I’d say an eephus.
I mean, it’s the most underappreciated pitch that can really mess hitters up. A curveball-like eephus is the best solution. It doesn’t hang flat out and if you just lob it up in the air it will come down in a more horizontal angle than just a lob. Even if you miss your target and get a called ball, you can just throw your fastball after that, and I can assure that despite being an only decent one, hitters will be looking like it’s a 95mph heater, usually fouling or missing.
But the eephus is for gamblers, and if you can’t gamble you better just practice something else. It’s do or die. Everybody knows that if you miss with your eephus or throw it in the wrong situation and the batter gets the best of it, it’s bye bye baseball. Surprise is the key of eephus. If you know how to use it and when, it’s devastating…
But again, the eephus is not thrown many times in a game. Actually the guys who use it at all might throw it few times in a bunch of games. I haven’t seen anybody to include an eephus in their repertoire. But heck, you can be always the first to do so.
Even if you include the eephus I’d recommend to add a fourth pitch. The best I recommend for that? A submarine sinker or slider. I mean, if you want to see the word devastating in action, surprise is the key. And the eephus aside, what describes the word better than these…?:
- Different arm angle
- Different spin on ball
- Different behavior of pitches
- Different body action
Trust my word on this. I think many pitchers don’t experiment and change arm angles because a) they don’t know how to, b) they don’t want to master another arm angle (too lazy in other words) or c) they are afraid coaches might see it as a sign of them playing around without knowing anything.
But in reality, I can guarantee it works. If you throw 49 pitches from 3/4 arm angle, is the batter really going to expect the 50th to be anything besides 3/4? Well, heck no, so there comes the surprise factor.
I’ve seen hitters swinging and missing at a 2-seam fastballs that bounced a feet in front of home plate. I mean, really, totally crappy pitches. How many times that has happened while I pitch from my usual 3/4? Never. But when I’ve suddenly thrown a surprise submarine pitch, I’ve seen hitters do this multiple times, not just once.
When they are starting to realize that my body action is different, I’m already releasing the ball, and when their brains actually realize that something different is happening, they have much less time to react to the actual pitch because 99% of the hitters can’t just block these factors aside… they can’t concentrate of what they should: looking at the ball from the release point, only. While their brains try to think what’s going on, what’s happening, why something has changed (meaning a totally different, unexpected windup/body movement) it’s too late already. Result? Well, either they just never catch up to anything and just take the pitch, no matter what it is, of they swing and miss ugly.
So even if you don’t choose the eephus, I recommend adding a submarine/low sidearm pitch to your repertorie. If you can make it move, even better. I started by just throwing fastballs sub-style, and after some playing around I learned to throw a slider and a splitter-changeup.
I could throw only submarine if I’d wanted, but then the surprise would have to be a 3/4 or over the top pitch. But because most of the pitchers use these arm angles, it’s not really going to work too many times in a game. I prefer adding unorthodox to normal than opposite.
I hope this helps you somehow. If you decide to use my advice and you want to add submarine to your repertoire but you don’t know any pitches and want me to help with grips or so, I can gladly help.
Best luck to your pitching career.