What Is The Hardest Pitch To Hit In Baseball?
The hardest pitch to hit in baseball is the splitter, followed closely by the slider. Hitting a baseball is extremely difficult for a variety of different reasons. Pitches vary in speed, movement, and breaking point. Each different type of pitch carries a different generalized speed, movement, and breaking, meaning some can prove more consistently difficult to hit than others. Keep reading to learn about baseball’s hardest-to-hit pitches.
Different Types of Pitches
There are over ten different kinds of pitches that pitchers may choose to utilize throughout a single game. These vary from four-seam fastballs to change-ups and even curveballs. The pitcher moves the ball through the use of spinning it as it leaves their fingertips. Each pitch has its own signature movement that deceives the batter in many different ways.
Top Two Most Difficult Pitches to Hit In Baseball
The most difficult baseball pitch to hit varies according to the hitter's capabilities, knowledge, and preferences. Each baseball player has their own specialties. However, the two pitches that stand out to be the hardest to hit are the splitter and the slider. This conclusion is backed by research that has been done to detect the whiff rate for various pitches. The whiff rate represents how many times the batter missed the ball when swinging at a given pitch. After thoroughly observing this factor, the splitter had a 19.4% whiff rate, while the slider had a 17.5% whiff rate. This means that once a pitcher throws a splitter, there is only an 81.6% chance the batter will manage to put the bat on the ball. Furthermore, once a pitcher throws a slider, there is only an 86.5% chance that the batter will make contact. Naturally, this is under the assumption they even attempt to swing.
From a pitcher's perspective, a slider has a unique grip like the rest of the abstract pitches. You grip a slider by placing your pointer and index finger slightly off-centered from the middle of the ball, having only your middle finger resting on the seam. Your thumb follows underneath for grip laying on the opposite seam, and the leftover two fingers remain off to the side. After you have the proper grip, it is all about the snap of the wrist and when you release the ball from your hand.
A slider is a breaking ball where it breaks abruptly, changing the direction of the ball. This pitch breaks either down and away or down and towards the batter, depending on the handedness of the hitter and pitcher, making the pitch initially seem inside of the zone before sliding out of it or outside of the zone before sliding into it. In addition, a slider is thrown with a much higher velocity compared to most other breaking pitches.
A splitter is also a complex type of pitch that takes lots of practice to perfect. You grip a splitter by placing your pointer and index fingers spread apart on the ball outside of the seams. Placing your fingers here helps increase the rotation of the ball and adds break. Your thumb follows underneath, and your leftover fingers linger off to the side, keeping them close to the palm of your hand. Each finger should be at even distances from the other, establishing a triangle-like formation when looking at your fingertips.
After you obtain the proper grip, it’s time to give the pitch a try by winding up and snapping your wrist. After the ball is thrown, a splitter is known to break down suddenly once reaching over the plate. This pitch was designed to make the batter swing early, therefore, inducing weak contact. A splitter is a difficult pitch to hit due to its abrupt change in motion and velocity.
What is the hardest pitch to hit in baseball?
The hardest pitch to hit is the splitter. By some metrics, the slider is slightly more effective at generating misses. However, the splitter’s relative rarity makes it harder to recognize and hit, with pitchers throwing sliders at nearly five times the rate of splitters.