Best Pitches to Throw in Baseball: Unveiling the Winning Strategies
19 mins read

Best Pitches to Throw in Baseball: Unveiling the Winning Strategies

The Evolution of Pitching Mastery

In the ever-evolving landscape of Major League Baseball, the development and mastery of a diverse pitching arsenal have become essential for those aiming to dominate on the mound. This section delves into the importance of adopting a variety of pitch types and the impact of strategic pitch selection on a pitcher’s career, drawing from the experiences of some of the game’s most revered talents.

Building a Foundation in Youth Baseball

The journey to pitching greatness often begins at a young age, with high school and youth pitchers laying the groundwork for their future careers. The best way to ensure long-term success and less stress on the arm is by focusing on pitch grips and the mechanics of primary pitches. Mastering the changeup grip early on, as demonstrated by pitchers like Joe Ryan, can provide better results by offering a put-away pitch that is both effective and arm-friendly. Ryan Helsley’s development of a mph fastball and mph slider combo since his youth exemplifies how early dedication to enhancing fastball velocity and incorporating offspeed pitches with significant horizontal movement can set up a pitcher for success in the big leagues.

Mastering the Art of the Fastball and Beyond

At the heart of a pitcher’s arsenal is often the fastball, a pitch that can define a player’s career. Gerrit Cole’s fastball, known for its average velocity and precision, stands as a testament to the efficacy of perfecting this primary pitch. Yet, the best fastball isn’t solely about speed; it’s also about how it’s used in conjunction with other pitches to outsmart hitters. Shohei Ohtani, the dual-threat sensation from the Los Angeles Angels, underscores the value of versatility. Ohtani’s repertoire, which not only features a high-velocity fastball but also sliders and offspeed pitches that create a daunting challenge for both left-handed and right-handed hitters, illustrates the strategic depth achieved through mastering multiple categories of pitches.

The Role of Analytics and Strategic Thinking

In recent seasons, the integration of statistical analyses and advanced metrics into baseball has highlighted the run value of different pitch types and their strategic use during plate appearances. Major league pitchers like Jacob deGrom and Kevin Gausman have leveraged this data to refine their pitch selection, focusing on nastiest pitches that yield the highest strikeout rates or the lowest batting averages against. DeGrom’s mix of a high-velocity fastball with a slider that boasts significant vertical movement has made him one of the most formidable pitchers in the league, earning him the NL Cy Young award. Similarly, Gausman’s use of the splitter, a pitch with exceptional horizontal plane deviation, has become his best offering, underscoring the effectiveness of incorporating analytics into pitching strategy.

This nuanced approach to developing a pitching repertoire, grounded in both traditional wisdom and modern analytics, offers aspiring pitchers a blueprint for success. By studying the techniques and strategies of the game’s best, from Mariano Rivera’s cut fastball to Corbin Burnes’ cutter, pitchers can enhance their effectiveness on the mound. The evolution of pitching in Major League Baseball is a dynamic process, where adaptability, strategic acumen, and a deep understanding of one’s own capabilities intersect to produce excellence. As the game continues to change, so too will the methods by which pitchers seek to outduel their opponents, forever pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the art of pitching.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I develop a new pitch?

Developing a new pitch starts with understanding its mechanics and grip. Study professional pitchers who excel with that pitch, noting their grip, arm angle, and release point. Begin experimenting with grips and throwing techniques during practice sessions, focusing initially on comfort and control rather than velocity or movement. Remember, consistency is key, so incorporate the new pitch into your regular throwing routine to refine it gradually.

What are some tips for adjusting grips for different pitches?

Adjusting grips is fundamental in mastering different pitches. For a four-seam fastball, position the middle fingers across the seams for maximum velocity. A two-seam fastball grip, meanwhile, involves aligning the fingers along the seams to induce movement. When gripping a curveball, place your index finger along the ball’s seam and your thumb underneath to create spin. Each pitch may require slight adjustments to find what works best for you, so don’t hesitate to tweak finger placement and pressure until you achieve the desired effect.

For young pitchers aiming to expand their pitching arsenal, where should they start?

Young pitchers should first master the fastball, focusing on location and velocity. It serves as the foundation for a successful pitching career. Once comfortable, incorporating a changeup is a natural next step since it relies on fastball arm action but with different finger placement and grip pressure. This pitch is essential for disrupting timing without adding significant stress to the arm. As confidence grows, exploring breaking balls like curveballs can add depth to a pitcher’s arsenal, provided they’re thrown with proper mechanics to avoid injury. Always prioritize control and consistency over sheer velocity or movement.


Throughout this exploration into the diverse world of pitching, we’ve underscored the innate value of mastering a broad array of pitches—from the four-seam fastball to the intricate curveball—and the strategic deployment of each through calculated pitch sequences. By varying pitch types, speeds, and locations, a pitcher can effectively disrupt a batter’s timing and increase their chances of success. Adjusting grips and approach for different pitches, understanding the strike zone, and continuously refining pitch sequences are paramount for pitchers at any level seeking to elevate their game.
For emerging talents and seasoned professionals alike, the journey to pitching mastery is ongoing. There exists an endless pursuit of perfection within the framework of baseball, a challenge to consistently outthink and outmaneuver the opposition. Whether you’re adjusting the grip on your circle changeup, strategizing the perfect three-pitch strikeout, or simply tossing your first pitch across home plate, remember that every great pitcher started somewhere. Keep honing your skills, expanding your pitching arsenal, and embracing the mental aspects of the game. The mound is a stage for both skill and strategy, and with dedication and practice, you too can master the art of pitching.

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