Big Curve vs. Hard Curve?

Which of these two pitches, the bigger “Uncle Charlie” type curveball, or the harder “Yellow Hammer” type curveball is generally more effective? Easier on the arm to throw? Easier to learn/throw for strikes? And which one would be better for specific repetoires (ex. which is better for a finesse guy or a power pitcher)?

I understand that both pitches can be extremely effective when thrown by people who have mastered them, Barry Zito for example has made a career throwing his shoulders to knees 12-6. But on the other hand Felix Hernandez made my Redsox look stupid last week throwing an 85mph hammer.

I’m asking because I’m trying to build a curve that I can use throughout my highschool career, and I’m aiming for the “yellow hammer” type.

In my experience unless you’re throwing straight heat, the hammer style is actually more effective. Because the hitter is trying for his life to get around on your fastball, he’s able to read the uncle charlie curveball and still get a blooper out of it.
They will often not even pick up the hard curveball until it’s to late.

I’ve also found a hanging hard curveball is damaged much less than a slow one for me.

I think the hard curveball is just more effective in HS.
Last year I threw some great curves, fooled the hitter but too often he was able to drag his bat and get a blooper over my not so quick infielders.
If the hard curveball is not picked up right away the most they seem to get is a grounder to the shortstop.

Don’t get me wrong, if you hang it, it will fly a long ways no matter what speed, it just seems the hard curve is less susceptible to giving up weak hits.

I agree with Centerfield. I like the hard-thrown curve. It has better deception because it starts off looking more like a fastball because it’s thrown with the same arm speed and because its trajectory is closer to that of the fastball.

The hard-thrown curve also breaks later and I think that makes it more difficult to hit.

yep hard curve is my favorite you throw it with a fastball motion and it sinks towards the end always my effective pitch

I like a big Uncle Charlie because it can be harder to hit and I think it is easier on the arm due to the lower velocity and stress.

Also, ask Brad Lidge about the danger of throwing a flat slider/hard curve.

I think a hung Uncle Charlie is still harder to hit than a flat slider (which ends up being just a slow fastball).

Of course, I watched the game where King Felix went up against Dice-K and Felix’s hard curve was nasty. However, not everyone can throw that pitch that well (or possibly for long due to the stress on the elbow).

I like a big Uncle Charlie because it can be harder to hit and I think it is easier on the arm due to the lower velocity and stress.

Also, ask Brad Lidge about the danger of throwing a flat slider/hard curve.

I think a hung Uncle Charlie is still harder to hit than a flat slider (which ends up being just a slow fastball).

Of course, I watched the game where King Felix went up against Dice-K and Felix’s hard curve was nasty. However, not everyone can throw that pitch that well (or possibly for long due to the stress on the elbow).
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True about Lidge but most of us don’t have to face Albert Pujols on a regular basis. I’ll take his slider any day lol

I have both, a power curve and a 12-6 curve, my 12-6 is way more effective.

I’ve got a really sharp breaking hard-curve /slider. It’s nasty. The only problem is, NO ONE swings at it. They take it for a ball in the dirt every single time.

What’s been working for me is a slow, big breaker that I start at the hitters shoulder.

Depens on what type of pitcher you are. If you are bringing high heat then you want the contrast of a large slower curve. If you are a breaking ball pitcher you probably want both!, Ian

Either pitch has it’s purpose, it’s all about how and where it’s used in the sequencing of pitches. And for my money, there is no pitch more hittable than a flat slider…you speed up the bat AND keep the ball on 1 plane , dangerous combination.

the big-- curveball is extremely effective for any kind of pitchers if not thrown too often. maybe 10 times a game to get ahead on the hitter or to surprise him once in a while. tom glavine has a pretty decent slowish curveball and usually hitters don’t even take the bat off the shoulder since it’s surprising. they probably know it’s not going to be a fastball but it’s so rare from him that they probably just go WTF? a sharp breaking ball is usually thrown by a pitcher with a good fastball even though most people said otherwise. the reason for it is that it has to be thrown pretty hard to be considered a hard curveball. anything else is a curveball in the dirt that breaks too early. hitters want to catch up for the heat too so they might swing away sometimes and they end up swinging over the top.

I don’t throw heat, but I throw high 70"s low 80’s and I think the bigger breaking slower curveball is more effective the better you can mask it. Just my opinion, I think you can do equally good with both though even though the harder curve is definatly harder on your arm.

i have both curves also and i have found that the bigger slower curve is better as a back door pitch to lefties or a “brush back” type of pitch to righties. i throw the harder sharper one to both, but thats more of groundout type pitch for me. the bigger one usually freezes the batter more. Do not leave the big curve up in the zone and over the plate though, that’s trouble waiting to happen.

I agree with you, going back way too many years ago, I always used the Big slow curve after the high tight fastball. I aimed right at the guys ear flap.The ball dropped over the plate for a strike. That was a called strike.

The hard curve was thrown belt high and was for a swining strike out or a ground ball. Later I threw the slider low and away for this purpose. I refined my curve to be as big and sharp and LATE BREAKING as possible.

Later, I liked the slider (instead of the hard curve) better because I did not have to use what Ted Williams called the 500 zone as my aiming point (belt high,over the middle of the plate for me). I kept the slower bigger curve. I hope that makes sense, Ian.

yeah its a good idea to keep your arsenal of pitches versatile, since there are so many different situations u could come up against in a baseball game. so basically depending on the hitter and situation i’d use the curve that fits the hitter and situation. but like i said if u can throw both consistently, then throw the one needed.

Well, I raised my arm angle drastically a few days ago to be able to throw on a more vertical plane towards the plate, and the slower curveball I had been throwing became a hard, tight 12-6 curveball that I could throw for strikes at will, or start at the hitters waist and bounce in the dirt. It was extremely effective for me, and needless to say I will be staying at that higher arm angle.

when i miss it’s usually where my fingers are that means throwing with a high armslot makes me leave the ball up. i throw low sidearm and i usually miss inside on lefties (i’m a lefty) i’d rater hit a guy than give him a straight fastball up.

Depends.

One of the most important things you’ll find later is how it comes out of your hand. Can you pick it up? As a hitter, I always found it much more difficult to pick up the hard breaking ball from the hard thrower as compared to the slower rounder breaking ball from the harder thrower. Generally a pitcher will have to slow his arm down to throw this pitch, which means, hey we can sit on this pitch.

And, if you’re arms slow for your fastball and curveball, well then you’re just in trouble against good hitters.

it depends if you are a hard thrower or like a low velocity guy. A Hammer is more useful if you throw with good velocity since guys will be gearing up for your fastball and will be fooled on it. However a big curveball can be more effective if you are like a crafty low velocity guy. A good example would be between like Beckett and Moyer. Becketts curve is sharp and fits him since he has good arm speed and gets sharp downward break while moyer throws not as hard and has a bigger curve. Overall stick with the same arm speed as your fastball and it should just come however you throw it.

I used to throw both types of curve ball when I pitched, many moons ago. I think it all has to do with the kind of batter you’re facing and how you want to set him up for a strikeout. I seem to remember that my sharp-breaking curve was closer to a slider, which I also threw with a sharp break, and I would sometimes alternate them. Being a sidearmer, I found that easier to handle—my big slow curve was definitely NOT a 12-6, but closer to a 10-4 or even a 9-3—however, the batters still couldn’t do much with it except foul it off. So you go with what’s comfortable for you.