Fastballs are the most common type of pitch in baseball. They are the fastest and straightest type of pitch that a pitcher could throw, ranging in speed from between 85 to over 100 mph. Pitchers are often labeled as “power pitchers” when they are able to throw fastballs in the range of the high-90s to 10 mph.
What is the Goal of Throwing a Fastball?
The goal of throwing a fastball is to make it so that the ball travels faster than the batter is able to square up their bat to make effective contact with it. In order to throw a fastball, the pitcher puts a backspin on the baseball as they release it from their hand. In doing so, they apply a physical phenomenon known as the ‘Magnus effect’ to the ball, causing an upward force on the baseball to make it fall more slowly than the batter expects it to. This makes it challenging for the batter to make good contact between the bat and the ball.
What Type of Fastball Pitches Are There?
There are several different types of fastball that a pitcher can throw that alter the pitch’s effect in different ways, achieved by the pitcher adjusting the position of their grip on the ball. Four-seam fastballs have little movement and are often used by pitchers in an attempt to earn a strike. Two-seam fastballs are also known as sinkers, as they have a downward movement that makes them more challenging to hit. Cut fastballs also have a slight movement as they reach the plate which can be used to deceive batters at the last moment.