, click on the links, and subscribe to their different sites and pages.

  1. There is little doubt that the Statcast Era has arrived, and it contains a veritable treasure mine of fresh data and viewpoints that are currently being pulled apart and debated by baseball fans of all levels, amateur and professional alike.
  2. Before Statcast was presented to us unwashed baseball-watching barbarians, it was easy to marvel how someone like Koji Uehara was able to pull anything like this off.
  3. Located at the very top of the zone.
  4. In addition, the batter arrived late and was unable to square the ball.
  5. Even though the pitch only reached 88mph, it was spun in at more than 2400rpm, whereas the typical fastball in Major League Baseball normally reached 2200rpm.
  6. Every pitch now acts in a unique manner.
  7. Curve balls have top spin, fastballs have backspin, and sliders do a million different things because sliders are thrown a million different ways.
  8. High spin rate may be both beneficial and detrimental, and low spin rate can be both beneficial and detrimental; it all depends on the pitch and the pitcher under consideration.
  9. Familia, who was then with the Mets.
  10. It is worthwhile to click on the link.
  11. His splitter/sinker had too much spin, which prevented it from sinking.

The importance of spin rates varies depending on the pitch, as we can easily observe. First and foremost, it is necessary to grasp what Spin Rate is and how it is defined before we can begin to explore what spin rate implies for different pitches. So let’s get this party started.

Spin Rate Defined

According to the MLB Glossary, spin rate is defined as follows: The rate of spin on a baseball after it is launched is represented by the pitcher’sSpinRate. In this case, the speed is measured in rotations per minute. The amount of spin on a pitch alters the trajectory of the pitch. The same pitch, delivered at the same velocity, will land in a different location depending on how much it spins and how fast it is thrown. It appears to be quite self-explanatory. However, not all spin is created equal.

Nathan, a baseball prospectus writer, explains how it works.

Furthermore, Spin Vector (W), Gyro-spin (W2), and transverse spin (W) may all be used to illustrate the phenomenon (Wt) This is a complicated and difficult concept to grasp, but in its most basic form (Alan is a mathematical savant and the defacto expert in this area of analysis; I attempted to contact him but was unsuccessful) it is that not all spin is created equal, that transverse spin is valuable to fastballs, that higher spin rates result in more lateral movement and lower spin results in more vertical movement, and that the more spin the better.

  1. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that increased spin rates for curve balls and breaking pitches have a considerable reduction in their overall movement beyond a certain point.
  2. Gyrospin, which is frequently present, is analogous to the spin of a bullet, and its influence is either insignificant or completely non-existent, but the exact nature of this is unclear.
  3. When paired with increased velocity, fastballs with more spin are typically even more effective than they are on their own.
  4. A Bauer Unit is calculated by dividing Spin Rate (RPM) by Velocity (MPH).
  5. The concept originates from the gurus at Driveline Baseball, who go into great detail about ithere in their blog post.
  6. I found it to be an interesting read since it goes into detail about how more velocity might be less effective than a fastball with greater movement.
  7. Spin rate also acts within the boundaries of the Magnus effect, which I have briefly discussed previously.
  8. Without delving too further into the physics, the more spin there is on a fastball, the longer it takes for it to hit the ground.
  9. The same may be said about curve balls, up to a certain extent.
  10. In addition, the delivery of a pitcher has an effect on the ball as well.

Knowing the different forms of spin and their impacts on a baseball, as well as the magnus effect, will allow us to delve a little further into what spin rates imply for each specific throw in greater detail later in this article.

Fastball Spin

The meat of all pitches thrown on any given day on any particular baseball field is the fastball, despite the fact that this is changing, as seen in the following chart: Backspin is essential for fastballs. As previously stated, fastballs with more spin than the MLB average of 2,263.15 appear to “climb,” as in they appear to maintain a higher elevation than the aforementioned average spin fastballs during their flight. The data in this mind-numbing excel file, which represents swinging strikes, shows that higher spin fastballs are more successful at generating swinging strikes than lower spin fastballs.

