The fastball is the best pitch in baseball. All pitchers utilize a fastball in their pitching arsenal (even knuckleballers).
Why do you think this is?
The answer is simple: It's a set up pitch. The fastball sets up every other pitch a pitcher throws, and makes those pitches more effective. It makes the curveball better, it makes the change up better, it makes the slider better.
And it doesn't allow hitters to sit on just one pitch. That element of "keeping a hitter guessing" that a pitcher with a good fastball has is valuable. And if that fastball is in the 90s mph, it's a great punch out pitch, too.
The fastball is the best pitch because it can be throw with various arm slots, grips, and speeds. Some MLB Pitchers have made a living off throwing many different types fastballs. Mariano Rivera is among the most popular fastball pitcher in history because of his cut fastball.
A cutter is a variation of the two seam fastball because it moves in the opposite direction. Rivera's fastball moves into a left handed batter, and sharply away from a right handed batter.
Rivera's variation of a fastball has haunted the opposing batters because of its sharp and unpredictable movement. What makes this truly fascinating is that Rivera only used his cut fastball, and no other pitch. He is considered the best closer in MLB history, and has received that title by perfecting one pitch. This fact alone demonstrates how important it is for baseball pitchers to develop their fastballs.
Fastball as your primary pitch
The fastball must be your primary pitch. Young baseball pitchers have a difficult time with this concept, and I was guilty of this as well.
Pitchers who succeed at the higher competitive levels such as college or the MLB, have developed a consistent and excellent fastball. These baseball pitchers are confident throwing the fastball, and through repetition, they have developed extraordinary accuracy with it.
The moral of the story, is that pitchers must focus on developing a great fastball before they focus on off-speed pitches. Even when you feel incredibly confident with your fastball, it is still vitally important that you practice throwing it on a daily basis.
In practice, baseball pitchers should focus at least 60-70 percent of their efforts perfecting their fastball, and use the other time developing one or two off-speed pitches. For younger pitchers who are below the high school level, would probably need to practice their fastball around 80-90 percent in practice.
Why should I focus my efforts on perfecting the fastball?
Because if you don't, it can be detrimental to your success!
Throwing fastballs on a systematic basis develops arm strength, consistent pitching mechanics, improved accuracy, and increased pitching velocity.
Each of these elements pave the way for any pitcher to have success at the higher competitive levels.
Develop an excellent fastball, and then starting working on a good changeup. Once you have these two pitches mastered, start working on a breaking pitch such as a curveball or slider.
Follow this formula and you will succeed at the high competitive levels. Having two really good pitches is much better than having four mediocre pitches.
Challenge hitters with your fastball, and they will never be able to hit your off-speed. Remember that fastballs are hard to hit because no other pitch requires such little reaction time for the hitter. Some of the greatest pitchers of all time were not afraid to challenge hitters with their fastball!
I hope this post gave you a better understanding on why the fastball is the best pitch in baseball.
Keep working hard. No off days. No excuses.
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