RHP SEAM CHART LHP SEAM CHART
When the catcher throws down the old number one and calls for a fastball there are a few general rules to be aware of when deciding whether to throw a 2 or 4 seam. As you advance in the game your catcher is more likely to have a 2 seam fastball sign and a 4 seam fastball sign but when you are throwing to the Lokator you need to experiment with both fastballs to see what you feel most comfortable with.
As we learned in previous blog posts, the 4 seam fastball is generally a straighter pitch with a 1-2 MPH increase in velocity over the 2 seam. The 2 seam or sinker generally has more movement than the 4 seam. Some pitchers throw all 4 seam fastballs while others throw predominantly 2 seamers, but we believe pitchers should throw both.
Whenever you are trying to elevate the ball in the Red Box (RB) or in an opposite arm side Purpose Zone (7/8) a 4 seam is more likely a better option because you want to keep the ball up. When you are throwing an arm-side Purpose Pitch there are a couple different factors to think about. A 2 seamer could give you more movement and help you get the pitch inside further but you also take the chance on the ball moving too far in and hitting the batter. On the other hand some pitchers feel more confident throwing the straight 4 seamer in there and taking movement out of the equation.
A 2 seam arm-side Freeze Pitch (9/10) is more likely to get inside on the hitter and has a better chance of jamming them, but it could also sink or move more than you expect and cause you to miss the Lokation. An opposite arm-side Freeze pitch should generally be a 4 seam fastball for pitchers who are not yet learning advanced pitches. If a beginner tried to command the 2 seam in the opposite arm-side Freeze Zone the ball would be more likely to move back over the plate and end in the Danger Zone. You have to be very careful with movement of the ball in the Freeze Zones because both of them border the Danger Zone.
When targeting the Go Zone (1/2/3) it is our view that any pitch thrown down the middle of the plate (2 Zone) should have movement and this translates to a 2 seam fastball. If you ask any hitter whether they would rather see a straight fastball down the middle of the plate or one with movement, every hitter would rather see the straight pitch. The general rules say to throw the opposite arm-side Go Zone (1/3) with the 4 seam to keep the ball from moving back over the Danger Zone and throw the arm-side Go Zone (1/3) with the 2 seam to promote movement towards that side of the plate. I personally threw 2 seam fastballs to the 1, 2, and 3 but I was a sinker ball pitcher, figure out what works best for you.
The same general rules apply for the Chase Zones 5 and 6. Most pitchers throw the 4 seam to the opposite arm-side Chase Zone to keep the ball from moving back over the plate and on the outside edge. It is more common to see pitchers throw the 2 seamer to the arm-side Chase Zone because the natural movement of the pitch will take it towards that edge of the plate. The Chase Zone 4 is best suited for the 2 seam fastball because the downward sinking action Under the Go Zone will be a huge weapon in many situations. See the blog post "Benefits of the Ground Ball" for more information.
An easy way to start experimenting is to throw the 4 seam in higher Lokations (7-10) and Red Box to keep the ball up, change the hitter's eye level, and keep from getting more movement than you want. Also keep opposite arm-side fastballs 4 seamers to make sure you can command that side of the plate without getting too much movement back over the plate in the Danger Zone. Use the 2 seamer for the 2 and arm-side Go Zone along with the 4 and arm-side Chase Zone to promote movement towards that side of the plate.
Once you get comfortable with the general rules shown above it is very important that you experiment with both fastballs in all Lokations. We emphasis working on throwing the 2 seamer in Lokations 1-6 and to the arm-side Freeze and Purpose Zones. Most hitters would rather hit a pitch 1-2 MPH faster compared to one with more movement. We will revisit this topic in a later post to describe a few more variations and strategies involving the 2 and 4 seam fastball. See you there.