Designing a 2-Seam Fastball
A 2-seam fastball has a lot of similarities to a 4-seam fastball, except we are looking for more horizontal movement than vertical movement and sometimes even sink (below average vertical movement). As you can see on our handy chart, the red 2-seam dot has on average an added 5 inches of run, but loses around 3 inches of carry.
Depending on how you want to use your 2-seam, you may benefit from having a velocity drop, but a 2-seam at the same speed as your 4-seam can be extremely effective.
Some players find success with different grips on a 2-seam. I have seen three variations on the spacing of your pointer and middle finger: the regular grip with your two fingers along the seams, the same grip but those two fingers close together between the seams, and a cross grip with your fingers across the seams.
Spin Axis Goals:
An effective 2-seam can be in the range of 1:30 to 4:00. Depending on your arm angle, you may need to hold the ball differently than other players to generate the ideal spin axis.
Spin Efficiency Goals:
Just like a 4-seam, we want the highest spin efficiency as possible. To reiterate, a fastball with 100% spin efficiency will help you achieve maximum velocity and overall movement.
We want our 2-seam to have more horizontal movement than vertical movement. Below are two players who have consistent efficiency helping them achieve great control over their pitches.
Bartolo Colon and Blake Treinen have some of the best 2-seamers in baseball. They both have very similar movement, a LOT of arm side run with some late sink. They are able to generate their high horizontal movement because of their high spin efficiency and 2:00 - 4:00 tilt. Treinen classifies his pitch as a sinker, and as you can see his vertical movement is much more noticeable than Bartolos even though he only averages 0.5in more sink. The sink from Treinen is due to his increased spin rate, higher tilt, and increased velocity.
Next week we will discuss one of my all time favorite pitches...a Cutter! Stay tuned!