The Gyroball

Okay guys. After reading a lot about either it exists or not and all the debates, I found a video on YouTube about it:

So I did some thinking about how to get this kind of spin to the ball. After I had the theory in my mind I decided to try throwing a pitch with this spin when I was warming up. Well, believe or not, I actually threw a gyroball and my catcher confirmed that the spin was like the one you see on the video.
I threw the pitch full speed few times, and mostly, like the video says, it did nothing, but sometimes when I accidentally altered the axis of the movement it actually broke sharply at the end.

So, well, I thought that I’d share with you the grip and how to throw it.
Here’s the baby:

Apply the force to the middle finger and your index finger should either rest next to the middle finger, or alter the grip so your both fingers have the pressure where the middle finger is in the picture… on that exact place on the seam.
You throw it by applying all the force on the side of the ball. That causes this:

The arrow represents the force and where it is applied and the spin it results in.

It did take a while to perfect, meaning to get that actual spin, but either it is a gyroball or not, I threw that pitch in the video and I thought you guys might be interested in testing this yourself too.

thats explains it the best

people are gona say it doesn’t exist because the cant throw it
it takes a while to learn
and is very hard to throw for overhanders

it came easy to me but i still get slider break at times

I actually found it to be easier to get the right spin the higher my arm slot was :slight_smile:

Well, if people want to argue about the existence of the gyroball, go ahead. But lemme say this.
If the pitch explained in the video is the gyroball, I’ve thrown it and I found it relatively easy to do actually.
But wether it’s a somekind of a miracle pitch, I won’t say it is.
The harder you throw it and the more you put spin on it, the better it gets. With an altered axis of spin it can get some nasty late movement and I guess somebody might find this a good add to his arsenal. But it’s definetly not a magical pitch if you ask me…

if you get spiral spin with no mouvement its not a gyroball, it’s a hanging slider that gets crushed 500 feet. people say yeah but you throw it the batter thinks its going to break and it dont, this is rediculous. if batters could read spins so well you wouldnt see guys swinging away pitches that drops down and curve away. understand that if it wasnt for that late mouvement you would see that ball reach the sun. it’s a good pich for you if youre a closer though, if your coach throws you in there in a no close situation throw it youll get crushed until you get to a save situation and then stop throwing it. i think thats the only way you can ever get success off of that pitch.

I believe said pitch exists but I don’t believe it should be given it’s one variety of pitch. I believe it is just a deceptive fastball with an odd spin. A bullet type spin, therefore I believe it should be called a bullet fastball.

Btw: I achieve that kind of spin with a normal fastball grip and a hard supination, kinda like overthrowing a curve.

Well I must disagree a bit on that one.
I think when used properly a non-breaking fastball with a breaking ball spin can actually be as deceptive as said. And by the way, in numerous interviews the developer of the gyroball said that the gyroball shouldn’t break. So a fastball with that kind of spin with no break is the gyroball. The funny part is that I see it as a better pitch when it breaks.

Imagine a slider/fastball pitcher that is trying to get a guy out.
In the worst case scenario the batter keeps fouling everything and the pitcher is up to throw maybe his 7th or 8th pitch in the at-bat, maybe even a 2-2 or 3-2 count.
A developed batter actually reads the spins. There’s a clear difference between between a breaking ball spin (the “red dot”) and a fastball. So when the batter sees a spiral spin instead of a backspin he thinks breaking ball and adjusts his swing according to that.
Let’s say he’s seen 3-4 sliders and has memorized the amount of break and the time when the pitch breaks. So he’s ready to crush either the fastball or the next slider.
If the pitcher has a 85mph fastball, and a 70-75mph slider, there’s also difference in the travel time, which the batter also memorizes. So after seeing so many pitches the batter has the clear advantage to make contact.

But if then the pitcher digs up the gyro and launches it at a 80mph towards the strike zone?
Well, the batter sees spiral spin, he thinks slider. But the velocity is too fast. But it’s also too slow to be a fastball and besides, the spin is definetly of a breaking pitch! What to do?
There’s less than a second between the time the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand and reaches home plate. If you substract the average human reaction time, the time left to analyze all that confusion is near to nothing.
The most probable results?

  1. Batter never figures out what’s going on and with no time to react he just takes the pitch. Strike out.
  2. Batter trusts his previous experience of a spiral-spinning ball and swings where he expects the “slider” to break/drop, swinging harshly under the non-breaking gyro. Strike out.
  3. Batter ignores the spin (very hard to imagine happening) and goes for the fastball velocity, swinging too early and resulting in a groundball/foul/another non-well hit ball.
  4. Batter ignores the spin and the weird velocity change (even harder to imagine happening… almost impossible to a human mind) and actually catches up to the gyro and smacks the living crap out of it.

What I’d put my money for would be a K.
But hell, the gyro can also break and then it can be anything from a K to well, anything…

So I wouldn’t declare a non-breaking gyro a sure 500ft blast. It can be simply poison to the batter just as anything when used at the right time.

Nice post, antonio…

I personally agree with the tenor of 4pie’s remarks.

The gyroball is best thought of as a special case of the slider pitch.

Thrown correctly a true slider’s spin axis is basically directed toward home plate, but not perfectly toward home plate. Thus, even a small angle difference between the slider’s spin axis and a straight line between the pitcher’s hand and home plate is sufficient to impart a meaningful Magnus force to the ball, at a right angle to the spin axis, and make it deflect from its original trajectory.

