Do you know how many different pitches major league baseball players actually throw? The answer is 9! The most common one is the fast ball, but there are 2 of those. The four-seam and the two-seam. There is a regular change-up and a three-finger circle change-up. To this list add the straight curve ball. Try to explain this term to your young son who is just learning to pitch. How can you throw a ball straight and curve at the same time?
Some pitchers use a palm ball as their change-up. In this pitch, you place the ball way back in the hand so that it comes out slower than the normal pitch. Experts say that to be effective a change-up needs to be at least 10 mph slower than your fast ball. This is not the end of the curve balls yet. Today pitchers throw a knuckle curve. I suppose we could add a tenth pitch to our list if we used a regular knuckle ball; however, no one at this time (accept possibly R. A. Dickey of Toronto) throws this pitch.
The final two pitches are the slider and a split-finger pitch which is usually another type of fast ball. This pitch, however, goes straight down about the time it reaches home plate. Experts again say that a major league pitcher needs to throw at least 3 of these pitches to be effective, unless you are Aroldis Chapman.