Jump to content

Whatever happened to the Forkball?


Gurgi

Recommended Posts

Growing up in the early eighties I remember the big deal was pitchers throwing the Forkball. I remember Clemens and Mike Boddicker some of the early users of the pitch. Jack Morris also. Doesnt seem like anyone on the Orioles throws the pitch at all. Am I wrong? Any player in the league well know for throwing it?

I seem to remember something about the pitch being rather hard on a pitchers arm. Any of this true?

I would think some of these fringy guys would risk injury and learn how to throw this devistaing pitch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From the Wikipedia article on the forkball

The forkball is favored by several major league pitchers, including Hideo Nomo, José Contreras, Chien-Ming Wang and Edwar Ramirez. In addition, a number of NPB players throw forkballs, including Kazumi Saitoh of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks who has ridden his forkball to two Sawamura Awards.

... The forkball is known to be a cause of damage to the shoulder and elbow. Famous forkballers, particularly Japanese players, have often required surgery to remove bone fractures or to repair damaged tendons, sometimes several times in their careers. One such pitcher was former Yokohama BayStars and Seattle Mariners closer Kazuhiro Sasaki who, according to one fan, "practically had to have bone chips removed from his elbow every year."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Growing up in the early eighties I remember the big deal was pitchers throwing the Forkball. I remember Clemens and Mike Boddicker some of the early users of the pitch. Jack Morris also. Doesnt seem like anyone on the Orioles throws the pitch at all. Am I wrong? Any player in the league well know for throwing it?

I seem to remember something about the pitch being rather hard on a pitchers arm. Any of this true?

I would think some of these fringy guys would risk injury and learn how to throw this devistaing pitch.

IIRC, Jose Contreras throws it. I believe even when he grips the ball on the mound before taking the signs, this is the grip that he uses. Don't ask why I remember that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Speaking of the devil. Someone posted in another thread that the new Japanese player we got Uehara throws the forkball.

I saw that when I was googling for information on the forkball, but I didn't mention it in my post. I figured it was discussion of Uehara which triggered your question, and it would be "old news" to everyone reading this thread. :)

I also wondered if someone had gotten Uehara confused with Saitoh, because of these two comments.

From the Wikipedia article I posted above:

... a number of NPB players throw forkballs, including Kazumi Saitoh of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks who has ridden his forkball to two Sawamura Awards

At Scout.com, November 19, 2008: Don't Expect to Save Money on this Import

A two-time winner of the Sawamura Award as Japan's best starting pitcher,.... Uehara’s repertoire includes an 88-90 mph fastball, a nice cutter, two kinds of forkball,...

Probably just a coincidence that they both won the Sawamura Award twice....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Probably just a coincidence that they both won the Sawamura Award twice....

Lots and lots of Japanese pitchers throw some kind of split-fingered pitch. Having two two-time Sawamura award winners who throw forkballs is probably be like having two Cy Young winners who both threw circle changes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lots and lots of Japanese pitchers throw some kind of split-fingered pitch. Having two two-time Sawamura award winners who throw forkballs is probably be like having two Cy Young winners who both threw circle changes.

I was going to say that the Forkball of the past is called the split-finger now. I don't think there is any difference in the two pitches. Maybe the splitter is thrown harder than the Forkball, but that is not enough of a difference for me to have two names. The announcers ask the pitcher what they throw. If a pitcher says they though a Fork instead of a splitter then you will hear Forkball.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was going to say that the Forkball of the past is called the split-finger now. I don't think there is any difference in the two pitches. Maybe the splitter is thrown harder than the Forkball, but that is not enough of a difference for me to have two names. The announcers ask the pitcher what they throw. If a pitcher says they though a Fork instead of a splitter then you will hear Forkball.

I think there is a difference. A true forkball is almost like a bad knuckler thrown harder - it tumbles to the plate with a little backspin. It falls off the table, but isn't thrown as hard as a fastball. A lot of pitchers, oldtimers especially, used to jam the ball in between their index and middle fingers. I'm pretty sure Roy Face used this as his bread-and-butter pitch.

A split-finger fastball is gripped like a fastball with the index and middle fingers spread out a bit. It's thrown just like a fastball, but the grip imparts less backspin than a fastball (and more than a forkball). It'll dip from the lack of lift from less spin, but it's a different thing from a forkball. This is the pitch Bruce Sutter kind of pioneered.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The splitter is suppose to tumble like a knuckleball. What you are describing to me is a sinker. Other than being slower than a splitter, I don't see a difference.

They're both kinds of sinkers.

