• Kazuyuki Kanosue
  • Tomoyuki Nagami
  • Toshitaka Higuchi
  • Hitoshi Maekawa
  • Toshimasa Yanai
Keywords: baseball pitcher, ball spin, performance


The motion of the ball thrown by a pitcher is influenced by three forces: gravity, drag force due to air resistance, and lift force which deflects a ball vertically or laterally due to ball spin. The lift force acting on the ball increases with spin rate and movement speed when the spin axis of the ball is orthogonal to the direction of ball movement. Among individual pitchers there were great variations in spin on their fastballs, both in spin rate and in direction of the spin axis. Ball spin rate was positively correlated with increases in distance from the optimal contact point of the swung bat (sweet spot) to the actual point of contact. That is, batters tend to hit under the ball when it has a high spin rate, even for balls of the same velocity. Abnormal or unique ball spin is an important aspect of superior performance for pitchers.