Here’s an illustration of a 92 mph fastball thrown at 3 different speeds: 2400 rpm, 2200 rpm, and 1800 rpm (for comparison).

So, what does this mean in terms of real-world ramifications?

  1. Below 2100 RPM, the MLB average is.304
  2. Between 2100 and 2600 RPM, the MLB average is.267
  3. And over 2600 RPM, the MLB average is.197.

So let us have a look at a few straightforward instances. Yes, I’m utilizing Verlander from the Tigers as a starting pitcher. I haven’t gotten over it yet. But I’m getting ahead of myself. A lot of arm side run on this ball, and the batter swings late because he was probably unsure whether the pitch was going to be a strike or not when it was thrown. The fast spin rate causes the pitch to appear to “climb” in the zone, which is misleading. For fun, here’s a breakdown of Verlander’s Fastball, Curve, Slider, and Change-up in order of effectiveness.

  1. His work is a complete and utter disgrace.
  2. Kyle Hendricks is a football player from the United States.
  3. This sinker accomplishes precisely what it is intended to do: it sinks.
  4. Even if the hitter had made contact with the ball, it would have bounced off the third base side of the infield.
  5. Check out Zach Britton’s devastating lefty sinker as too, just for good measure.
  6. A fastball with a greater spin rate will appear to soar in the air and will be more difficult to square up.

A lower RPM fastball, on the other hand, will tend to sink and will be a groundball machine. We now have a rudimentary knowledge of how spin rate impacts fastballs, and we can proceed to discuss curveballs in more detail.

Curveball Spin

Curve balls, as contrast to fastballs, rely on top spin to create movement. Curve balls today are not the enormous loopy crazy bugs bunny sluggish hooks of your grandfather’s day. They are being thrown harder and harder, and they are being hurled more frequently than they have been in many years. One of the better examples of this was Lance McCullers (who will appear again momentarily), who utterly dominated the Yankeeshitters by throwing 24 straight curve balls to them. Click on the link to see a beautiful exhibit.

  1. Based on what we’ve just studied, we can deduce that higher spin should imply more movement, and this is typically true with curve balls as well.
  2. As a general rule, they are thrown in a fairly uniform manner, with each individual pitcher having his or her own distinct style of pitching them.
  3. Because I’m grouping them all together, please forgive me if you think it is a bit of a broad generalization.
  4. Now it’s time to move on.
  5. They range in speed from less than 1000 rpms to more than 3000 rpms.
  6. Those spinning at speeds more than 1750 rpm have a higher ground ball rate than 50%.
  7. It is estimated that about 75% of curve ball spin is “productive.” Thus, the higher the spin rate, the more movement there is in a pitch as a matter of thumb.
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In general, horizontal curves strike out more batters, but they also result in more hard contact, whereas vertical curves result in a significantly higher ground ball rate and a far lower strike out total, as detailed in further detail here.

Garrett Richards – Curve Ball with a 3000+ RPM.

Because of its high rotational speed, it has remarkable mobility.

Garrett possesses a high-level curve ball in terms of RPM.

Craig can throw his Knuckle Curve at speeds ranging from 85 to 90 miles per hour.

Clayton Kershaw – Curve Ball at a 2350+ RPM.

Surprisingly, when it comes to sheer spin, it is ordinary.

Drew Pomeranz – Curve Ball with a 2100+ RPM Drew Pomeranz’s upward trajectory has elevated him to the status of a formidable opponent.

It’s a thing of beauty.

However, the break of the pitch and the sort of curve that is delivered are also important considerations.

Despite the fact that a sweeping, high spin rate curve will generate more swings, some of those swings will be harder to hit than those produced by a more vertical curve. Fastballs and curve balls have been discussed previously; now it is time to take a look at change-ups and their variants.


Change-ups are a fantastic tool, as I explained in an article I published a long time ago. The difference between them and fastballs and curve balls is that they are frequently thrown purposefully with less spin and speed in order to confuse a hitter. Some pitchers have had success with change-ups thrown at higher RPMs, but on average, they are thrown with far less spin than the typical Major League Baseball fastball. Change-ups were thrown at an average speed of roughly 1700 RPM in 2017, according to the league average.

