Some pitchers have better pitches as well as some batters have specific weaknesses pitchers like to target. 2 seam vs 4 seam fastball – These are two very popular pitches used in baseball, but if you arent fimular with the sport you might never of heard these terms. There are a few characteristics of your makeup as a pitcher that can help you determine if you should throw a 4 seam or 2 seam fastball.
Generally, pitchers will have slightly less control with this pitch because of that movement. In order to find this out, I used Baseball Savant’s 4-Seam Fastball Movement Above Average leaderboard and grouped every pitcher’s 2019 vertical and horizontal movement by intervals. For the sake of sample size, I only included pitchers with a minimum of 50 high 4-Seam fastballs to ensure that their swinging strike percentage was not inflated by factors such as facing a batting pitcher.
By looking at an observed vs actual spin axis chart, which compares what the ball should’ve done to what it did, you can see if a pitch experienced seam-shifted wake. To demonstrate this, I’ll look at San Francisco Giants pitcher Tyler Rogers. Shown below in pitching slow pitch softball red is the expected vs actual spin axis of Rogers in 2022 for his four-seam fastball. It is subject to a guess of their finger positioning, and that those freeze-frames are an accurate representation of Hader and Sale’s entire season’s worth of pitches.
In this article, the writer has and will be using the terms interchangeably. But out in the world of pitching, there will be some who will say the 2 seamer and the sinker are different. Due to slightly alternating grips, arm slots and wrist angles; there will be pitchers who find that they get more drop on this pitch than others.
Let’s start with a fact – all types of fastballs enter the zone at certain angles. These angles can be determined by Vertical Approach Angle, or a combination metric that considers release speed, pitch height, and release point. The calculation is linked here for those that are interested, but in summation – the higher the measure, the more difficult that a fastball should be to hit.
Not sure why this went unanswered, or if you’ll ever see the response, but here’s a free amateur response anyway. As I understand it, a “riser” is a bit of a misnomer, but it refers to a fastball. The better the rotation on a fastball, the more “lift” it has on it to counter gravity. However gravity still prevails, so the ball does not, in fact, ever actually gain altitude.
Also, a 2 seam may be the fastball of choice for pitchers with low and ¾ arm slots. 4 seams require pitchers to get on top of the ball to maximize the spin. It is really hard for pitchers with lower arm slots to get on top of the baseball to create that backspin. A modified version of straight fastball pitch is a 2 seam fastball. The velocity of this pitch is pretty fast and this ball has a late-breaking action due to variable pressure applied on the ball by index and middle fingers. This creates the unique movement that clearly separates the 2 seamer and sinker from the 4 seam fastball.
Generally, a hitter will expect a fastball to follow a certain path from the hand, making room for a pitcher to succeed or fail based on their pitch’s differentiation from the batter’s expectation. Easier pitches to hit will follow an expected fastball path – not sinking, rising, or breaking much above the average. The hardest pitches to hit deviate from that path – rising, sinking, and horizontally breaking at a rate that is much different than the average pitch. Pictured below is a graph of the 4-Seam pitch movement versus the average, explaining which pitches are deadly and which are not.