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Sinker (baseball): Wikis


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In baseball, a sinker (also known as "the drop ball", due to its downward break at the plate), is a type of fastball pitch which has significant downward and horizontal movement. The sinker is known for inducing a lot of 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]



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 now known how to make a pitch sink and how to make one hop.[1] Scott Feldman , Brandon Webb, Joel Pinero, Carlos Zambrano, Jake Westbrook, Derek Lowe, Fausto Carmona, Aaron Cook, Chien-Ming Wang, Mike Pelfrey, Roy Halladay, Jon Garland, Zach Miner, Brad Bergesen, Nick Blackburn, Carlos Silva and Rick Porcello 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. This causes a sharper sink, but also has a greater risk of a wild pitch.

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

Effects on the batter

The sinker drops 5 to 10 inches more than a typical fastball which causes batters to hit ground balls more often than other breaking balls, mostly due to the tilted backspin on the ball.[1] Horizontal movement also occurs when sinkers are thrown.[2]

Notable sinkerballers




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