The movement of the arm is the same as the 4 seam fastball, but the hand movement is marginally changed. Generally, the 2 seam pitch gathers extra movement when the pitcher enforces fingertip pressure or places the baseball far into the hand. Each of these methods makes the ball move out of the hand away from the center and the pitcher, identical to the movement of a change-up. Two-seam fastballs are especially useful for pitchers who lack the raw velocity to overpower hitters.
A firm grip causes friction, which causes the baseball to change direction, usually “backing up” – or running in – to the throwing hand side of the plate. It also slightly reduces the speed of the pitch, which is why most two-seamers register about 1 to 3 mph slower than four-seam fastballs. So, What’s the difference between a 4 seam and 2 seam fastball? A 4 Seam Fastball will travel in a directly straight path to the plate, whereas the 2 seam fastball travels to the right or left depending on your throwing arm. A 2 seam fastball, if thrown down the middle, will move to the left with a right handed pitcher, and to the right if you’re a left handed pitcher.
Also, a 2 seam may be the fastball of choice for pitchers with low and ¾ arm slots. 4 seams require pitchers to get on top of the ball to maximize the spin. It is really hard for pitchers with lower arm slots to get on top of the baseball to create that backspin. As stated earlier, 2 seam fastballs typically move to the pitcher’s arm side. Movement is great for pitchers – as long as they can control it.
At the major collegiate level and higher, two-seam fastballs are typically thrown in the low 90s , but with much variation. You should throw a four-seam fastball when you need speed and accuracy on the pitch and when behind the count, and a strike can’t be lost. Two-seam fastballs should be thrown when ahead of the count and to trick the batter with unpredictable movement. For this reason, a right pitcher can gain a significant advantage over a left-handed batter and a right-handed pitcher over a left-handed batter. However, a successful two-seam fastball is effective nonetheless.
In that article, I primarily focused on sliders – but four-seam fastballs can undergo the same force. By looking at an observed vs actual spin axis chart, which compares what 2 seam grip the ball should’ve done to what it did, you can see if a pitch experienced seam-shifted wake. To demonstrate this, I’ll look at San Francisco Giants pitcher Tyler Rogers.
Now if we look back to a ball that has a two-seam orientation and is thrown with enough cut, you’d begin to see the horseshoe on the side of the ball become more noticeable. This can help pitchers generate additional arm side run, especially from higher release points. Throwing a two-seamer consistently with added horizontal movement by imparting cut on the ball can be difficult to master however, and this type of adjustment is only recommended for higher-level throwers.
Use the 2 seamer for the 2 and arm-side Go Zone along with the 4 and arm-side Chase Zone to promote movement towards that side of the plate. For pitchers who don’t have issues throwing strikes but seem to give up a lot of hard-hit balls, a 2 seam may be the best option. Throwing a pitch with more movement creates more deception for the hitter. Lastly, pitchers with good 12-6 curveballs typically have success with 4 seam fastballs. Sometimes, even pitchers who normally throw a 2 seam fastball go back to the 4 seam grip when they are struggling to find the zone. It is called a 2 seam because when it is thrown, two of its seams are spinning against the air.
Only then should you learn the two-seam fastball to give you more room to work with when the time is right. A 4 seam fastball is a pitch in baseball and is also known as a four-seamer, the rising fastball, or a cross-seamer. It is classified into a fastball pitch category and is typically the toughest ball delivered by the pitcher. There are many different types of fastballs that you can throw. A four-seam fastball is part of the fastball family but is not the only type of fastball. You will find that the four-seam fastball grip is the same grip most fielders use – because there is little movement to the ball.
Some will appear to rise as the pitch is thrown, and others will have a regular downward path or break away. Generally, a hitter will expect a fastball to follow a certain path from the hand, making room for a pitcher to succeed or fail based on their pitch’s differentiation from the batter’s expectation. Easier pitches to hit will follow an expected fastball path – not sinking, rising, or breaking much above the average. The hardest pitches to hit deviate from that path – rising, sinking, and horizontally breaking at a rate that is much different than the average pitch.
According to the grip of the fingers on the ball, a 4 seam fastball will show 4 seams as opposed to 2 seams on show when the ball is in movement during a baseball game. Choosing the right moment to throw this type of pitch in a baseball game is important, as pitchers most likely wouldn’t use it when behind in the count. Its unpredictability when it reaches the batter may mean it ‘runs away’ from the strike zone. The point of a 4 seam fastball is essentially to overpower batters; the goal of the pitch is to reach the strike zone before the batter has a chance to react.