  1. This is complicated by the numbing semantics involved in classifying pitches, as well as the fact that Statcast frequently misidentifies change-ups, which means the data is only kind of useful.
  2. But, anyway, let’s take a quick look at a few other approaches and make our own conclusions from them.
  3. Some pitchers, such as Felix and Greinke, throw their changes at speeds that are extremely comparable to their fastballs, a technique that is becoming more popular but has not been used previously.
  4. Felix, on the other hand, made it work.
  5. He had the ability to throw at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour, but he was treated like a misbehaved child on a regular basis.
  6. In conclusion, greater spin isn’t ideal for a change-up, but it isn’t always a deal breaker; it all depends on the pitch and the pitcher who is throwing it.

Sliders and all their Nonsense Derivatives

Sliders are a load of [email protected] There is so much hybridization and variety, as well as semantic debates, around categorization that it physically tears my brain apart to attempt to list and explain all of the variants and hybridization. As a result, I will not be doing so. Here is a link to where you may learn more. Brandon does an outstanding job with this subject. Take a break, then come back. I’ll wait for you. Now that we’ve shown that sliders are quite diverse, it’s impossible to declare definitively whether a greater or lower spin rate is beneficial or detrimental.

  • Let’s take a look at a few outliers to help you understand why this is so difficult.
  • Darren O’Day – 1800-2200 RPM Slider (Darren O’Day) The sliding action of Darren O’Day appears to be all over the place.
  • It’s wiggle-wiggle-wiggle, and it’s quite normal.
  • It is a monster if you look at that thing, THING.
  • This animated gif is fantastic.
  • It’s deplorable.
  • Chris Sale – 2450 RPM Slider (Chris Sale) Chris Sale’s slider is one of the most devastating in the major leagues.

Inquire with Torii Hunter. He swung at a pitch that smacked him on the back of the leg. Ouch. So, to summarize, sliders are difficult to categorize, but they appear to operate on the same principle as other types of strikes, namely that greater spin equals more movement and more swinging strikes.


Spin rate is a statistical measure that is relatively new and has gained popularity. As the science grows in popularity and gets more widely accepted, we may expect to see more tools and, potentially, more techniques to better use spin rate emerge for both pros and casual fans such as myself in the future. As is usually the case, Go Tigers! Editor’s note: If you liked this article, you might be interested in reading a few of other JajaBojangles’ blogs on the fastball and the changeup. A FanPost does not necessarily reflect the opinions of theem Bless You Boys /emwriting staff, and the ideas expressed here are purely personal.

A Deeper Dive into Fastball Spin Rate

A recent post highlighted the differences between cues and measures, as well as how technological advancements are affecting baseball. We now understand that, rather than just relaying cues verbatim to players, it is necessary to get a deeper understanding of particular themes. One of these subjects is the spin rate of a wheel. As you’ll see today, there are several levels to learning how to make a pitch that is both successful and persuasive. The principles of fastball spin rate and off-speed pitch spin rate have already been discussed, but it’s time to go over them again for clarification.

We also go through some of the subtleties associated with high spin and how it relates to movement.

While the amount of information available and what is relevant to each player varies depending on their level, equipment, and knowledge, our goal today is to demonstrate what you can learn from even relatively simple explanations, which will pave the way for you to learn more in the future as your skills and knowledge grow.

Basics of Spin Rate: A Recap

When a fastball is thrown with backspin, the vertical movement of the ball may be explained by the Magnus force. As the ball spins, it pushes the air lower behind it, generating an equal and opposite force that pushes the air upward. Consequently, the speed at which a fastball spins, referred to as the rate, determines a significant portion of its movement. The impacts on batters have been found in studies utilizing a pitching machine with varying spin speeds, which was conducted by our team of researchers.

(2013) published an article titled “The Effect of Fastball Backspin Rate on Baseball Hitting Accuracy.” Image courtesy of Baseball Spin and Pitchers’ Performance: Kanosue and colleagues (Open Access) Even though the fastest spin rate used in the study above is faster than what we’ve seen pitchers throw, the point remains the same: hitters are more likely to swing under a fastball with a lot of spin than they are against a slower one.

