Types of Baseball Pitches

Nolan Ryan, one of the greatest baseball players, delivered pitches that were a whopping 100 mph in speed. Pitches mark the way in which the ball is thrown toward the home plate which marks the start of a game. Ryan’s pitching was labeled by the media as the ‘Ryan Express’ because of the incredible speed he could generate in his pitches. He had mastered all the weapons required for pitching different baseball pitches.

There are many ways of pitching a baseball and in this following Buzzle article, we will give you more information about the same. Continue reading for more details.

The Commoner
Fastball is a significant and common weapon in the arsenal of a pitcher. In this, the pitch is thrown at a very high speed. However, the pitcher has to also maintain a good control over the direction, as it has to come straight at the batter. There are several variations like the two-seam fastball, split-finger fastball, four seam fastball, and cutter and sinker in fastball, which are very commonly used by pitchers. Nolan Ryan, as mentioned earlier, was a master of this type of a pitch. This pitch is pure speed and there’s nothing else to prevent the ball from being hit by the batter.

The Deception
The ‘breaking ball’ is not aimed straight at the batter and is not supposed to be as fast as the fastball. A breaking ball has a sideways or downwards motion to it. These balls can deceive the batter if they are delivered accurately, this is because they change their direction and may even hit the ground before reaching the home plate. Curveballs, sliders, knuckle curve, and screwball are a few variations of the breaking ball. A pitcher who uses breaking balls during his pitching is called a junkballer.

‘Speedy’ Change
Change up is yet another pitching style in baseball. It could be any pitch that is slower in pace than the fastball. It has a similar arm action as that of a fastball, but is delivered at a slower velocity because the ball is held in a special grip. Due to its resemblance to the arm action of a fastball, the change up can confuse the batter. A few types of change up pitches, are namely the straight change, palmball, and circle changeup.

Unpredictable―Knuckleball
When a pitch is erratic and unpredictable, it is called a knuckleball. It is thrown in such a way that it reduces the spin on the ball while it is in the air. The way this ball is thrown creates vortices over the seams of the ball in the course of its trajectory. This causes the pitch to change directions while it is in the air. This is sometimes difficult even for the pitchers to control. It is a challenge for the batters as well as catchers to deal with this ball.

The ‘Nothing Ball’―Eephus
Considered as junk in baseball, the eephus pitch is low in speed (55 miles per hour or less). The batter is caught unawares with this delivery from the pitcher. Interestingly, there is a theory that in Hebrew, the word ‘eephus’ means ‘nothing’. A different kind of strange, high arcing trajectory is identified with an eephus pitch. Rather than being akin to a baseball pitch, it seems more like a slow softball pitch.

There are other different types of pitches that include gyroball, spitball, shuuto, knuckleslider etc. as well.

Whether it is the fastball or the eephus pitch, the motive of the pitcher is to hit the target, and if not that, then at least to ensure that the batter is not able to hit the ball for a run. Now we know how Nolan Ryan could weave magic.

Layout of a Baseball Diamond

It is the ‘diamond’ which is most referred to when it comes to a game of baseball. It simply refers to the area on which the game is played. The area of the pitching base and the other accompanying bases are made in such a way that the whole formation looks like a diamond.

The excitement in a baseball game begins with the home plate. It is a pentagon-shaped irregular white rubber. This rubber measures 17 x 8.5 x 12 x 12 x 8.5 inches. The batter’s box is adjacent to the two parallel 8.5-inch sides of the pentagon. One corner of the 90-foot square is the point at which the two 12-inch sides meet at right angles. The other three corners are the three bases when counted counter-clockwise from the home plate. They are the first, second, and third base. Four bases at the corners of the infield are formed by these three bases and the home plate.

First Base
For the batting team to score a run, this is the first base that must be touched. A batter can reach the first base by walking, hitting by pitch, error, dropped third strike, catcher’s interference, umpire’s interference, etc.

Second Base
Commonly called 2B, this is the base which has to be touched by the batting team to score a run. It is touched in succession to the first base by the base runner. It is also known as the keystone sack. A runner on the second base is supposed be in a scoring position, as the chances of the runner reaching the home plate is high.

Third Base
The next in line for the batting team to reach for scoring a run is the third base. The runner on the third base is very important in case 2 batsmen are out.

Home Plate
Reaching this point completes a run. It is designated as the home base. The shape of the home plate is facilitated in such a way that it helps the umpire judge the balls and strikes.

Batter’s Box and Catcher’s Box
The batter’s box is where the batter stands, to receive the pitch from the pitcher. There are two batter’s boxes―for the right handers and the left handers. The catcher is the person standing behind the batter. The place where the catcher stands is the catcher’s plate. He receives the balls from the pitcher in case the ball is left alone by the batter. The catcher sits crouching behind the batter, and wears gloves and a helmet.

Foul Poles
These are the poles which help the umpire determine if a ball which is hit above the fence line is a foul or a home run.

Pitcher’s Mound
This is a low, artificial hill situated roughly in the middle of the main square of the baseball field. The square is on an equal distance to the first and third base. There is a rubber plate on the mound, called the pitcher’s plate. The pitcher stands on the mound while pitching to the batter.

Baseline
It is the straight line between two adjacent bases. However, it is not marked or drawn with chalk or paint.

Outfield
This is the area where the fielders, apart from the basemen, are positioned. It is either made of thick grass or artificial turf. There are right, center, and left field positions for the fielders in the outfield.

For the baseball enthusiasts, this diamond, in all plausibility, is worth more than the actual stone!