Baseball Pitches

July 2, 2014
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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.

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