My philosophy of breaking ball usage.
If you throw over the top and are a strike out pitcher.
There are at least to me, certain classic suite of pitches depending on your arm slot. If you throw over the top and are overpowering, your pitch selection is four seam fastball, overhand curve, changeup (probably the old Fergie Jenkins classic style).
Why it’s powerful: Everything looks the same. Fastball, curve, change all seem to have the same spin. Blyleven was the best at this; you could not tell whether his pitch was back spinning or over spinning it was a small red blur. What happened in the last few feet was profoundly different though. The ball might rise, drop a couple of FEET, or be thrown at the drastically different speed.
There are a couple of different ideas of how to use the curveball. The classic scenario is to use it as an out pitch. Most are variants of this philosophy are up and in with the fastball followed by a curve low and away. There is also the Don Sutton school of thought of throwing the curveball to set up the fastball. Most of these philosophies are based on getting strike outs, Most of the 4 seam fast-ballers who throw from over the top with sharp dropping overhand curves are strike out pitchers. They will also tend to get a lot of pop up outs if they are good.
Three quarters Sinker/Slider Pitcher.
Why it’s powerful: Less pitches thrown in a game. Keeps the ball in play and on the ground. Every pitch has downward movement.
Suite of pitches: Sinker (sinking fastball), Slider, Change, Curve or Splitter.
There are times when a pitcher wants something other than a strike out; maybe he is looking for a groundball double play. Maybe the pitcher just does not have that overpowering velocity. This is the realm of the sinker/slider pitcher. They want the ball to be contacted, but on their terms. They want the batter to hit the ball on the top of the ball, beat it into the ground for ground outs and double plays. Sometimes batters miss it entirely, and that’s all good, but usually beaten into the ground works just fine. Most of the successful sinker/slider guys throw ¾’s in some variety. Yeah, Randy Johnson gets a lot of strikeouts, but he is physically overpowering. These guys use the sinker for 6-4-3 double plays by running the sinker, in on batters hands, or for 4-6-3 double plays by getting batters to swing at a slider away and tap it to the right side. If you are a sinker/slider guy with a good change-up, you might throw a sinker low and in, slider low and away, and a circle change down and in. The batter will turn on it very quickly, too quickly. If you have not coerced a ground ball out by now, You have the batter set up for high and tight 4 seam fastball, or a front door curve (if you are a 4 pitch pitcher) to get the strike out.
You use the slider to give variety from the down and in pounding of the strike zone with the sinker and circle change.
This is a small part of what try to teach my pitchers. Ian.