  1. We also see that hitters tend to hit more fly balls and have more swings and misses on high-spin fastballs, which explains why they’re more likely to hit low-spin fastballs on the ground when the ball has a lot of movement.
  2. Now, after reading the above chart, it would be easy to conclude that high-spin fastballs should be thrown high in the zone and low-spin fastballs should be thrown low in the zone.
  3. However, this conclusion is not as straightforward as it appears, and we must dig further to uncover more relevant information.
  4. Even though we’ve seen that spin rate increases as a function of fastball velocity, it’s also easy to misapply fundamental lessons—especially when comparing pitchers with varying fastball velocities.
  5. The following is a simple illustration of how pitchers with the same spin rate but different velocities can have significantly different Bauer Unit values.

Understanding Bauer Units and how to judge spin with them gives coaches further context of the spin rate of fastballs. But, especially with fastballs, ball axis also needs to be taken into account—and it’s often forgotten.

Fastballs and Spin Axis

There is a difference between a high-spin fastball that has a great degree of vertical movement and one that does not have this movement. This is due to the rotational axis of the ball. As a result, we don’t merely want to concentrate on the spinning. We want to pay attention to the spin, what the axis is, and how it relates to the movement of the pitch as much as possible. Even more specifically, two pitches with the same velocity and spin rate but with distinct movement profiles dependent on the axis of the ball may be created by rotating the ball about its axis.

  1. According to Rapsodo measurements, the pitch below has the same 1:00 axis as the pitch above but has a 50 percent spin efficiency, which gives it more cut in comparison to the pitch with 95 percent spin efficiency.
  2. It is for this reason that having a camera is extremely vital when trying to put together what the ball tracking technology is telling you.
  3. Other pitchers may have subtle variations in their release point, or the number of fingers they use at release, which can cause their spin axis to shift.
  4. This is significant because one of the key distinctions between amateur and professional pitchers is the constancy of their spin axis over the course of their careers.
  5. As the arm slot shifts, the alignment of the hands and fingers during release shifts as well, changing the ball’s axis of rotation as a result.
  6. When there is a significant proportion of backspin with a horizontal axis, the majority of the spin deflection is in the positive vertical direction, which is a good thing.
  7. Sidespin is increased due to the axis changing to a more diagonal position, which results in increased sidepin.

Because of this, practically all of the movement will be lateral to the arm side of the body.

In this situation, the rotational movement of the pitch is substantially determined by the axis around which the ball spins.

They used data from Brooks Baseball, as well as arm angle measurements taken from 25 pitchers (provided by ASMI).

Finally, the method by which spin axis is detected is dependent on the technology employed to follow the flight of the ball.

Trackman tracks the ball during its entire flight and infers the spin axis from the trajectory.

Each approach has its own set of advantages and disadvantages; for example, laminar flow is not correctly accounted for, but the fundamental benefit of Rapsodo is that it is capable of measuring spin efficiency with pinpoint accuracy.

A pitcher’s spin rate on his fastball is significant, but understanding his spin axis is also crucial since it offers you more context for how the pitch travels, what he can do with it, and whether or not changing the spin rate would be useful in the long run.

Tying the Influence of Spin Rate and Spin Axis Together: An Even Deeper Look

We also know that the spin axis has an impact on both spin rate and spin efficiency, in addition to the correlations indicated above. Essentially, the more you cut the ball, the more overall spin you’ll be able to create, which will typically come at the sacrifice of transverse spin, as previously said. This implies that a high-velocity pitcher who cuts the baseball naturally may have a considerably greater raw spin rate than a low-velocity pitcher who has natural arm-side run, despite the fact that the former is not actually superior at creating spin.

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To account for this, we developed Spin+, which uses MLB Statcast data to attempt to estimate a player’s spin rate based on both spin axis and velocity.

