Sinker (baseball)

In baseball, a sinker or sinking fastball is a type of fastball pitch which has significant downward and horizontal movement and is known for inducing ground balls.[1] Pitchers who use the sinker tend to rely on it heavily and do not need to change pitch speeds as much as other pitchers do because the sinking action induces weak bat contact. Other pitchers normally change pitch speeds to achieve this effect.[2] The sinker is much more often used by right-handed than left-handed pitchers.

History

Before the 1950s, pitchers did not know what caused their pitches to sink or "hop." They regarded either ability as a "gift from heaven." Bill James cites Curt Simmons as the first pitcher to be able to throw both sinkers and rising fastballs, apparently indicating that it was not known how to make a pitch sink and how to make one hop.[1]

Current Major League pitchers

Zach Britton, Marcus Stroman, Charlie Morton, Dallas Keuchel, Jake Arrieta, Jim Johnson, Rick Porcello, Kendall Graveman, Sonny Gray, Jeurys Familia, Tanner Roark, Jordan Hicks, Sam Dyson, Scott Alexander, Matt Albers, and Mike Leake are current major league players who rely heavily on the sinker.

Throwing mechanics

One method of throwing the sinker is to simply grip the baseball along the two seams and throw it similar to a fastball. Some pitchers use a downward motion on their wrist when throwing it. The pitcher's palm turns to the right at release for a right handed pitcher. This causes a sharper sink, but also has a greater risk of a wild pitch. This wrist movement is also called pronation.

Many sinker ball pitchers today turn the inside of the ball over just before releasing the ball, combined with slightly increasing the pressure on the ball with the index finger ("press inside") which creates a tilted sidespin motion that causes horizontal movement.[1]

Effects on the batter

The sinker drops 6 to 9 inches more than a typical four seam fastball which causes batters to hit ground balls more often than other fastballs, mostly due to the tilted sidespin on the ball.[1] Horizontal movement also occurs when sinkers are thrown.[2] Sinkerball pitchers can often get called strikes and swinging strikes on the pitch.

Notable sinkerballers

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d John Walsh. "In Search of the Sinker". The Hardball Times.
  2. ^ a b Joe P. Sheehan. "That Sinking Feeling". Baseball Analysts.
Chad Billingsley

Chad Ryan Billingsley (born July 29, 1984) is an American former professional baseball right-handed starting pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2006 through 2013 and Philadelphia Phillies in 2015. He was a National League (NL) All-Star in 2009.

Shane Loux

Shane Alan Loux (born August 31, 1979) is a minor league baseball pitching coach for the Visalia Rawhide and a retired pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and San Francisco Giants.

Sinker

Sinker may refer to:

Sinker (fishing), a weight used in fishing

Sinker (baseball), a type of baseball pitch

Sinker (mining), a person who is employed to sink new shafts

Sinker (Beyond the Black Stump), a character in Beyond the Black Stump, an Australian comic strip

George Sinker (1900–1986), MA, Bishop of Nagpur and Provost of Birmingham Cathedral

John Sinker (1874–1936), MA, an eminent Anglican priest and author in the 20th century

Sinker nail, commonly used in wood-frame construction

Sinker root, an enlarged, somewhat straight to tapering plant root that grows vertically downward

A doughnut, slang usually used to suggest dunking (or "sinking") it in coffee

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