Rising Fast Ball?


#1

Fall ball has started and the boys had a scrimmage last night. I see the purpose of Fall ball is to work on new stuff. During the spring, my son (10U age) lived primarily off the 2-seamer, which I estimate he threw 90-95% of the time. He also has command of the 4-seamer, cutter, slider and knuckle curve.

So, I’m warming him up for his inning of pitching, and he’s better and faster than I’ve ever seen. He’s enjoyed the time away from the game since LL Tournament season. One pitch caught my attention, 'cause I’ve never seen it before. It came in to the strike zone like a 2-seamer, tailed in to the RH side about 4 to 5" and also rose 4". The spin was like a 2-seamer but the velocity was closer to his 4-seamer. I don’t know what to call this pitch. Is it a rising fastball?

The game itself was boring. 13 pitches. 3 strikeouts. Yawn.


#2

I had a similar situation once. I was a snake-jazzer, not much on speed but with a very good arsenal of breaking pitches (and I could change speeds on all of them). One day I was warming up before a game, and I suddenly threw a pitch that was a good bit faster than anything I had done before. This pitch had good movement on it, and it seemed to rise up out of the strike zone—and when I used it in the game, the batters didn’t have any better luck with it than they had with my other stuff.
The next time I saw my pitching coach I told him about it—I called it my “whoops” pitch because I didn’t know what else to call it—and he ran into the Yankee clubhouse (he was one of their starting pitchers), grabbed two gloves and a ball, threw me a glove, got behind a marker representing home plate, and told me to throw that pitch nine or ten times because he was going to time it. I did, and he timed it with a stopwatch, and then he came out to my position and told me, “I have news for you—you have a fast ball!” I was flabbergasted! He said, “Yep, you have a fast ball. It’s a good four-seamer.” And he told me how I could use it effectively. He had timed it at 81 miles and hour, and for a finesse pitcher that is indeed a fast ball. :slight_smile:


#3

I don’t think it’s possible for a baseball thrown with downward or even level plane to rise. Gravity takes over as soon as the ball leaves the hand and any lift from backspin is not enough to overcome the poor aerodynamics of a smooth round ball.

However I’ve noticed similar things with kids that I haven’t caught or seen in a while that have had a “velocity spurt”. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s my eyes and brain playing tricks on me.

As a catcher you get used to a particular pitcher’s velocity and trajectory. When the velocity changes appreciably the trajectory changes as well. I believe that your brain gets used to seeing the ball drop at a certain point and when it doesn’t drop as your eyes and brain expect it looks as though the pitch has a 2nd gear or a little more jump on it.

Sideways movement is a different story as you start getting into arm angle, grip pressures, spin axis, etc.

I think Zita is right on in saying it looks like your son is developing a real fastball. I don’t think most young kids have big enough hands to really grip for maximum spin. It’s likely your son has gotten stronger from the layoff and his hands are starting to fit the baseball better :smiley:


#4

[quote=“JP”]
I think Zita is right on in saying it looks like your son is developing a real fastball. I don’t think most young kids have big enough hands to really grip for maximum spin. It’s likely your son has gotten stronger from the layoff and his hands are starting to fit the baseball better :D[/quote]

He’s 5’-4" and hands are the same size as mine. He grips the ball well.


#5

It is an illusion for us, since we expect the ball to fall and it stays straighter then our preception is that the ball went up. Still very hard to hit though.


#6

its an illusion unless hes a submarine pitcher. its impossible. the ball needs top spin to drop. needs backspin to rise. a lot though. you would have to throw the ball insanely fast.


#7

I don’t care how much back spin you put on a baseball unless you throw it up, its not going to go up.


#8

I’ve heard of studies in the past to determine if it is possible for a fastball to actually rise up. This was spurred on by major league hitters swearing by it. The reality though is that scientists found it to not be possible.

Stu


#9

Your mind really does funny things to us when we expect it to be another way.