Spin+ is useful because it allows us to compare the spin rates of pitchers such as Andrew Triggs, who had an average spin rate of 2,414 rpm in 2018 with only an 89 mph fastball and a completely vertical spin axis (in the x-z direction) of 269 degrees, with pitchers such as Carl Edwards Jr., who throws a 94.5 mph fastball that averages 2,658 rpm and an almost completely horizontal spin axis (in the After accounting for Edwards Jr.’s advantage in velocity and axis, Spin+ believes Triggs’ ability to spin the baseball is actually 90 rpm higher than Edward Jr.’s, despite the fact that Edwards Jr.

had the second highest fastball spin rate of any major league pitcher in 2018 among those who threw at least 75 fastballs in that season.

When developing a pitch, it’s critical to examine how an athlete’s spin rate can alter as a result of the changes you’re attempting to make to the pitch.

Figure 1.

Applying Spin Rate and Spin Efficiency to Pitch Design

We may also apply the Spin+ approach to spin efficiency, which like raw spin has a connection with both the spin axis and the velocity of rotation. Through the use of both internal assessments of Spin+ and spin efficiency, we can acquire a far better picture of where a pitcher has the ability to develop based on the data available to us. The top ten fastballs in 2018 that scored the highest in our “pitch potential” statistic are shown in the graphic below as an explanation of how Statcast data might be used as an example.

  • Because we have both a pitcher’s anticipated and actual spin rate, as well as his predicted and real spin efficiency %, we can compare what we estimate his transverse spin rate to be with the actual spin rate that he experiences.
  • This information allows us to construct a Spin Efficiency %, which predicts that Ross will create 2,190 rpm of transverse spin on his two-seamer throughout the 2018 season based on the information we have.
  • This indicates that Ross is effectively throwing his two-seamer (and four-seamer) with league-average movement, despite the fact that he is one of the league leaders in spin generation.
  • You may have observed that the majority of these pitchers are sinkerballers by trade, and that any increase in transverse spin would impart more “carry” into their fastballs, rather than the other way around.
  • This demonstrates a more frugal link between spin rate, spin efficiency, and the “correct” technique to developing a fastball than has previously been recognized.

rather than this, we must take into account the limitations of the person in conjunction with an appropriate strategy to develop something that will function best for the athlete’s particular skill set.


As you can see, there is a great deal of nuance to the debate about spin rate in general. The pace at which a pitch spins, as well as the axis, are important considerations. However, depending on the arm slot and the position of the hand and fingers at the time of ball release, the axis might alter. Much beyond that, when it comes to MLB spin-rate statistics, you can go even more specific than that. Although your head may be spinning from the more technical portions at the conclusion, there are a few essential themes for coaches and players to take away from the document.

  • Because it may impact the movement of the pitch, understanding spin rate is crucial because it can assist to determine the number of whiffs and types of batted ball outcomes a pitcher gives up. To evaluate a pitcher’s fastball, you must go past the raw spin and control and instead search for velocity in the fastball itself. Bauer Units are an excellent method to do this, which is especially crucial for pitchers who throw fastballs with outlier velocity, whether it is lower or higher than the norm. After that, you’ll want to have a look at the pitches spin axis. The spin axis, in conjunction with a movement profile, will provide you with more information about a pitch than just the spin rate. In addition, there is a wealth of MLB statistics accessible that may provide you with even more information on individual pitchers and their respective repertoires. We’ve just scratched the surface of what it implies and how it may be most beneficial
  • We’re only at the beginning of our exploration.

Finally, when we urge a player to make a specific alteration to the way he or she throws a pitch, we must approach the situation with facts in mind. This ensures that the time and effort spent by both the coach and the athlete in making the necessary modifications will not be wasted. The ability to recognize whether pitches have the potential to be excellent or poor takes some getting used to, but it is the first step in successfully utilizing technology. The ability to determine if a pitch is “excellent” ultimately rests not only on the spin, axis, and movement profile of the pitch, but also on how well it performs in a game environment.

Dan Aucoin, Michael O’Connell, and Eric Jagers collaborated on the writing of this article.

Spin Rate: What We Know Now

This essay is meant to provide a foundation of information regarding spin rate based on what we, at Driveline Baseball, currently understand about the subject matter. We intend to provide answers to some often asked questions as well as point you in the direction of resources that we have found to be useful in understanding spin rate. This page will also serve as a starting point for some of our future study and writing on spin rate, which will be linked to this one.

