December 5, 2020

Taking a Look at Spin Mirroring (FanGraphs)


There are a myriad of things pitchers can do to get a leg up on a hitter. Changing speeds, eye level, sequencing, and even spin rate are a few of the more popular methods. Changing speeds can interfere with a hitter’s timing, while changing eye levels can force a hitter to adjust to a larger focal point. Varying pitch selection based on the situation can help a pitcher become less predictable, and changing the spin rate can have an effect on the expected movement of a pitch.

But there are other subtle tricks pitchers have up their sleeves. One of these tricks, explored in an article for The Athletic by Joe Schwarz and elaborated on in another by Eno Sarris, is known as pitch or spin mirroring, and with the right pitch attributes, it can be a powerful weapon.

Being able to spot a pitch’s spin can tip a hitter off to what is coming, a skill some hitters claim to have. That’s a big advantage to have in a decision that transpires over the course of milliseconds. When pitches are spinning over 2000 times a minute, is the human eye really that good? Perhaps. As Preston Wilson points out in the piece linked to above, a hitter might see “more white or more red,” which…

Read “Taking a Look at Spin Mirroring” at FanGraphs