A forkball is supposed to tumble, a splitfingered fastball (or what I call a splitter) has more backspin. It's all in the grip. Forkball has the ball jammed in between two fingers, splitter is thrown just like a fastball except the two fingers a spread slightly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They're both kinds of sinkers.

A forkball is supposed to tumble, a splitfingered fastball (or what I call a splitter) has more backspin. It's all in the grip. Forkball has the ball jammed in between two fingers, splitter is thrown just like a fastball except the two fingers a spread slightly.

Slightly? The splitters I have seen are pretty wide. I think it was Roger Clemens who would always start with the splitter grip in his hand because it is a hard pitch to grip during the pitching motion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was playing around on Google and found this quote from Doug Thorburn, from something called the National Pitching Association:

Everything about a split-finger delivery is the same as a regular fastball, aside from the grip. The only difference is the physical split of the fingers, and it is true that players with small hands will feel pain in those fingers if they attempt to stretch too far, and get an extremely wide grip. A wide grip is not necessary to throw a split-finger, and what most kids try to find is actually a forkball grip. Forkballs are great if you’re Bob Welch or Jose Contreras, but not so great if your hands are still growing and can’t yet hold a baseball properly.

Forkball = wider grip than a splitter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.



  • Posts

    • You said you want to go ALL IN on OBP.  To me, ALL IN means that's the only tool you are worried about. By ALL IN did you mean "I think we should prioritize OBP while still targeting players that are talented at other aspects of the game? Because that's not the same thing at all. You can't get nine perfect hitters.  They aren't going to be good at everything.  Cost of acquisition is also a factor.
    • What 😂 Benintemdi and Correa play defense. You have power in Santander, Mullins, Adley, and Gunnar.  Correa OPS is .830 and Benintendi is .780 from your  #2 hitter.    I think they are going to get 1 key SP to replace Lyles. I thinking they are going to give a slot to Gray Rod. Pencil in Kremer and Bradish. That leaves Voth, Wells, Akin, Watkins, Zimmerman, and Means to fill the last slot.      
    • “Blocking All? Im going off what Elias is saying, 2 Bats. Right now we have a lot of mediocre MLB players. The only guys really locked in are Gunnar, Adley, Mullins, and Santander if you or planning to keep him. That means that you have 2 OF slots or 1 OF and 1 DH. Then 3 IF slots.    If you add one IF bat and 1 OF/DH bat that leaves 2 INF and 1 OF. Stowers so far was a .300 OBP guy. Cowser (.219 avg at AAA) and Norby need another season at that level. Westburg could start at 2B if they think he’s ready now. Wagner/Hernaiz, and Ortiz all need another season at least. And no matter how much you want them to they aren’t all going to make it. It was great to get Adley and Gunnar this season. Hoping for 2 more next season is lofty at least.
    • I think going "all in" on any one aspect of the game is a recipe for failure. You want to build a roster without regards to power or defense?  You don't care about pitching? Teams can afford to have some players that bring tools other than OBP to the party.
    • Kevin Kiermaier is coming off season-ending hip surgery.  There’s no guarantee he’ll be the same player defensively when he returns.   
    • For every year of the Elias Era, I've written up a yearly Trade Bait thread in the offseason. This year is unique that I think we could be buyers, but overall, I believe Elias is going to try to mimic the Rays and Indians a bit in where they are always trying to be competitive while balancing the payroll.  I think Elias will continue to trade MLB pieces if he believes they have reached a peak value in terms of talent/salary, especially if he has his pipeline providing MLB ready talent to immediately replace a player. Just because a player is on here, doesn't mean I believe he will or should be traded. I'm just trying to think in terms of Elias. I went with Hot/Mild/Low in terms of likelihood of being traded Hot Anthony Santander - He's 28, hit a career high in HR last season, and he's probably at peak value. With two years left of control and arbitration pushing the salary up, Elias might be looking to deal.  Santander's potential production and salary numbers will still be more affordable and as productive than many of the Free Agent OFs.  