Magnus Force and Spin Rate

Knowing that we can take a look at a group of pitchers who are all throwing fastballs at the same speed, say 92 MPH, and see that each of those pitchers has a distinct rate of spin on their fastballs, we can make some assumptions. A fastball that travels at 92 miles per hour with a spin rate of 2200 revolutions per minute would be considered ‘average’ by most standards (RPM). Actual pitching speeds can range from 1800 RPM to 2400 RPM, with spin rates ranging from 92 to 92 and 92. It is possible to explain why this occurs using some simplified physics; in this example, we will concentrate on the Magnus force.

  • Here is a fantastic animated gif that illustrates this effect.
  • As you can see, the faster the backspin, the more quickly the air is deflected downwards and the greater the force pushing the ball back upward when it is hit.
  • So, let us think about the Magnus force in terms of spin rate for a moment.
  • If this 92 MPH fastball is thrown at 1800 RPM, it will have less spin and less Magnus force, which will cause the ball to descend lower during its trip to the plate than the ‘average’ fastball stated above, according to the formula.

Even though the changes are slight enough that a hitter would not be able to tell them apart before taking a swing, the balls will end up at different heights when they reach the plate.

What do high/low spin rates mean to a hitter?

The effect of pitches with the same velocity but differing spin rates on batters has been investigated in one research study. In this study, a pitching machine was utilized to throw pitches at speeds of 130 km/h (80 MPH) at 50 RPS (Red 3000 RPM), 40 RPS (Yellow 2400 RPM), and 30 RPS (Blue 2400 RPM) in three different colors (Blue 1800). As you can see, even when hitting at the same speed, batters were routinely struck by fastballs with more spin. Higuchi et al., “The Effect of Fastball Backspin Rate on Baseball Hitting Accuracy,” in Baseball Hitting Accuracy: Higuchi et al.

  • When it comes to making or avoiding excellent contact, baseball is a game of millimeters and seconds.
  • This would be consistent with the findings of a 2013 study by Zach Day, who discovered that fastballs with more spin had more swing and misses and fewer ground balls.
  • In other words, we may conclude that at the same velocity, the greater the spin rate, the more swings and misses the fastball is likely to produce.
  • Jeff Long recently investigated the correlations between spin rate and swinging strike percent, ground ball percent, and fly ball percent, and discovered that when looking at all pitches, there were only extremely tiny interactions with regard to spin.

Can you create higher or lower spin rate?

Higher spin isn’t always a good thing. Perhaps a lower spin rate. Based on the fact that splitters have a considerably lower spin rate than fastballs, we may infer that the splitter grip (in which the index and middle fingers are widely spread out on the ball) results in a reduction in spin rate. However, although we have not conducted a formal investigation into this notion, our early testing indicates that increasing the distance between the fingers on the ball results in a drop in spin rate.

Most of this is due to the fact that no one knows why the ball spins differently from one pitcher to the next.

From the book Baseball Spin and Pitchers Performance: Kanosue et al., by Kanosue et al (Open Access) When a pitcher pitches, the authors give photographic data that indicates how soon the ball transitions from not rotating to rotating after being thrown.

Since each photo frame above is 6 milliseconds long, you can see how the ball transitions from not rotating to spinning and being released in less than one frame in the example above.

What is the relationship between spin rate and velocity?

Spin rate appears to be an intrinsic trait, and it appears to be proportional to velocity when viewed as a function of time. Six pitchers each threw 20 pitches at speeds ranging from 60 to 80 miles per hour. The pitchers were instructed to employ the same fastball grip and mechanics as before and to attempt to throw a fastball at 60 MPH, followed by a pitch at 61 MPH, and so on up to an 80 MPH fastball in the final round. For the first five pitchers, the R2 values between velocity and spin rate varied from 0.83-0.96, indicating a strong association.

