Four-seam fastball – Maximum velocity and should have best command. This is the most important pitch because everything else works off of it.Two-seam fastball (a.k.a. sinker) – This fastball does just that, it sinks. A very good pitch for inducing ground balls.

Cut-fastball – Holding the ball slightly off center, it will run away from the arm side. Usually a few mph slower than a four-seam fastball. Good for jamming hitters.

Split-finger fastball – Strictly an out pitch. Dives down hard at home plate, many times getting missed swings.

Change-up – Slower than a fastball, but thrown with the same arm action. The arm speed is very important in getting the maximum effectiveness. This pitch helps control bat speed.

Curveball – Most often a strikeout pitch. Dives down as it gets to home plate. Many times the velocity is as effective as the movement, because it’s usually much slower than a fastball.

Slider – In between a fastball and a curveball. It’s harder than a curveball with less downward action. The slider has a smaller break with a tighter spin. Many times you can see a small dot in the baseball as it’s coming toward you.

Knuckleball – A pitch that has very little or no spin. It’s very difficult to control and catch. No one knows what it will do usually, which makes it also hard to hit. A very hard pitch to throw.

Split Finger Fastball or Forkball – Thrown hard while held between the index and middle fingers at varying depths. Usually tumbles and drops violently, often diagonally. Known as an out pitch, but also can be hard on the arm.


Chris CumberlandChris Cumberland has been a professional pitcher in the Yankees, Red Sox, Braves, Blue Jays and Padres organizations since 1993. In 2004 he has been invited to Spring Training with the Kansas City Royals, where his father is the Major League pitching coach.Chris is also the pitching instructor for Atlanta-based Visual Sports Imaging, where he uses VSI’s Pro Motion Computerized Video Analysis to ensure maximum pitching effectiveness and safety. Chris can be reached for pitching lessons, clinics & schools by contacting him or calling 770-642-2338.