Changeup (CH)


A changeup is one of the slowest pitches thrown in baseball, and it is predicated on deception.

Pitchers will release a changeup along the same trajectory as their fastball, but at a significantly slower velocity. The goal of a changeup is to make the hitter think a fastball is coming, so his timing will be thrown off by the slower pitch.

The changeup is a common off-speed pitch, and almost every starting pitcher owns a changeup as part of his arsenal. (A larger number of relief pitchers do not, because they typically only face hitters once and therefore have less of a need for deception.) A good changeup will cause a hitter to start his swing well before the pitch arrives, resulting in either a swing and miss or very weak contact. But when a hitter is able to identify the changeup, the pitch is among the easiest to hit because of its low velocity.

A changeup is often said to "fade" or "fall off the table," because it looks like a fastball out of the pitcher's hand, only to drop down under the hitter's bat while also breaking horizontally toward the pitcher's arm side.


There are several different grips that pitchers use for a changeup, but the common theme is that the ball rests farther back in the hand -- even, in some cases, in the palm. They are thrown with a nearly identical motion to that of a fastball, causing the intended deception.

The most common changeup grip is the "circle change," where the pitcher's thumb and index finger form a circle around the inside of the baseball while his other three fingers grip the rest of the ball.


The changeup has been around for as long as the game has existed. In the early days of baseball, when breaking balls were considered unfair and deceitful, most pitchers settled for throwing exclusively straight pitches, and a few of them mixed speeds. Thus, the slower pitches in that era could be considered the game's first changeups.

In A Call

"change," "change of pace," "offspeed," "slowball," "the dreaded equalizer," "Bugs Bunny changeup"