Different Types of Pitches in MLB

Different Types of Pitches in MLB - partycasino

In its most basic form, baseball is a simple game that’s about pitching the ball accurately and being able to hit it as far as possible. And to the untrained eye, it may appear that the pitcher simply steps up to the mound and throws the baseball as hard as possible - but that’s not the case. 

Pitching is a far more skilful art than many realise, and although power and speed can be helpful, they're not always the answer. A good pitcher will have a variety of different types of pitches available, although they may favour one more than others. 

Here's a closer look at some of the most common types of pitches in MLB and some of the famous players that used them successfully.

Breaking Ball

There are many subtypes of breaking ball, but in the most basic of terms, a breaking ball is one that does not approach the hitter in a straight line. The pitch will have either downward or sideways motion, making it difficult to predict and catch. 

Getting the technique for a breaking ball wrong will cause the ball to hang in the air slowly, making it very easy to hit a home run.

Although there are many players who are well known for other more specific types, Bert Blyleven was renowned for his breaking ball.


The slider is one of the most common types of breaking pitch that the majority of pitchers like to use. It’s widely credited to George Blaeholder in the 1930s, but there’s no concrete proof of when it was first seen. 

A slider is a type of breaking ball that is particularly difficult to hit because it has downward and sideways motion. The speed is much less than a fastball but quicker than a curveball. 

Some of the most famous Hall of Famers that used sliders include Dennis Eckersley, John Smoltz and Randy Johnson.


A slow ball that's virtually impossible to hit when the technique is executed correctly, the knuckleball is an extremely difficult pitch to master. 

With slow speed and hardly any spin, a knuckleball is very erratic and has an unpredictable trajectory. Some say that the only way to hit a knuckleball is through sheer luck because human reactions aren’t fast enough to read its position in the air. 

There aren’t many pitchers left able to throw a good knuckleball but Hoyt Wilhelm and Phil Niekro were two of the best.


Now illegal in MLB, spitballs have been responsible for a lot of controversy in the history of the sport. The term is used to describe any ball which has been artificially altered on one side, causing it to have an unnatural swing. This was typically done by either rubbing spit onto one side or by using another substance such as petroleum jelly. 

There is also a god-given spitball which is where the ball is moistened by rainfall or damp air, causing it to move in the same way as an illegal spitball. A god-given spitball is legal because players have not tampered with it before pitching.


Of course, a little bit of speed can be beneficial, and that's the whole focus of the fireball. A particularly fast type of ball that is almost impossible to hit, the fireball was originally perfected by Amos Rusie.