All About Baseball

Baseball Pitch

In baseball, a pitch is the act of throwing a baseball toward home plate to start a play. The term comes from the Knickerbocker Rules. Originally, the ball had to be literally "pitched" underhand, as with pitching horseshoes. Overhand throwing was not allowed in baseball until 1884.

Pitchers throw a variety of pitches, each of which has a slightly different velocity, trajectory, movement, and/or arm angle. These variations are introduced to confuse the batter in various ways, and ultimately aid the defensive team in getting the batter or baserunners out.

To obtain variety, and therefore enhance defensive baseball strategy, the pitcher manipulates the grip on the ball at the point of release. Variations in the grip, cause the seams to "catch" the air differently, therefore changing the trajectory of the ball, making it harder for the batter to hit.


  • 1 List of pitches
    • 1.1 Fastballs
    • 1.2 Breaking balls
    • 1.3 Changeups
    • 1.4 Others


List of pitches



The fastball is the most common pitch in baseball, and all pitchers have some form of a fastball in their arsenal. At its simplest, it is a straight pitch thrown very fast. The cut fastball, split-finger fastball and forkball are variations on the fastball with extra movement. The most common fastball type pitches are:

  • four-seam fastball (rising fastball)
  • two-seam fastball
    • cutter
    • splitter
    • sinker
  • forkball

Breaking balls

Well-thrown breaking balls have movement—sideways or downward usually. The goal is usually to make the ball difficult to hit well or confusing to batters. Most breaking balls are considered off-speed pitches. The most common breaking pitches are:

  • curveball
    • knuckle curve
    • slurve
  • slider
  • screwball
  • submarine (actually a pitching motion, not a distinct pitch type)


The changeup is the staple off-speed pitch, usually thrown to look like a fastball but arriving much slower to the plate. It is meant to confuse the batter's timing. The most common changeups are:

  • palmball
  • circle change
  • changeup


Other pitches which are or have been used in baseball are:

  • knuckleball
  • Eephus pitch
  • brushback and beanball
  • spitball
  • pitchout
  • intentional ball
  • gyroball
  • Shuuto

See also: Wild pitch

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