How do you throw a 2 seam fastball

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    Reading: How do you throw a 2 seam fastball

    Do you know how to throw a two seam?

    In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about throwing a two-seam fastball that goes beyond “dirty” or “nasty” and usually involves embarrassing the hitter…

    but first, check out this two-seam fastball from pitcher james shields:

    James Shields two-seam fastball

    Image source:

    I love that movement right there as Shields gets Neil Walker with this two-seamer that curls back over the plate for the backwards K.

    The 2-seam pitcher is a pitch much like the 4-seam pitcher but with a different finger placement and function. it is called “two seams” because when it is thrown, the launch only has two seams that cut through the air towards the target. this supposedly makes the ball move more but also a hair slower. I say “supposedly” because some pitchers throw their two closers a couple of miles per hour slower than their two closers, but many throw both pitches with equal force. the index and middle fingers are now positioned in line with the seams with the thumb, again, positioned below.

    To develop a great fastball like James Shields, it’s important to remember this:

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    A 2-seam machine should be cast at or near maximum speed while providing additional movement.

    two-seam fastball grip

    here are some pictures of different two-seam fastball grips…

    Two-seam fastball grip

    Image source:

    Here are a few tips to remember:

    • index and middle fingers go with the seams, thumb under.
    • it’s still a fastball so all the force is applied right through the center of the ball creating spin back with a little extra pressure on the index finger.
    • the ball should enter and possibly come down to the side of the pitcher’s respective throwing arm.

    more images of two-seam fastball catches

    Two-seam fastball grip images

    Image source:

    4 secrets to a great two-seam fastball

    1. place fingers correctly with seams.
    2. press a little more on index finger.
    3. exaggerate pronation on release.
    4. hold a good arm slot; neither too high nor too low.

    For this toss to be effective and work the way it’s supposed to, you need to put a little more pressure on your index finger than your middle finger. It should be noted that the length of the fingers and the overall size of the hand can play a role in how much the ball can be moved, up to a point. by putting more pressure on your index finger, you will naturally cause the ball to move in the direction of the side of the throwing arm at the point of release and then towards home plate, creating the “running” motion.

    The wrist pronates naturally through the release. try to exaggerate the pronation in this pitch and you’ll be more likely to execute it with a big swing.

    Note that the arm slot influences the amount of movement in this field. the further down the arm slot is, the more likely the ball will run.

    steven ellis former professional pitcher

    Of all the baseball pitching holds, fastball holds are the easiest to master and one to be consistent with. This can be a very easy pitch to learn because it doesn’t pitch much differently than the four-seam fastball.

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    Apart from adding a bit of pressure on the index finger, the placement of the fingers is the only real difference between the two. there are no real structural changes in the action of the wrist or hand (although you may eventually try to over-emphasize wrist pronation), so this tone can be taught at the same time a four-seam is taught early on. Remember, baseball throwing holds are very important, so make sure you give them the practice they deserve.

    did you know? for the two-seam machine, the index and middle fingers meet on the narrow area between the two horseshoe-shaped seam outlines. it releases the same way as the four-seam, but the slight difference in hand pronation causes it to rotate off center; where one of four seams rotates from 6 to 12 on a clock face in view of the batter, one of two seams still rotates bottom to top, but it could be 4 to 10. that makes the ball sink to some point, although this is not considered a “break throw” and is thrown at full speed. it is called two-seam because, due to the grip, the batsman only sees one pair of horizontal seams rotate, instead of two. this pitch is a bit harder to spot than the four-seam, but still throws with good control.

    my favorite gifs of throwing a two-seam fastball

    put it all together, and it looks like this…

    here’s a masahiro tanaka double stitch that freezes former yankee robinson cano in the inside corner:

    Masahiro Tanaka two-seam fastball

    Image source:

    And check out another great two-seam fastball from pitcher James Shields:

    James Shields two-seam fastball

    Image source:

    I absolutely love the movement on these pitches!

    read this next: pitching grips (cheat sheet): how to throw 8 different baseball pitches

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