What is a good third pitch for a reliever?


Hi, I am a relief pitcher looking to add a new pitch to my arsenal.
I currently have

  1. Slider (Way above average speed)
  2. 4SFB (Average speed)
  3. 2SFB

However, I can’t really control my fastballs very well and their speed is above average, so as a closer what would be a good pitch to replace the two seamer with.
Also, I throw my slider two ways.

  1. with a two seam grip and it is faster than both my fastballs when it is on
  2. Slider with a curveball grip with huge movement

While i work on my fastball, what should I use for my third or possibly fourth pitch.

Keep in mind I am a smaller pitcher.



You have 3 pitches of approximately the same speed. There is this brand new pitch out there, and I believe I heard someone refer to it as a change up, but don’t quote me. :wink:

In all seriousness, you very obviously need something off speed like a change or a curve.


If you have two “plus” pitches, you don’t necessarily need third pitch as a reliever. By plus pitches, I mean you’re throwing really hard with outstanding command and /or nasty movement.

Otherwise, add a change up.


Change up, I agree.
A good change up is a beautiful thing.
Take some time with it. Get comfortable with the grip. Play catch mixing in the change up grip. It takes some time to get comfortable with it, but, it is worth the investment.
Once you get comfortable enough with it I would recommend video yourself throwing the pitch off a mound. Does your arm slow down noticeably? Does your body or motion slow down? A lot of times these things happen without the pitcher knowing it. Because they are thinking “slower speed”, everything slows down. Not only does this make the pitch less effective it can tip the pitch to attentive hitters/coaches. Remember, a change up is a pitch that is supposed to draw swings. It is meant to be thrown for strikes, so, it has to be deceptive enough the hitter sees a meaty fastball center of the plate. Throw a set of pitches, watch the video and adjust. If you are able to gun the pitch as well this helps. Getting a good spread in the pitch speeds, 10 mph or so between the FB and Change up is what you will be looking for. Also, as you advance with the pitch, if you film some from behind you should be able to get a good idea of movement. A change up which is deceptive and a good amount slower than the FB is a very good pitch, add in some late movement and it can be a knock out pitch. I have been fortune enough to be right behind the catcher (not an umpire) while Clayton Kershaw was working a session several years ago. All his pitches were impressive obviously. His curveball gets a lot of attention, but, from down there that change up was something else.
Good luck with it. No matter what changes in baseball somethings stay constant. One of those in my opinion is FB/Change is the best combo in baseball.


I’d also recommend an off-speed pitch: either a change-up or a splitter.