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A Beginners Guide to Evaluating Four-Seam Fastballs

Your thumb should be directly underneath the baseball, not touching any of the seams below. The pitch gets its name because it looks like you can see four seams when it travels towards you. As the ball rotates you see four seams which is different than what you see with a curve or a two-seamer.

The movement and deception on the pitch, coupled with its speed, can often make up for that slight dip in velocity. If thrown with the same finger pressure, two-seam and four-seam fastballs can look similar. However, two-seam fastballs usually aren’t thrown with the same finger pressure as a four-seamer. Finger pressure plays a large role in determining pitch movement. A two-seam fastball is often a few ticks slower than a four-seam fastball, but it tends to have more movement. With a two-seamer, the ball moves in the same direction as whichever arm is being used to throw it (meaning a right-handed pitcher gets rightward movement on a two-seamer).

In this article, the writer has and will be using the terms interchangeably. But out in the world of pitching, there will be some who will say the 2 seamer and the sinker are different. Due to slightly alternating grips, arm slots and wrist angles; there will be pitchers who find that they get more drop on this pitch than others. Some out there might then say that the pitch that drops more is a true sinker .

Pitchers who throw at high velocities and want to maximize that velocity should choose the 4 seam over the 2 seam because the spin of the ball will allow for higher velocities. With less movement on the pitch, the ball gets from point A to point B faster. Both pitches can be equally effective in getting hitters out, but it is important to know the difference between 2-seam grip the two in order to maximize their effectiveness. The first pitch every young player learns to throw when learning how to pitch is the fastball. At that age, a fastball is just a fastball.But as they gain more experience, they start to realize that there are different variations of the fastball. The two most common variations are the 4 seam and the 2 seam fastball.

One of the keys to being successful as a pitcher is the ability to throw the ball to locations that hitters can’t make solid contact. All three of these pitches look and feel different to the hitter. That 62mph fastball keeps a hitter honest and will make it harder for her to be on time to the other pitches. While seemingly a simple pitch, so much is needed to correctly assess the original fastball. These types of pitches should rarely be taken for their surface value, and I believe the showcase of different evaluation facets shows this. The above criteria I consider to be the main facets necessary to judge a four-seam fastball – although, I encourage the reader to seek out more ways to look at a four-seamer.