This can be especially useful for pitchers who have a slight variance in release point as batters will not know where the pitch is coming from until it has been thrown. Typically, it’s only a good pitch if you’ve got bigger hands. That’s because the pitch itself should be “choked” deep in the hand.
The “horseshoe seam” should face into your ring finger of your throwing hand . I call it the horseshoe seam simply because the seam itself looks like the shape of a horseshoe. When a pitcher needs a sure strike, the 4-seam fastball may be the better choice, since it comes right at the hitter, straight from the point of release. The pitcher can rescue a pitcher who is 2-0 or 3-1 in the count.
Both techniques cause the ball to spin out of the hand off-center and away from the pitcher, similar to the spin of a changeup. In this shot, you should notice the direction of the baseball’s seams and the Major League Baseball printing. Every single picture I have seen with Cole throwing a 4-Seam fastball in Houston has the printing going horizontal from this point of view. In Pittsburgh, some of his 4-Seam fastball grips had the printing vertical, while others had it horizontal.
The split-finger fastball is a much more advanced pitch than the other three fastballs. It varies slightly from the forkball in that it’s thrown with more velocity and generally replaced it as part of a pitcher’s repertoire in the 1980s and 1990s. Grip the ball along the seams, at the part of the ball where the seams are closest together, with your middle and index fingers and put your thumb under the ball, in the smooth area between the narrow seams. Exert pressure on the ball with your middle finger and thumb. This is the first step in the Seam Readers Process and should be the first thought in a batter’s mind when they approach the plate. The reason we want to Think Fastball and React to everything else is because the fastball is the most common pitch and the only one that can blow right by a hitter.
Due to the orientation at which the hand grips the baseball, you can sometimes hear a 4 seamer referred to as a “cross seam” fastball. This grip is advantageous for pitchers blessed with an arm designed for throwing hard. When gripping the pitch in the manner shown above, the fingertips are able to grip the seams creating more pressure on those seams when releasing the ball. Fastballs with lots of backspin can help to offset the effects of gravity on the baseball by reducing the amount of drop on the pitch due to the Magnus Effect. This can give batters the illusion of the vaunted “rising” fastball as the pitch drops less than normal . Sidearm pitchers usually get sidespin on their fastballs which leads to more horizontal movement and limited vertical movement.
Ways to help identify a changeup early are a palmed grip from the pitcher or a slowed arm motion. Although these grip changes may have ultimately not played a factor in their spin rate increases, how to throw knuckleball there must be some reason why both pitchers would decide to change their 4-Seam fastball grips. Like Cole, there is not much of a change in Sims’ horizontal release point on fastballs.
Why further sacrifice movement and speed differential from a fastball? The human eye can only see the baseball up to a certain point. Balls in the MLB move so quickly, batters must rely on their brain’s ability to guess the last portion of the flight to hit the ball.
The reason for his success is the high location of his fastballs which complement his elite slider. His high fastballs seem to be even more effective from his low, submarine-style arm slot. Out of all the baseball pitching grips, fastball grips are the easiest to master and be consistent with. This can be a very easy pitch to learn because it isn’t thrown much different than the four seam fastball. The pitch is held by the pitcher placing his or her index finger and middle fingers in between the two seams that run vertically up the baseball.