A sinker is a 2-seam fastball


Animation of a typical fastball (speed in mph)

Fastball (or heat or heater) is the fastest way to throw a baseball. A "normal" major league fastball is around 90 mph (miles per hour, 145 km / h). 95 mph (153 km / h) is considered very good, with few reaching the 100 mph mark (triple digits, 161 km / h). In fastball, you grasp the baseball with your index and middle fingers, and with both fingertips on the long side of the seam of the ball, and let the ball roll over these fingers when you throw it. The resulting backward twist (backspin) ensures that there is overpressure under the ball (the so-called Magnus effect), because the seams under the ball run in the direction of flight. If the ball is thrown quickly with a lot of rotation, the impression is that the ball is rising (rising fastball). Hitters sometimes describe extremely fast balls as exploding fastballs or as screaming fastballs, due to the buzzing of the seams in the flying wind and the bang when the ball lands in the catcher's glove.

In addition to the speed, which limits the hitter's reaction time, other aspects are important: Control (control or command on the fastball) denotes the ability to place the fastball, the movement (movement) denotes the deviation from the straight flight direction. A good fastball is essential to the pitcher's strategy. The constant threat of throwing a fastball adds to the dangerousness of other pitches. A good addition is e.g. B. the changeup, a throw that looks just like a fastball to the hitter (deception), but it is about 10-15 mph (16-24 km / h) slower. The hitter swings too early, does not hit him or only hits him weakly. In addition, there is often a drop down and a movement towards the batsman (right-right duel).

The fastest officially measured baseball pitch in a professional game was an Aroldis Chapman fastball at 169.1 km / h (105.1 mph) that he threw on September 24, 2010.[1]


Animation of a cutters (Speed ​​in mph)

There are different variations of fastball:

  • four-seam fastball (short: four-seamer): this is the easiest and fastest kind of fastball. Here you grasp the baseball so that four seams (English: seams) turn against the incoming air wind.
  • two-seam fastball (short: two-seamer): the baseball is gripped in such a way that the seams do not turn against, but in the oncoming air wind, so that when the ball is completely rotated, only the two transverse seams can be seen. The baseball is thrown with the index and middle fingers, and since the middle finger is longer than the index finger, this creates a twisting motion. This spin is (starting from a right-handed pitcher) towards the right-handed batsman and descends. A “two-seamer” is a little slower than a “four-seamer”, but compensates for this with the twist.
  • cut fastball (short: cutter): the cutter is gripped like a fastball, only shifted a little to the left or right (off-center), this also gives the ball a lateral rotation.
  • split-finger fastball (short: splinter): The splinter is grabbed like a fastball and thrown similarly, but the pitcher spreads the index finger and the middle finger to form a "V". As a result, the ball slows down and it receives less rotation, so that it drops sharply downwards - as soon as possible before reaching the strike zone ("it drops off the table"). The desired drop is reinforced by the pitcher snapping the wrist forward just before letting go of the ball.

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ http://m.reds.mlb.com/news/article/15072572

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