Baseball America

SPIN TO WIN

One of baseball’s oldest catchphrases is “spin to win.” For most of the game’s history, it referred to the success a pitcher could have with a particularly nasty curveball.

Now, as analytics and technology have found new ways to quantify the various qualities of pitches, the thought is universal:

The higher the spin, the bigger the win.

That philosophy is particularly evident in the north-south pitching strategy that has become en vogue across all levels of the game. The theory is simple: Throw a high-spin fastball at the top of the strike zone, then pair it with a high-spin curveball that starts at the top of the zone before diving sharply. If executed correctly, the result should be plenty of swings and misses.

“All this stuff started several years

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