Topic: 2-seam vs 4-seam fastball

jusdad    -- 07-01-2009 @ 1:07 PM
  a question regarding youth baseball pitching.

my son just started throwing a 2-seam fastball in games. i asked that he only throw the pitch on 0-0 & 3-2 counts to keep the batters off balance ... everything else is 4-seam with an occasional change-up. at practice the other day his coach told him not to throw the 2-seam anymore because the batters can see the ball better. i have read the seams make different patterns depending on the pitch but did not think youth players had the ability to detect the difference.

is there another reason a coach would not want a pitcher to throw a 2-seam fastball if control is not an issue? i didn't want to tell the coach my son has been throwing the 2-seam for the past month.

MikeB    -- 07-01-2009 @ 2:49 PM
I have not heard that a 2-seamer is easier for the batter to see.  I just know that the 2 seam fastball can give a pitcher more sink than the four seam.  And is generally thrown the majority of the time.

This is what I have learned and teach my pitchers as a general rule.  
1. 4 seam fastball RH pitcher throw to the left side of the plate (outside to a RH batter, inside to a LH batter)
2. 4 seam fastball LH pitcher throw to the right side of the plate (outside to a LH batter, inside to RH batter.
3. 2 seam fastball RH pitcher throw to the right side of the plate (inside to RH batter, outside to LH batter)
4. 2 seam fastball LH pitcher throw to left side of plate (inside to LH batter, outside to RH batter.

The typical 2 seam FB sinks and has more movement.  So you would want to throw this lower in the zone. The 4 seam FB stays straighter when thrown low in the zone or can rise or hop when thrown up in the zone.

I guess when they say a pitcher needs to develop fastball command it means a lot more than just throwing it down the middle.

Pitch_64    -- 07-01-2009 @ 6:50 PM
  That doesn't sound right. My coach (who is an ex big league catcher, he knows what he is doing) has us throw 2-seam fastballs to the arm side of the plate and 4-seam fastballs to the glove side. If you could read a 2-seamer vs a 4-seamer, that would have given away pitch location for me, but I somehow ended up with a 1.74 ERA. Plus if it really moves and it located well it doesn't matter in LL.

I was wondering about your coaches logic. Why is sticking with just one pitch better than having two pitches, which makes him harder to sit on? Even if it is a sort of readable?

"It's a great day for a ball game; let's play two!"
-Ernie Banks

coachcoppock    -- 07-02-2009 @ 11:18 AM
  That's a new one on me....I guess Halladay, Lester, Lowe, Santana, Lincecum and the like have been doing it all wrong....

I'm not sure about seeing the ball 'better', but the ball does look different.  Higher levels of competition talk about pitch recognition which tries to identify the arm action of the pitcher and/or the spin of the ball to anticipate movement on the pitch.  (fastball, changeup, curveball, slider, etc.)

The 4-seam fastball tends to look darker in color became of the four seams doing it's 'barrel roll' type of spin.  The tighter the spin on the pitch, the darker the ball looks, and the easier the ball cuts through the air giving it that 'jump' or the apparent 'rise'.

The 2-seam fastball looks whiter because you see more of the white 'face' of the ball because of its rotation.  But it's that 'imbalance' of surface area on the ball that adds to the tilt or sink on the pitch.

Usually when people talk about a pitcher has to mix up his pitches they think about more sliders, curveballs, etc....but its important to remember that a fastball away and a fastball in are still TWO DIFFERENT PITCHES.  Moving up or down in the zone also changes the hitters eye level so those are DIFFERENT PITCHES even though they're both fastballs.

The fastball is the first pitch learned, and with sound mechanics usually is the one the pitcher has more confidence and command.  Nothing significantly has to change for the pitcher between 2 or 4 seamers.

Fastball command in my opinion means the ability to stay AWAY from the middle of the plate.

If your son is able to throw both types of fastball to both sides of the plate, he'll have more than his share of success.  Good luck to you both.

jusdad    -- 07-02-2009 @ 2:13 PM
  after reading some of the feedback i'm guessing something was lost in the translation between the coach and my son. hard to believe youth batters will have pitch recognition at this age. did he want my son to avoid the 2-seam because of control & speed issues? it sounds as if the 2 biggest weapons a youth pitcher can have are location & control.

for a rh pitcher throwing to a rh batter a few good guidelines are;
1. 2-seam to inside corner of the plate
2. 4-seam to outside corner of the plate
3. as control improves avoid the middle of the plate


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