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  • Seams on the ball for break

    Do rotating 4 seams into the wind or 2 seams into the wind give more break on the ball? I was under the impression that the smoother surface, 2 seams give more break. Now, Im not talking about fastball or anything else. If all things are equal speed, rotation.....
    Last edited by LAball; 03-03-2012, 02:57 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by LAball View Post
    Do rotating 4 seams into the wind or 2 seams into the wind give more break on the ball? I was under the impression that the smoother surface, 2 seams give more break. Now, Im not talking about fastball or anything else. If all things are equal speed, rotation.....
    more seams=more break force because more air is moved away.

    A two seamer sinks because the seams create less upward force which results in a more gravity controlled (ballistic) flight path.

    similarly a curveball with more seams will break more because more seams create more downward force.
    I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

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    • #3
      Good question... Specifically NOT asking about a four seamer and a two seam fastball. Dominik has it right...

      More seams perpendicular to the flight of the ball generally means more break. This is why most curveballs are thrown in such a way that the progression of seam rotation is similar to a four seam fastball (only the rotation has he ball spinning FORWARD, towards the batter). Seam 1, then 2, then 3 and 4 spinning very fast... Almost "grabbing" at the air flowing around the ball and causing that curve to dive down as it approaches the plate.

      I'm no physicist, but if you threw the same pitch with the same rotation speed, but the seams presenting themselves at the front of the rotation included all the smooth space normally presented by a two seam fastball orientation, this new "two seam" curveball would not break as much as the first one I described.

      Another factor... seams on MLB and AAA game balls are NOT very high. The few that I have (caught at games, not "official" balls bought at sporting goods stores) amaze me when holding them. Not very high at all when compared to college balls, high school or senior league boys. Pitchers need all the movement they can get... So they better throw it with the seams right for maximum movement.
      Last edited by StanTheMan; 03-03-2012, 07:53 AM.
      "Herman Franks to Sal Yvars to Bobby Thomson. Ralph Branca to Bobby Thomson to Helen Rita... cue Russ Hodges."

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      • #4
        So why does a 2 seam fastball move more than a 4 seam fastball? I know when I pitched my 2 steamer had considerably more movement, not saying you guys are wrong just trying to understand better.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Standballdad View Post
          So why does a 2 seam fastball move more than a 4 seam fastball? I know when I pitched my 2 steamer had considerably more movement, not saying you guys are wrong just trying to understand better.
          Hold a ball and rotate it in your hands like each of the pitches would be rotating as it travels towards the plate. The 4-seam is actually trying to rise but gravity is fighting this which is what makes it move straighter. It also has no other varying forces on either side of the ball causing it to move either way.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Standballdad View Post
            So why does a 2 seam fastball move more than a 4 seam fastball? I know when I pitched my 2 steamer had considerably more movement, not saying you guys are wrong just trying to understand better.
            Sent you a PM

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            • #7
              Where are the physics guys??? You can google Newtons third law of motion with baseball. This yields some good articles. Equal and opposites reaction created by spin forces ball to "move". In reality the air pushes the ball. Thus throwing into wind the four seam should move more if rotated in a slighty off side spin. If you could achieve perfect side spin I am thinking the two seam into the wind would move more. The speed of the air on a no seam side would be higher and push more. Interesting topic. Would like to hear more from others who have been in the game longer as well as others who have studied more than a dad like me.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by DerekD View Post
                Hold a ball and rotate it in your hands like each of the pitches would be rotating as it travels towards the plate. The 4-seam is actually trying to rise but gravity is fighting this which is what makes it move straighter. It also has no other varying forces on either side of the ball causing it to move either way.
                So are you agreeing with me that a 2 seamer seems to move more?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Standballdad View Post
                  So are you agreeing with me that a 2 seamer seems to move more?
                  The 2-seamer definitely moves more.

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                  • #10
                    nm.... I'm enjoying the thread.
                    efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Standballdad View Post
                      So are you agreeing with me that a 2 seamer seems to move more?
                      There are a few factors involved in break

                      1. The Bernoulli effect (this is what most call break see a CB or topspin in tennis)

                      2. Gravity

                      3. Fluttering of the ball


                      1. Increases with more spin and more seams. 2. Increases with less velocity. 3. Increases with less spin and seams since that stabilizes the ball. The extreme here is a knuckle.

                      With a CB the gravity and Bernoulli effect go in the same direction. Thus more Bernoulli effect(4 seam) means more break. Fluttering is low then but that is ok with a CB because you want a dynamic break and not drifting.

                      With a fb the gravity and Bernoulli effect oppose each other. That means more seams means less break(actually sink due to gravity). Also less seams mean more fluttering because there are less stabilizing forces. Thus a 2 seamer tends also to drift more to the side.

                      Does that help?
                      I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Standballdad View Post
                        So are you agreeing with me that a 2 seamer seems to move more?
                        2 Seamers definitely move more.
                        "Herman Franks to Sal Yvars to Bobby Thomson. Ralph Branca to Bobby Thomson to Helen Rita... cue Russ Hodges."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Standballdad View Post
                          So are you agreeing with me that a 2 seamer seems to move more?
                          There was a better answer to this same question on a pitching-oriented site. I think the simple answer is that, from the fastball perspective, the 2-seamer tends to have sideways movement, or "tailing", depending on which seam is leading more.

                          The 4-seamer has more lift -- not enough to make the ball literally rise, but it counters the drop of gravity better, resulting in a flatter arc. The 2-seamer has less lift, and therefore seems to "sink" in comparison to the 4-seam.

                          Thinking about it for a curveball, you would expect the 4-seam curve to break harder in the direction perpendicular to the ball's spin axis, but the 2-seam might have more movement in a direction along the spin axis.

                          To this noob, curves should be thrown with 4-seam rotation because more break is better.

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                          • #14
                            4-seam rotation exposes 4 equally-spaced seams into the wind giving greater break (or lift) but more consistent movement.

                            2-seam rotation exposes 2 seams into the wind which are both on the same side of the ball. This creates a sort of 'unbalanced' friction with the wind, usually giving less break (or lift) but more inconsistent and unpredictable movement.

                            A good 2-seam fastball is nasty.

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                            • #15
                              Put more simply, it is the imbalance of the seams more than the number. A four seemer is a balnced sphere, cutting the air in a consistent manner, wirth the front seams cutting theough the air while the back seams provide resistance. With a two seamer, the ball cuts the air on one side, but isn't balanced by a cooresponding seam on the backside of the ball, that forces it down quicker and makes for more movement.

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