off speed pitch
What Is The Definition Of Off-Speed Pitch In Baseball?
1. An off-speed pitch is a term used in baseball to describe any pitch that is significantly slower than a fastball. The most common off-speed pitches are breaking balls and change-ups.
What Is The Purpose Of An Off-Speed Pitch?
The purpose of off-speed pitches is to keep the batter guessing at the plate and to not get too comfortable with the fastball. A pitcher who has good off-speed pitches will have a much more effective fastball, especially if their off-speed pitch varies greatly in velocity to their fastball.
All pitchers aspire to retire a batter through a strike out or drawing an out. Mixing up pitches is a way to throw batters off and confuse them. Off-speed pitches fall under the category of pitches that are designed to confuse a batter’s timing and keep a hitter honest. However, some batters have become adept at being able to read the ball and make contact, even as they are moving horizontally or vertically toward the plate.
Most pitchers have at least one off-speed pitch they include in their arsenal.
How Is An Off-Speed Pitch Thrown?
Like all pitches, mechanics are key. Off-speed pitches require a combination of finger placement and mechanics. For the off-speed variety, pitchers will arrange their fingers with the seams of the baseball and use a specific wrist motion to gain the desired velocity, spin, trajectory, and arc of the ball.
How Many Types Of Off-Speed Pitches Are There?
There are three common types of off-speed pitches:
- Curveball: A popular off-speed pitch, the curveball has a downward break and makes hitting difficult because of the movement of this pitch. Combined with the reduced velocity, the ball maintains forward spin before diving down on the plate.
- Changeup: This is one of the most common off-speed pitches and is a good transition for pitchers to reduce velocity from a fastball. It has a similar trajectory to a fastball, which can be deceptive for a hitter and tough to recognize since they expect speed.
- Slider: This pitch trails down and across a strike zone and is designed to get a hitter to chase off the plate.
What’s The History Of The Off-Speed Pitch?
Of all the off-speed pitches, the curveball is generally recognized as the first to be tossed. We can credit Candy Cummings, a Hall of Famer, albeit one with a relatively short career and 145 career wins. In 1863 while at the beach with friends, he noticed he could impart a unique spin on flat, circular shells. He began experimenting with the mechanics using a baseball to see if it could curve and move the same way. He learned that it could, and soon the dominant pitch was part of his repertoire where it struck out stronger, bigger, and more powerful batters. For an amateur team called the Brooklyn Stars, he posted an almost unthinkable 37-2 record as a starter.
Example Of How Off-Speed Pitch Is Used In Commentary
1. Kershaw has been freezing batters at the plate all night, as his off-speed pitches have been especially effective.
2. And there’s Yu Darvish with that slow hook, a 63-miler that paints the outside corner, an off-speed pitch that earns him his seventh strikeout of the evening.
Sport The Term Is Used