Baseball: how do sinkers work?

In summary, pitchers in baseball use a pitch called a "sinker" to make the ball drop near the plate. This is achieved by putting top spin on the ball, which is similar to the way airplanes work. The Magnus effect is also involved in creating this drop. Despite the difficulty of throwing with top spin, pitchers are still able to throw the ball at high speeds.
  • #1
brum
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baseball: how do "sinkers" work?

in baseball, many pitchers use a pitch called a "sinker" (not a curveball, but a ball that drops once it gets near the plate)

how do they do this? I am assuming they put top spin on the ball to make it curve downward/drop, but how would they put top spin on the ball and still pitch it 80-90 mph?
 
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  • #2
My intuition says that it is burnouilli's(someone correct my spelling) principle at work. in order of a base to sink down:

The air moving on the bottom of the ball has to be moving faster than the air on the top of the ball. This increase in air velocity on the bottom (acheiveable through pitching the ball with a certain orientaion and release) causes a decrease in the presure on the bottom of the ball meaning that it is being pushed down harder.

This is actually the same way airplanes work. Well airplanes go up but you get the picture.

Just a thought.
 
  • #3
Yes. Top spin is the right spin. Look up "Magnus effect". I think pitchers must throw in such a way that the ball leaves the hand between the forefinger (on top) and the thumb (on bottom), with the top fingers supplying the friction which causes top spin. But it is hard to understand how it is possible to nevertheless throw harder than 80 mph. Any major league pitchers on this forum?
 

1. How does the spin on a sinker affect its movement?

The spin of a sinker creates a pressure difference on either side of the ball, causing it to move in a downward and lateral direction. This is due to the Magnus effect, where the spin of the ball interacts with the air to create lift or downward force.

2. What type of pitch is a sinker considered?

A sinker is considered a type of fastball, as it is thrown with a similar arm action and grip. However, it differs from a traditional fastball in its movement and speed.

3. How does the grip of a sinker differ from other pitches?

The grip of a sinker is typically a two-seam grip, with the index and middle fingers placed along the seams of the ball. This allows for a tighter and more controlled spin, resulting in more downward movement.

4. Is a sinker more effective against certain types of batters?

A sinker is generally more effective against batters who tend to hit fly balls, as it can induce ground balls and therefore decrease the likelihood of a home run. It is also more effective against batters who struggle with pitches low in the strike zone.

5. Can a pitcher adjust the movement of their sinker?

Yes, a pitcher can adjust the movement of their sinker by altering the amount of spin and the velocity at which it is thrown. They can also adjust their arm angle and release point to change the direction and speed of the pitch.

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