Four-Seam Fastball (FF)
A four-seam fastball is almost always the fastest and straightest pitch a pitcher throws. It is also generally the most frequently utilized.
The four-seam fastball is typically one of the easiest pitches for a pitcher to place, because of the lack of movement on the pitch. It is often used to overpower hitters, with the goal being for the pitch to get to the strike zone faster than the hitter can handle, thus creating a swing and miss or weak contact because of a late swing. The pitch derives its name because upon being released, four seams come into view on the ball with each rotation.
A four-seam fastball with high spin is often described as a "rising fastball," because it resists gravity slightly longer, making it look to the hitter like it's rising. Those fastballs will often produce swings and misses, especially when thrown at the top of the strike zone.
The fastest four-seamers can come in at over 100 mph, while the Major League average four-seam fastball now sits at about 94 mph.
In order to throw a four-seam fastball, a pitcher grips the ball with the "horseshoe" oriented horizontally, placing two fingers across the open space between the seams and the edges of his fingers slightly over the seam. The fingers will contact the seams at four points, with both fingers touching each side of the horseshoe. This is the way fielders are typically instructed to throw the ball, because it produces the straightest plane.
Four-seamers are typically thrown with true backspin, resulting in the ball "carrying" or "riding" straight through the zone.
In A Call
"four-seamer," "heat," "heater," "high cheese," "cheese," "cheddar," "rising fastball"