How To Throw A Filthy Two-Seam Fastball

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Home Articles Two-Seam Fastball Pitch & Grips

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How to throw a two-seam fastball banner

Do you know how to throw a two-seamer?

In this article, you'll learn everything you need to know about throwing a two-seam fastball that goes beyond "dirty" or "nasty" and usually involves embarrassing the batter...

But first, check out this two-seam fastball from pitcher James Shields:

James Shields two-seam fastball
Image source:

I love that movement right there as Shields gets Neil Walker with this two-seamer that curls back over the plate for the backwards K.

The 2 seamer is a pitch thrown much like the 4-seamer but with different finger placement and with a different function. It is called a "two seam" because when thrown, the pitch only has two seams cutting through the air towards the target. This allegedly causes the ball to move more but also a hair slower.

I say "allegedly" because some pitchers throw their two seamer a couple miles per hour slower than their two seamer but many throw both pitches just as hard. The index and middle fingers are now placed in line with the seams with the thumb, again, being placed underneath.

To develop a great fastball like James Shields, it's important to remember this:

A 2 seamer should be thrown at or close to maximum velocity while providing added movement.

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Two-seam fastball grip

Here are some pictures of different two seam fastball grips...

Two-seam fastball grip
Image source:

Here are a few tips to remember:

  • Index and middle fingers going with the seams, thumb underneath.
  • Still a fastball so all force is applied right through the middle of the ball creating backspin with a little extra pressure on the index finger.
  • Ball should run in and possibly down to the pitcher's respective pitching arm side.

More images of two-seam fastball grips

Two-seam fastball grip images
Image source:

4 secrets to a great two-seam fastball

  1. Properly place the fingers with the seams.
  2. Put slightly more pressure on the index finger.
  3. Exaggerate pronation at release.
  4. Maintain a good arm slot; not too high, not too low.

To get this pitch to be effective and run the way it's supposed to, you should place slightly more pressure on the index finger than the middle finger. It should be noted that length of fingers and overall hand size can play a role in how much the ball may move, to some degree. By placing more of the pressure on the index finger, it will naturally cause the ball to move in the direction of the pitching arm side at the release point and subsequently towards the plate, creating the "running" movement.

The wrist naturally pronates through release. Try to exaggerate pronation on this pitch and you're more likely to execute it with great movement.

Keep in mind that arm slot plays a role in amount of movement on this pitch. The lower one's arm slot the more the ball is likely to run.

Steven Ellis
former pro pitcher

Out of all the baseball pitching grips, fastball grips are the easiest to master and be consistent with. This can be a very easy pitch to learn because it isn't thrown much different than the four seam fastball.

Other than adding a little pressure on the index finger, finger placement is the only real difference between the two. There are no real structural changes in wrist or hand action (although eventually you can try to overemphasize the pronation of the wrist), so this pitch can be taught at the same time a four seamer is taught very early on. Remember, baseball pitching grips are very important so be sure to give them the practice they deserve.


For the two-seamer, the first and second fingers lay across the narrow area between the two horseshoe-shaped seam outlines.

It is released the same way as the four-seamer, but the slight difference in the pronation of the hand causes it to rotate off-center; where a four-seamer rotates 6-to-12 on a clock face in the batter's view, a two-seamer still rotates bottom to top, but might be 4-to-10.

That causes the ball to sink to some degree, though this is not considered a "breaking pitch" and is thrown at full velocity.

It's called the two-seamer because, due to the grip, the batter sees only one pair or horizontal seams spinning, instead of two.

This pitch is slightly more difficult to locate than the four-seamer, but still is thrown with good control.

My favorite GIFs of throwing a two-seam fastball

Put it all together, and it looks like this...

Here's a two-seamer from Masahiro Tanaka that freezes former Yankee Robinson Cano on the inside corner:

Masahiro Tanaka two-seam fastball
Image source:

And check out another great two-seam fastball from pitcher James Shields:

James Shields two-seam fastball
Image source:

I absolutely love the movement on these pitches!

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What do you think?

Now it's time to hear from you:

Are there any two-seam fastball grips, tips or techniques that I missed?

Or maybe you have an idea of how I can make this article even better.

Either way, leave a comment and let me know.


READ THIS NEXT: Pitching Grips: How To Throw 8 Different Baseball Pitches

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