If you’re a baseball player or interested in it, you might know that there are 4 seam and 2 seam fastball pitches that get their names from the pitching style and rotation of the ball. These fastballs differ from curveballs and other styles, so let’s learn how they compare against each other.
Generally, four-seam fastballs are easier to throw, faster, and have a straighter trajectory, whereas two-seam fastballs that are slower with more movement. In addition, four-seam fastballs reveal four seams in each rotation, whereas two-seam fastballs reveal only two.
So, both fastballs get their names from how many seams each rotation will reveal. Next, let’s take a closer look at the differences between 4 seam and 2 seam balls, so you can understand the situations when they might be used.
Difference Between 4 Seam and 2 Seam Fastball
There are many differences between four-seam and two-seam fastballs that make a real difference in how they will work. These are movement, speed, and grip. Learn more about each below.
Speed is naturally a very important part of pitching, if not the most important. You might think that the more seams visible in a fastball’s rotation, the more the ball will move; however, it isn’t so. The rotation motion in four-seam fastballs is quite straight, and the ball won’t have much spin.
The idea of four-seam fastballs is speed, and it isn’t thrown to trick the batter. When the ball’s movement is straightforward, it will also be faster, which four-seam fastballs are.
In addition, four-seam fastballs are often thrown with backspin, which further increases the speed. According to a study made by lokatorpitchingacademy, a four-seam fastball is generally 2mph (3.2kph) faster than a two-seam fastball. This might not seem much, but every mph at high speed counts!
As said, the movement of four-seam fastballs is straightforward without much spin, but it’s the opposite with two-seam fastballs.
Two-seam fastballs will be gripped and thrown so that they will gain more rotation than four-seamers. The movement comes on the ball by applying slight pressure with the fingers located on the inner or outer part of the seam. This pressure will cause the ball to rotate more, tricking the batter.
If you are a right-handed pitcher like most people, a two-seam fastball will rotate to the left, and as a leftie, the fastball will rotate to the right.
For this reason, a right pitcher can gain a significant advantage over a left-handed batter and a right-handed pitcher over a left-handed batter. However, a successful two-seam fastball is effective nonetheless.
The way you grip the ball will vary between four-seam and two-seam fastballs, as the movement comes from it. Let’s take a closer look at how to grip both fastballs.
- How to grip a 4 seam fastball
- Place your index and middle fingertips directly over the corresponding ball seams.
- Place your thumb in the middle and below the ball. The thumb shouldn’t be touching any part of a seam.
- Hold the ball securely but not tightly.
- Throw the ball with great speed and boost it by adding a backspin.
- How to grip a 2 seam fastball
- Hold the so that the seam looks like a horseshoe from the perspective of a person opposite you.
- Place your middle and index fingers on the two narrow seams.
- Place your thumb under the ball so the inner thumb rests at the base near the seam.
- Throw the ball you would a four-seam fastball.
You should succeed very well when throwing 4 seam and 2 seam fastballs with these tips. Now, let’s take a closer look at when you should use both of them.
For you visual learners out there, check out the great video below to see how it’s done!
Should You Throw a Two Seam of Four Seam Ball?
Now that you are aware of the differences between two and four-seam throws, you need to decide which one is the right for you. So, which one should you use?
You should throw a four-seam fastball when you need speed and accuracy on the pitch and when behind the count, and a strike can’t be lost. Two-seam fastballs should be thrown when ahead of the count and to trick the batter with unpredictable movement.
You should know that four-seam fastballs are easier to throw, which is why they are mostly used, especially when in a difficult situation. Two-seam baseballs can be very valuable because the batter might not notice the ball’s movement in time, which is why the bat won’t be good. However, two-seam fastballs are harder to succeed.
If you’re a beginner or aren’t familiar with the seam pitches, you should learn four-seam fastball first as it’s overall more important. Only then should you learn the two-seam fastball to give you more room to work with when the time is right.
I should add is that two-seam fastballs are the most effective when you are a right-handed pitcher throwing for a left-handed batter and vice versa. In these situations, the movement of the two-seamers will work on the pitcher’s behalf better.
My Favorite Baseball Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you can find my favorite baseball bat, baseballs, and a glove that I think will take your game to the next level!
- Bat: My favorite baseball bat is the Easton Project 3 Fuze. This bat has a composite end cap, reduced post-impact vibrations, balanced swing weight for the fastest swing speed, and a carbon core that makes this bat perform very well! As I’m not a professional baseball player, I like to use alloy bats as you can swing faster and hit further.
- Baseballs: Rawlings Competition Grade Practice Balls are my choice for something to hit. I love these balls because they fit all levels of play, so regardless of who you are playing with, you can use them. They come in a 6 or 12 balls box, and you can choose between raised or flat seams! I prefer flat seams as the balls tend to fly further!
- Glove: When it comes to the glove, my choice is the Rawlings Sandlot Glove. This glove is available for both lefties and righties. The same glove is also available for infielders, outfielders, pitchers, catchers, and 1B mitt. This glove has a nice vintage look, and it’s made from oiled leather. It has palm pads that protect your hand from impact, and it is pre-broken-in, so you are good to go as soon as you have it! A glove I’m proud to recommend.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.