  • The 6th pitcher threw pitches ranging in velocity from 60 to 80 miles per hour, but was instructed to try to modify his mechanics from pitch to throw.
  • Despite the fact that this is only a beginning point for further investigation, we may safely conclude that spin rate is an intrinsic property, while unknown mechanical modifications may possibly have an impact on spin rate.
  • The spin rate of one pitcher should grow as his or her ability to throw harder is improved while maintaining the same mechanics and grip.
  • While another pitcher may be able to throw harder under the same mechanics and grip, his spin will climb to 2400 at 92 MPH when using the same mechanics and grip.
  • The ability to enhance velocity and spin rate of pitchers is possible, but we don’t know where they will finish up on the spectrum of 1800 – 2400 RPM for fastballs.
  • Not every pitcher who throws 90 has a low spin rate, just as not every pitcher who throws 90 has a high spin rate.
  • spin rate, you can see how this is demonstrated in further detail.
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What is SVR (Spin to Velocity Ratio)?

We developed the Spin to Velocity Ratio in order to more accurately compare spin rates at various velocities between pitchers (SVR). SVR is calculated as Spin Rate (RPM) divided by Velocity (MPH) This gives us the ability to normalize the spin in relation to the pitch velocity. Even if a pitcher’s fastball is spinning at 2400 RPM, it is less spectacular at 99 MPH and considerably more amazing at 89 MPH. Making spin rate more relevant over a wider variety of pitchers with various velocities is a goal of this project.

This allows us to compare pitchers more efficiently.

This offers you a sense of how much higher or lower a pitcher’s spin is in comparison to the Major League average, where an SVR+ of 100 indicates that the pitcher’s spin is flawless.

Unfortunately, the Major League Baseball (MLB) and other statistic collecting organizations have yet to acknowledge our pioneering achievements in the realm of baseball stats. This was also mentioned in the Statcast podcast from August 26, 2016: The Science and Art of Spin Rate

Are pitchers with higher spin rates more likely to be injured?

No, we are unable to determine this. A increasing body of evidence suggests, however, that dramatic changes in spin rate (often, rapid drops) can be an early warning indicator of damage or imminent harm. It is expected that each pitcher will have a limited variation around their average spin rate. Changes that are significantly different from the typical range might be a warning indication of unhealthy weariness. In this way, organizations may keep an eye on their pitchers’ spin rates to detect if there are any prolonged decreases from their average.

Currently, there is little evidence that this form of injury prevention is predictive over a broad group of pitchers, but it is merely another aspect for teams to keep an eye on.

This concept was further developed in two Fangraphs articles: A New Way to Study Pitching Injury andPitcher Spin Rates and Injuries, both of which can be found here.

How can we use spin rate to our advantage?

For pitchers that come to our facility, we can utilize Trackman or Rapsodo to measure their spin rates and then give recommendations on how to best use their pitchers or make modifications to their pitches to improve their performance. We don’t know how to adjust the spin rate of fastballs, and we don’t know how to change the sequencing of pitches or the placement preferences of fastballs, either. For example, a pitcher with a high spin fastball who is regularly advised to throw fastballs towards the knees of hitters would be considered ineffective.

  1. The zone may be more advantageous if you’re trying to induce pop-ups and swinging strikes by pitching middle/up in the zone.
  2. Keeping the ball down in the zone would be the optimal strategy since hitters would be more likely to swing slightly over the pitch, resulting in a greater number of ground balls.
  3. We are looking for pitches that have a spin that is different from the ‘normal’ spin.
  4. In Part II of this article, we discuss the Spin Axis and Useful Spin This essay was written in collaboration with Assistant Researcher Michael O’Connell, Engineering Intern Joe Marsh, and Kyle Boddy, and edited by Kyle.

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The pace at which a baseball turns around an axis after it is launched is referred to as the spin rate.

Example: The ball below has reverse spin and is revolving around the blue line in the image below. When we look at the spin rate, we can see how many rotations the ball makes around the line in a minute.

