Spin on fastballs thrown by elite baseball pitchers

Tomoyuki Nagami*, Jun Morohoshi, Takatoshi Higuchi, Hiroki Nakata, Shigeto Naito, Kazuyuki Kanosue

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: In this study, we analyzed the direction of the spin axis angles and the spin rate of baseballs pitched by elite collegiate and professional pitchers. Method: The video image of a ball being pitched was taken from the period just before release until 200 ms after release with a high-speed video camera at a rate of 1000 frames per second. A custom-made device was used to analyze the spin axis angle and the spin rate. Results and Conclusion: There were no significant differences in the direction of the spin axis angles or the spin rate between collegiate and professional pitchers. A significant correlation was obtained between spin rate and ball speed; that is, the higher the ball speed, the greater the spin rate. In addition, the spin rate deviated more across subjects than did ball speed. For all subjects, the azimuth and elevation of spin axis were 19° ± 14° and-32° ± 9°, respectively. Some of the pitchers were able to put a characteristic spin on their fastball; the nature of this spin could be related to their pitching success.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2321-2327
Number of pages7
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Dec
Externally publishedYes


  • Spin axis
  • ball speed
  • professional players
  • spin rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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