If he stays with the O's, I believe his value is best as a DH as the O's were below league avg in corner OF value overall. Santander is one of the more likely 40 man pieces to be traded before the season starts in my opinion Mild Cedric Mullins - The CF Market could be active, but the options in Free Agency aren't awfully deep. Mullins didn't nearly match his 2021 output last year, but a 3.8 WAR is still very good. His defensive metrics were still good, as were his SB numbers. The problem is, I feel our overall OF depth is not that great and that Mullins still has a lot of value to the O's even if his salary takes a jump this year. However, Elias may be forced to consider the option of trading Mullins if it can bring back pieces that he places more value on in the long run. I think Elias also knows how valuable Mullins is to the foundation of the current starting 9, especially without an immediate replacement. Ramon Urias - 3.6 WAR this year is pretty solid. He's versatile, and I believe he's got 20 HR pop. I struggle with deciding if he's at peak value though. If its not now, it would probably be at the trade deadline this year. However, he's turning 29 this season and there's not a lot of room for error with judging his peak value at this point. The GG helps give him an extra boost in value heading into the offseason. I think he's traded to clear up the infield log jam that could be coming. If he stays, he will probably move to 2B where the O's were 2nd to last in the league in position value. If he can maintain his dWAR and improve upon his offensive production, he could have even more value heading into the trade deadline. Jorge Mateo - 3.4 WAR is pretty solid considering the lack of offensive production. I feel like Elias isn't pushing this as Mateo does have value as the starting SS, or he could be the replacement we need at 2B if we bring in a better SS like Correa or move Gunnar to SS. Elias probably only considers this trade if he is approached by another team that wants him as a low cost, controllable option. I feel the return could actually be solid; but I wonder if Elias is gambling a bit since he has so many solid MIF prospects on the cusp but not quite ready. He will begin the season at only age 27, so if Mateo can put up GG defensive numbers again, get his OPS up over .700, and continue to be among the league leaders in SBs, his value could sky rocket leading to a deadline trade, or event one in next year's offseason. Dillon Tate - Depending on how Elias adds to the Rotation, I could see Voth, Hall, and Wells all being additions to an already solid Bullpen. I think Tate is also approaching that peak value point as he will be 29 on May 1st, is coming off his best year, and he's entering into arbitration. He could be a very low cost add for a team needing a RH bullpen piece, especially if Elias thinks he can get something he likes in return or add Tate as part of a bigger trade. He could be an offseason trade or even a trade deadline deal. Low Austin Hays - I don't think Elias likes trading a player when he believes there is more peak value potential. If you look at Austin Hays' 2nd Half in 2021 and his 1st Half in 2022, he's an above average corner OF with 25 HRs and close to a .790 OPS. I feel Hays was injured in much of the 2nd half last season. Currently, I don't see a lot of value or other teams being interested unless they felt they could buy low. However, he's an OF which we need as the moment, but if he can get hot in the 1st Half, could be a trade candidate leading up to the trade deadline if Cowser is ready. Ryan Mountcastle - As far as WAR, he's averaged about 1.0 WAR per season in his 3 years. As much as it seemed that Ryan had a down year, he was actually more valuable in terms of WAR this season than in 2021 when he hit 33 HRs. He's still affordable, but with a career high 1.3 WAR, Jose Abreu and his 4.2 WAR shows how big a jump we could take offensively with a top tier 1B; even a mid tier 1B like Josh Bell was 3.0 WAR last year. However, the depth in FA 1B dive bombs after that. I don't see Elias trading below peak, but perhaps Elias thinks this is Mountcastle's peak and he adds him to part of a bigger trade before the season starts. If he does begin the season at 1B, much like Hays, he could be moved if he can put together a decent 1st half, much like Mancini did. Austin Voth - Also entering arbitration and turns 31 this season. I think we need him now for SP depth, and he could become a good BP piece if Elias acquires more SP. Voth could end up not only being pushed out of the rotation, but also expendable based on Bullpen depth. He might be a good target for a team looking for affordable back of the rotation options or a bullpen piece. Prospect Pool Connor Norby, Joey Ortiz, Jordan Westburg, Sam Basallo, Coby Mayo, Cesar Prieto, Darrell Hernaiz, Frederick Bencosme This is the 1st year of looking into potential trades where I feel our prospects are on the table for acquiring MLB ready talent. I don't see Elias trading Pitching or OF prospects as we need to build our depth there. However, Hall, Cowser, Kjerstad, and others could be possibilities.
    • Take Roughned Odor’s 472 PA at .275 OBP and give them to Gunnar Henderson (.348). Take Tyler Nevin’s 184 PA at .299 OBP and give them to Terrin Vavra (.340). Take 90 of Robinson Chirinos’ 220 PA at .265 OBP and give them to Adley Rutschman (.362).   Assume a new backup C will be just as inept as Chirinos, but won’t be starting for the first 1/4 of the season like Chirinos was. Those three relatively simple moves add about 8 points to the team OBP, moving them from slightly below average to slightly above average.   Anything we do from there is gravy.   Of course, you do have to replace Trey Mancini’s 401 PA at .347 OBP.     
  • Popular Contributors

×
×
  • Create New...