Spin Efficiency

The concept of spin efficiency is also crucial to grasp since it provides more information than merely looking at the spin rate of a pitch. A pitch’s movement is described as a proportion of the raw spin rate that is directly influenced by the pitch. The spin efficiency of fastballs, change-ups, and curveballs should be as near to 100 percent efficient as possible. The optimal efficiency range for sliders varies, and this will be covered in further detail later on. Here’s an illustration: Consider the following scenario: a fourseam fastball with a spin rate of 1000 rpm and a spin efficiency of 90% is thrown.

Gyrospin and Sliders

Even while the spin rate is vital for sliders, there is another sort of spin that comes into play, known as gyrospin, that must be considered. Although the chart above depicts the measurement of spin in two dimensions, there is a third dimension that must be taken into consideration when throwing the slider. There is a description of how the ball is moving in and out of the page. The image below, which shows the ball from the top, is an excellent depiction of what I’m talking about. Now, we’ll take a look at what happens as the ball rotates around the blue dot.

A baseball thrown in this manner would have pure gyrospin, with very little of the spin rate stated earlier contributing to the movement of the pitch.

What does spin tell us about sliders?

Gyrosliders and sweeping sliders are the two most common forms of sliders, according to the industry standard. Gyrosliders have a spin efficiency that ranges between 0 and 25%, which means that only a small portion of their spin rate is actually used to propel them forward or backward. They rely more on gryospin than anything else (football spin). Sweeping sliders are similar in appearance to Frisbee sliders. Compared to gyrosliders, they have better spin efficiencies, but they do not achieve the same level of efficiency as other pitch kinds, which are ideally closer to 100 percent efficient.

This type of movement is often referred to as a horizontal break.

Spin efficiency: definitions, implications, and everything else you need to know

Since the beginning of the baseball season, concepts like as spin rate have been introduced to the game as we all attempt to comprehend what goes on behind the beautiful art of pitching. It is nothing more than the number of times, or rate, at which the ball spins after it leaves the hurler’s hand that determines the spin rate. It is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM), which is the unit of measurement. We have a tendency to believe that spin rate is directly proportional to ball movement, and that every pitcher with a high spin rate would miss more bats than the next.

  • Similarly, when it comes to fastballs, more velocity does not necessarily translate into more swings and misses; similarly, a high spin rate does not always translate into fewer swings and misses.
  • The idea of spin efficiency comes into play in this situation.
  • In this scenario, the closer the spin efficiency (also known as active spin) is to 100 percent, the better the result (in most cases, because a lower efficiency is tied to more movement in the specific case of changeups).
  • Temperature and raw spin rate are less significant for heaters than movement profile (how much the pitch moves vertically and horizontally) and the method by which the movement is achieved.
  • Another valuable concept has been added to our vocabulary: spin axis.
  • The direction in which the ball will go is directly influenced by the spin axis.
  • A pitcher with a 34 arm slot and a side-armer will receive spin axes that are substantially different.

A fastball with 100 percent spin efficiency, or even a high-efficiency fastball for that matter, is significant because it provides the well-known “raising” effect on fastballs, which effectively prevents them from sinking and capturing too much of the heart of the plate when they hit the plate.

As an illustration of how spin efficiency influences fastball movement, consider the following scenario: What role does Spin Efficiency have in the movement of a fastball?

Fastball Efficiency (at 2300 rpm and 90 mph) is increased by 10% starting at 40% (red) and finishing at 100% (blue) (green).

After explaining everything, let’s take a look at the pitching leaders who will be involved in spin during the 2021 season: There are several really good major leaguers among the group.

Let’s take a look at those who came in at the opposite end of the spectrum for the purpose of amusement: There are also some good pitchers in there, like Corbin Burnes, who won the National League Cy Young Award last season.

In addition to Marcus Stroman and Spencer Turnbull, other top pitchers on this list like as Joe Musgrove and Framber Valdez do not follow the “throw your four-seamer high in the zone” handbook, and they are just as effective.

However, it is a very helpful notion, and it is one that works for the vast majority of pitchers who have mastered the art of increasing the spin rate of their fastballs.

Andrés Chávez is a baseball fanatic who writes about the sport on many websites, including Beyond the Box Score, Pinstripe Alley, and others. He may be found on Twitter under the handle @andres chavez13.

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