Another Way a Curveball Can Make Your Fastball Faster… the Eephus!

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So this post is a little tongue in cheek… but if you haven’t seen this video yet, you have to check it out.

A friend of mine always used to joke that more major league pitchers should throw an Eephus pitch.

Bugs_Bunny_EephusAnd I’m talking about that high, super-slow, lollipop Eephus, not the slow curveball you guys throwing.

Here’s a great one of those by the way:
Yu Darvish 59 MPH Curveball

I mean, can you imagine a major league pitcher practicing his lollipop Eephus down in the bullpen? It’d be hysterical.

See, the problem with the true, super-high, super-slow, Bugs Bunny style Eephus is it’s such a low percentage pitch…

You basically have to drop it right on home plate for it to be a strike! His response to that?

“Yeah, but if you COULD throw it for a strike, it would be unhittable!”

Well, the other day I saw this video… And the kid in me though it was great – you have to give the pitcher credit, it took some guts to throw that pitch… not to mention the amazing accuracy. But it basically proved my point.

Check out the video… total awesomeness (aside from the pitch being a ball):

One thing I would have liked to see was the hitter’s reaction time if he wound up and fired a fastball on the next pitch… a pitch like that will make 90 MPH look like 150 MPH.

(Remember, pitching is all about upsetting a hitter’s timing)

Sadly, that cartoony, slow-pitch softball style Eephus just isn’t practical. But there is a pitch you can throw to get a similar effect – the Yu Darvish style “Eephus curveball.”

The whole idea here is you’re giving the hitter a totally different look, something that’s outside of his mental framework of possible pitch velocities.

And then, when you get that pitch in the back of the hitter’s mind, it gives your fastball that extra little hop (great time to elevate your fastball).

See, it’s not just about velocity… it’s what the hitter sees (or thinks he sees).

This isn’t necessarily for beginners, but once you know the right way to throw a curveball, you can start changing speeds with it, taking something off when you want to, or putting something extra on it.

The best pitchers in the game know how to do this with all of their pitches.

In fact, one of the best things you can learn as a pitcher is how to change speeds with your fastball… it’s all about adding and subtracting.

Here’s a closer look at Darvish “Pulling the String” on his Curveball

Note: the above video is actually one of the many Bonus Videos from my best-selling Curveball Mastery program. You can learn more about that here:

Now before wrapping up, a quick word of caution… The thing that makes the Eephus curve so effective is that is has to go along with a good fastball. Otherwise you’re just a junk-baller.

So don’t make the mistake of going to the well too many times, or you’ll end up like El Duque in this video here… Ouch.

Okay, so this was a pretty lighthearted post, mainly because I thought the Japanese pitcher’s Eephus pitch was just too good not to share…

But hopefully in keeping with my mission with this site, you got some valuable nuggets too.

So what do you think, should the MLB bring back the “old school” Eephus?

And if you liked the videos, share this post by clicking one of the buttons below!

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  1. CoachRyan  June 5, 2014

    That’s a great article. I just witnessed this last weekend a 13 year old kid who mixed a variety of curveballs, change ups, drop balls, knuckle balls and a good fastball (which he could spot well) to just baffle two good hitting teams on the way to winning a baseball tournament. The hitters were so off balance that he got a bunch of easy outs via dinks and K’s looking – but more importantly, he actually saved his arm because he wasn’t throwing maximum effort on very pitch. My son (also a pitcher) often tires at 60 or so pitches because he is a higher velocity 70+ kid that doesn’t throw enough off speed pitches. I have told him that a straight change is vitally important and that he can also change speeds on his fastball. If he constantly throws all hard stuff the stress on his arm from repeated maximum effort pitches causes his arm to get sore and his rest times to last longer than the pitcher actually throwing slower with more offspeed stuff. Keep in mind, that kid still a good, respectable fastball. Key is that he never throws ALL of his pitches at maximum effort. I really believe it saves his arm. He put on a clinic. It was impressive to watch.

  2. Phil Rosengren  June 9, 2014

    Thanks CoachRyan, really appreciate checking out the article, and thanks for the great comments. You make a lot of really good points. On the one hand, we don’t want to encourage kids to fall in love with their breaking ball and off-speed pitches (at the risk of never developing a good fastball). But for young pitchers who have a good fastball, they can get a lot more mileage out of their arms by learning not to go max-out on every pitch… plus it keeps the hitters guessing. Good stuff, thanks for sharing!

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