Nolan Ryan, one of the greatest baseball players, delivered pitches that were a whopping 100 mph in speed. Pitches mark the way in which the ball is thrown toward the home plate which marks the start of a game. Ryan's pitching was labeled by the media as the 'Ryan Express' because of the incredible speed he could generate in his pitches. He had mastered all the weapons required for pitching different baseball pitches.
There are many ways of pitching a baseball and in this following SportsAspire article, we will give you more information about the same. Continue reading for more details.
Fastball is a significant and common weapon in the arsenal of a pitcher. In this, the pitch is thrown at a very high speed. However, the pitcher has to also maintain a good control over the direction, as it has to come straight at the batter. There are several variations like the two-seam fastball, split-finger fastball, four seam fastball, and cutter and sinker in fastball, which are very commonly used by pitchers. Nolan Ryan, as mentioned earlier, was a master of this type of a pitch. This pitch is pure speed and there's nothing else to prevent the ball from being hit by the batter.
The 'breaking ball' is not aimed straight at the batter and is not supposed to be as fast as the fastball. A breaking ball has a sideways or downwards motion to it. These balls can deceive the batter if they are delivered accurately, this is because they change their direction and may even hit the ground before reaching the home plate. Curveballs, sliders, knuckle curve, and screwball are a few variations of the breaking ball. A pitcher who uses breaking balls during his pitching is called a junkballer.
Change up is yet another pitching style in baseball. It could be any pitch that is slower in pace than the fastball. It has a similar arm action as that of a fastball, but is delivered at a slower velocity because the ball is held in a special grip. Due to its resemblance to the arm action of a fastball, the change up can confuse the batter. A few types of change up pitches, are namely the straight change, palmball, and circle changeup.
When a pitch is erratic and unpredictable, it is called a knuckleball. It is thrown in such a way that it reduces the spin on the ball while it is in the air. The way this ball is thrown creates vortices over the seams of the ball in the course of its trajectory. This causes the pitch to change directions while it is in the air. This is sometimes difficult even for the pitchers to control. It is a challenge for the batters as well as catchers to deal with this ball.
The 'Nothing Ball'―Eephus
Considered as junk in baseball, the eephus pitch is low in speed (55 miles per hour or less). The batter is caught unawares with this delivery from the pitcher. Interestingly, there is a theory that in Hebrew, the word 'eephus' means 'nothing'. A different kind of strange, high arcing trajectory is identified with an eephus pitch. Rather than being akin to a baseball pitch, it seems more like a slow softball pitch.
There are other different types of pitches that include gyroball, spitball, shuuto, knuckleslider etc. as well.
Whether it is the fastball or the eephus pitch, the motive of the pitcher is to hit the target, and if not that, then at least to ensure that the batter is not able to hit the ball for a run. Now we know how Nolan Ryan could weave magic.