I heard my friends talking about a screwball and was wondering if it is a good pitch to learn and at what age?

A screwball is simply a palm-out change-up thrown with a fastball grip instead of a circle or “ok” or “C” grip. From that standpoint, it can be thrown at the same age as a change-up. The pitcher should only pronate to his comfort level.

I heard it was a curveball grip and then you pitch the ball and snap your wrist

The screwball has become rare because it involves an awkward arm motion that is both difficult to master and demanding on the arm, requiring as the ball is released a violent snap of the wrist while the hand is rotated as if turning a doorknob counterclockwise. It is so unnatural a movement that simply emulating the elbow and wrist snap can cause discomfort or pain. Very few major-league pitchers throw a screwball; they often do not learn to throw the pitch until reaching the major leagues due to the incredible wear and stress it puts on the elbow.

That was from Wikipedia. My friends said all you do is snap your wrist

That is why I made a point to say that one should only pronate to his comfort level.

A screwball uses a fastball grip. However, a curveball also uses a fastball grip but is thrown with a supinated hand/wrist. A screwball is thrown with pronation (like a palm-out change-up). Since it is thrown with a fastball grip, I suppose there is a little more snap than the similar change-up thrown with the same hand/wrist angle but using a circle or “Ok” or “C” grip.

OK this is how my friend says he throws it

This is a myth.

The screwball is actually fairly easy on the arm.

Well, wouldnt it be hard on the arm if you try to get the “violent snap” instead of a gentle pronation?


But you don’t have to make a violent snap to get the spin you need. You just have to start pronating early and continue to do so as you release the ball.

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”][quote=“rockiesfan4ever”]

The screwball is actually fairly easy on the arm.[/quote]

Then why don’t most major leaguers throw it. Chris this is an insane quote!

Because it has an undeserved bad reputation as being dangerous and because it is of only limited value for a RHP.

A screwball is of limited value for a RHP because, while it moves down and out to a LH batter, it moves down and in to a RH batter. Down and out is a good place to pitch but, as was pointed out in another thread, down and in can be a dangerous place to pitch (and most batters bat RH).

However, a screwball is a great pitch for a LHP to throw because it will move down and out to RH batters.

This is really laughable. Chris sometimes you amaze me and you keep things interesting. Very, Very, Interesting. :roll:

so good or bad?


I don’t know what baseballbum’s problem is with what I said…

In general I say the screwball is a good pitch, especially if you are a LHP (or a RHP who isn’t afraid to work down and inside).

Mike Marshall threw the screwball for much of his 16-year career and never had any arm problems (and won the Cy Young in 1974).

Im a RHP, but I threw in in a scrimmage and when I threw it it didn’t go down and away it just sunk. It was halarious the batter stepped out and stared at me and I just starting laughing

Here’s what Mike Marshall says about why he developed his screwball…

In 1967, I thought I pitched well. In 37 games, I pitched 59 innings, walked 20, gave up 51 hits, struck out 41 for an 1.98 earned run average. However, Detroit Tiger Field Manager Mayo Smith permitted me to only pitch to right-handed batters. I had a good slider and got right-handed batters out. Unfortunately, left-handed batters hammered my slider. Therefore, during the 1967-1968 off-season, I worked on learning how to throw a screwball.

The key thing to note is that Marshall developed his screwball because LH batters were hammering his slider (because it moved down and in to them). He needed a pitch that would move down and out to LH batters.

I don’t see anything inconsistent with this in what I said.

We all know you are a Mike Marshall disciple. Please try not to push his methods on us. That is why you are already being laughed at on several boards such as HSBBW, Baseball Excellence, ETEAMZ, etc. Your reputation has already made its rounds throughout the Internet.

The latest is your Screwball comment, how fitting. I am sorry but I really do not care what Mike Marshall has to say. By the way we are still waiting on that Video , and not the one with you throwing in the backyard.

The bottomline is that the screwball is tough on the arm.


How many years did you pitch in the major leagues? Marshall pitched for 16.

How many Cy Youngs did you win? Marshall has 1.

What’s your PhD in? Marshall’s is in Exercise Physiology.

Given all that, I’m a little more inclined to believe him than you when he says the screwball is a safe pitch.

You will also never reach your pitching potential following him too.

Just my opinion. :smiley:

So follow if you will and as always,
Good luck!

Can you refer me to any literature or website(s) that that support the above statement? I’m not trying to put you on the spot here. I’m just always trying to learn and if you know of some good support for the above statement, I’d like to read it. Thanks.