There are a variety of different baseball pitching grips that pitchers can utilize to throw off hitters' timing. The most common grip that all position players use and pitchers, commonly, is the four seam fast ball grip. This grip will throw the baseball in the straightest, fastest fashion. It's important with all of these grips that pitchers keep the same arm speed and arm slot as they deliver the pitch so, as not to tip off the batter as to what pitch is coming.
The second grip that can be used on the baseball is the two seam fast ball grip as the two fingers are held across the two laces. And this creates a downward, sinking motion. Thrown from a left-handed pitcher's arm, the ball will drop down and away from a right-handed batter and vice versa for a right-handed pitcher.
Another pitch that can be thrown is known as the cut fast ball. The cut fast ball is effective in that's it's a combination of the fast ball and the slider and that it runs away from the batter. So a right-handed pitcher like Mariano Rivera, who mastered the cut fast ball, throws pitches that run away from a right-handed batter and into a left-handed batter as a right-handed pitcher. The cutter, as it's known, has been Rivera's only pitch his entire career as the greatest relief pitcher of all time.
Another effective pitch, which more young players should be focusing on, is the change up. The change up can be thrown with two different grips. The three finger, or trophy change up, in which three fingers are on top of the baseball and the thumb and the pinkie fingers are attached below the baseball. And the circle change up, where the player will make an okay symbol with his pointer finger and thumb and drape the other three fingers around the baseball. As with all change ups, it's imperative that pitchers not slow down their delivery when delivering a change up. Otherwise, the batter will be tipped off.
Another pitch that's an effective pitch to use at higher levels is the split finger fast ball. The split finger fast ball, which was mastered by Mike Scott in the late 1970s, early 1980s, has been used by many players since, including Roger Clemens. The split finger fast ball is held between the pointer finger and the middle finger, and it is thrown just two to three miles an hour slower than a fast ball. The batter perceives that it's a fast ball approaching, and then the ball drops right out from under. And he swings over it quite commonly.
The fork ball is a similar pitch to the split finger fast ball, except that it's held deeper in the hand. As a result, it goes slower than a split finger fast ball and it has a tumbling action. The fork ball has been perfected by a couple of pitchers in history, namely, Jack Morris, in the mid-1980s and early '90s and most recently, Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants.
Another pitch that's become very popular is the knuckle ball. R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets has had a Cy Young-level season by perfecting the knuckle ball. He has the fastest knuckle ball in history.
The curve ball is a pitch thrown with the two fingers next to each other along one of the seams on the baseball. This ball will break from nose to toes or 12 to 6 as hands on a clock. An effective curve ball is thrown with the fingers leading the way and the back of the hand being thrown towards the catcher. Dwight "Doc" Gooden was known to throw an excellent nose to toes curve ball. And in modern times, Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals has a very sharp, breaking curve ball.
The slider is another effective which pitchers can use to throw off hitters' timing. The slider is a combination fast ball and curve ball, and it's thrown much more like a fast ball. And the pitcher will put his fingers together against the seam and really focus on that middle finger as he delivers the pitch. C.C. Sabathia is a modern-day pitcher who throws an effective slider. Decades ago, Bob Gibson was known for having a wicked slider. And perhaps most famously, David Cone, in July of 1999, threw a perfect game by throwing a very sharp, nasty slider.