A true gyroball’s spin axis is directed exactly at the target. Since its spin axis is perfectly aligned with its flight direction, there is no net Magnus force on the gyroball so a ‘true’ gyroball will show no sideways movement. The gyroball will drop a little more than a fastball of equivalent velocity because a FB’s backspin works against the gravitational force. The gyroball will not drop nearly as much as a curveball, and also not as much as a real slider.

So, a gyroball is a real pitch–but it is not “new” in the sense that it had never been thrown before Ryutaro Himeno conceived of it as something that might be good to throw on purpose. In fact, experienced catchers have an older name for the ‘gyroball’…it has been called a ‘back up slider’ because it doesn’t slide. A catcher expecting sideways movement on the slider he just called for must ‘back up’ with his glove if he gets a non-moving gyroball instead.

There is some very detailed analysis of the gyroball, and the hype surrounding it, at U of Illinois physics professor Alan Nathan’s Physics of Baseball website. In addition to some scientific articles there, Alan also has posted a couple of super-slo-mo video clips from Himeno’s laboratory that show exactly what the 2-seam and 4-seam variants of the gyroball do. These are high quality videos taken at 1800 fps with a specially marked baseball–you can see the spin axis for yourself from these excellent clips.

This is all good fun to think about; however, for me the bottom line is: The gyroball is much harder to throw than a slider, because it critically depends on having its spin axis perfectly aligned with home plate. A slider, on the other hand, only depends on having its spin axis ‘close’ to alignment with home plate. There are many degrees of ‘closeness’ that will get you good slider movement but there is only one exact spin axis alignment that gives a gyroball with no lateral movement.

All things considered, I’d rather have a more easily controllable toolbox of pitches: FBs, breaking pitches, change-up (or splitter).

they say that is what pedro marinez threw most of his career and he didn’t know

Well, kelvin, I don’t know who “they” is but I’d have to say “they” have no clear idea of what they’re talking about.

Pedro Martinez is a hard-throwing side-armer with a very lively slider–it is likely that some of his sliders unintentionally became gyroballs but it seems like a very foolish exaggeration to suggest that Martinez has been throwing the gyroball for years without knowing it.

It has been shown with Pitch f/x data that even Matsuzaka, whose name has been very frequently associated with the gyroball, didn’t throw a gyroball more than 5 or 6 times, out of 790 recorded pitches, in 2007.

If you are interested in really thinking about this, rather than just spouting off nonsense, try googling Alan Nathan Physics of Baseball and read some of his stuff–start with “An Analysis of the Gyroball” by Alan Nathan and Dave Baldwin.

idk i read that in an article

matsuzaka doesn’t throw the gyroball

i have read the article from the inventor of the pitch so…
i dont need that
i know all i need 2 know

“i know all i need 2 know”

----Amazing…so you have completely stopped learning and now you’re giving the rest of us the benefit of access to your vast knowledge.


i know all i need to know about the gyroball

read that and it is explained

“i know all i need to know about the gyroball”

—Thanks for the further clarification.

Wow, thats pretty cool when u think about it. An extremely effective pitch made by accident. well, Im gonna practice this throw, since I throw roughly how they showed how he did, cept 4 my extremely weird wind up, and c how it works. Im also guessing that not only can u confuse them wen it breaks out of the strike zone, but u can confuse batters 4 wen it breaks into the strike zone. if a rite hander thinks its coming inside, but comes at him, maybe u can get a left hand to think its coming at him, so he ducks, and it breaks into the strike zone.I’ll c how that works, and show it 2 my pitching coach.

Look everyone, I found the Gyroball!

thats a slider
if you right click
then go to properties(bottom photo)
it says paul byrd slider

it says:

besides wrong arm action

I was just being sarcastic. It’s not a gyroball but it’s pretty darn close. It’s not just a “slider”, though, it’s a “backdoor” slider.

As you can see, it doesn’t have much lateral break and just sort of hangs up there.

Jason Varitek is the “Big Foot” of baseball (none existent). Others say it’s just a glorified screwball. Others say its just a mis-thrown slider. I have no idea what it is. So I’m not gonna say its real or not. I’ve seen this so called “gyroball” but I have no idea.

“…An extremely effective pitch”

Ummm, that’s not necessarily true. And gyroballs may sometimes occur by accident, but that is exactly to the point of coach xv’s point: A pitch that was meant to be a slider, but instead has its spin axis directed right at the target so that it in fact becomes a “gyroball”, will have essentially no lateral movement and less downward break than a typical slider.

If that’s “extremely effective” for you, go for it. However, most pitchers would rather have more movement on their non-fastball pitches, not less movement.

futureKazmir, If you want to look at high quality slo-mo video clips of real gyroballs being thrown by a Japanese pitcher, go to Alan Nathan’s Physics of Baseball web page, click on his link to the gyroball, and you can view (from the catcher’s perspective) a couple of real gyroballs being thrown on video that was recorded at 1800 frames per second. You can clearly see what the gyroball spin axis is on these pitches because they used a “+”-marked ball for the video session. The “+” marking shows that the spin axis of the gyroball is directled exactly at the catcher’s glove throughout the flight of the ball.

However, as interesting as all of this stuff is, I do not advocate the gyroball. Practically speaking, “gyroball” = “hung slider”.

not true

it is meant to go straight with completed sidespin

it might have been discovered this way

two different arm motions

when you are trying to throw a slider you are trying/it is to throw a slider
when you are trying to throw a gyroball you are trying/it is to throw a gyroball
no matter what you get

it not the movement that gets the batter with the gyroball
hitters see the arm action and spin and they think slider or curve
they swing for the break and not the pitch
that is why it is more of a change up
you see fastball and get changeup
you see slider/curve and get gyroball

in that case a two seam fastball is a hung sinker
cutter is a hung slider