As a pitcher progresses with this pitch, they may develop sink or arm-side run. Often this pitch will be used to work the arm side of the plate. Throw the ball with great speed and boost it by adding a backspin. Place your thumb in the middle and below the ball.
The fastball umbrella includes many different pitches. The more grips that you can master and control, the bigger your advantage will be as a pitcher. Fastballs are not just about speed, but also the movement that you can use to upset a hitter’s timing and balance. I hope you now have a better understanding of four-seam vs. two seam fastballs. 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.
Your thumb should be directly underneath the baseball, not touching any of the seams below. This result makes sense as a grip like that would start to resemble a splitter, a pitch known for killing spin and velo. Similarly for a sinker, both fingers can be placed on the seams, although depending on preference, you may move the index finger slightly inwards.
It’s hard not to love the amount of movement on this fastball. The ball begins on the outer half of the plate and ends well inside, out of the strike zone. Here’s a fantastic two-seam fastball to opposing pitcher Lance Lynn. Here are some pictures of finger placement for the two-seam fastball. Here are some pictures of finger placement for the four-seam fastball. The best grip for velocity and control on the fastball is across the four seams.
Upon release, the fingers are lifted off the ball, the ball rolls up the fingers. Raise the finger tips and pads slightly and apply finger pressure between the first and second finger joints. Grip the ball deep in the hand, balanced and loose.
Check out this two-seam fastball from Henderson Alvarez of the Miami Marlins. Here it is in slow motion as he strikes out Curtis Granderson of the Mets… The ball comes out of the hand as the wrist flexes forward to a neutral position and the hand crosses a line about even with the pitcher’s face. Grip the baseball across the wide seams with the finger pads over the seams.
A firm grip causes friction, which causes the baseball to change direction and slightly reduces the speed of the pitch. We have not tracked gripping the ball across the narrow seams thus far, though we are incorporating more detail in the grip tracker moving forward (including 2 seam fastball grip evaluating a one-seam grip). The grip above will keep the thumb positioned underneath the ball for control, but its placement can be modified based on comfort. We usually see most pitchers either put their thumb directly underneath the ball or just off-center.