What is the gyroball?

Updated: 4/27/2022
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Gyroball is the name given to a unique Baseball pitch used primarily by players in Japan. The pitch was developed by a Japanese scientist, Ryutaro Himeno, and a baseball instructor, Kazushi Tezuka, who used computer simulations to create a new style of delivery intended to reduce stress on the pitcher. They published their work in a book, currently available only in Japan, whose title is roughly translated as, The Secret of the Miracle Pitch.

Tezuka got the idea "in 1995, when he found an American toy in a Japanese store. It is called the X-Zylo Ultra, and its use of a gyroscope � a device that uses inertia to balance itself � allows it to fly more than 500 feet when thrown."

Amid many conflicting claims, Tezuka says the gyroball has been misunderstood.

According to Himeno and Tezuka, a gyroball is thrown so that, at the point of release, instead of having the pitcher's arm move inwards towards the body (the standard method used in the United States), the pitcher rotates his arm so that it moves away from his body, toward 3rd base for a right-handed pitcher and toward 1st base for a left-handed pitcher.

However, the technique to throwing the gyroball is all in the legs, not in the unique grip of the baseball. Kazushi Tezuka is an instructor at the Beta Endorphin baseball dojo in Tokyo, Japan. "This," says Tezuka, as he grabs his thigh, "is the most important part of throwing the gyroball. It has nothing to do with the hands."

The unusual method of delivery creates a bullet-like spin on the ball with the axis of spin in line with the direction of the throw, similar to the way an American football is thrown. According to Tezuka, the pitch, if thrown correctly, is meant to fly straight like a fastball. In baseball, most pitches are thrown with backspin, like the fastball, or with a more forward spinning motion, like the curveball and the slider.

Batters use the arm speed of the pitcher and the spin on a baseball, highlighted by the seams, to judge the speed and movement of the ball. The gyroball is thrown with the arm speed of a fastball but goes slightly slower, and since it has a bullet-like spinning motion, on occasion (when the seams are hidden from view of the batter) it will make experienced batters swing wildly at the ball. The strategy behind the gyroball is that after throwing many variations of sliders, the gyroball is thrown, and thinking that the spin on the ball means that it is slider, the batter would hit it that way. But since the gyroball goes straight, the batter's hit is incorrect, and a strike can easily be achieved.

The gyroball is also often confused with a completely different Japanese pitch called the shuuto, due to an error in a well-known article by baseball writer Will Carroll. Although Carroll later corrected himself, the confusion still persists.

The gyroball appears in the popular manga and anime series MAJOR.

In the video game MLB 07: The Show, only the player named Tate Baik (who is on the Red Sox roster and represents Daisuke Matsuzaka) has the ability to throw the gyroball.

Even though it is said that Daisuke Matsuzaka can throw a gyroball, he has never admitted to it.

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Q: What is the gyroball?
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What is the gyroball baseball?

No/MaybeWhile a Gyroball is thrown with a wrist action as a screwball, such that the spin looks similar, it is not exactly the same thing the same thing as a screwball. A good comparable would be the difference between a 2 seam sinking fastball and a shuuto pitch. These are achieved through similar types of differential pressure along the seams of the ball using the index and middle fingers and are thrown with a similar arm speed, but the wrist action and arm action causes the sinker to drop and the shuuto to tail as it loses velocity.The gyroballs main purpose is to create the illusion that it is slowing down before the plate and at that point it drops fast over the plate. It is mostly ment to be an illusion to confuse the batter. Its effect is more like a mix between a changeup and a sinker.

Who do you think throws the best... Sinker Four Seam Two Seam Changeup Circle Change Slider Curveball Slurve Knuckleball Knucklecurve Cutter Splitter Palmball Forkball Screwball Gyro Shuuto?

This is a rather subjective question because each batter in MLB has their own strengths and weaknesses, thus have differing opinions on what is hard to hit and what is easy to hit. For instance, if you watch major league baseball, you know the announcers refer to a batter as a "fastball hitter" or a "junk hitter." This is because some batters have superior hand-eye-bat coordination, but may not have as much explosive power and speed required to hit a 100+ MPH fastball or vice-versa. Also, how do you define "best?" For a 4-Seam Fastball is the best one defined as the hardest or the one with the best movement? To remedy this dilemma, I will list two pitchers for each pitch and define WHY their respective pitches are considered the best, and the pitcher that had the best pitch overall (all time). Sinker- Brandon Webb (Texas Rangers) and Chien Ming Wang (Washington Nationals) These two pitchers are consistently considered the best sinkerball pitchers in Major League Baseball. They both throw a sinker at a high velocity (90-94 mph), and with incredible downward movement. (approximately 10 inches) and with great lateral (horizontal) movement. A sinker coming from a right handed pitcher (both Webb and Wang) also begins at the center of the plate and will move to the right of the pitcher, or towards the batter. Best All Time: Brandon Webb Four Seam Fastball- Aroldis Chapman (Cincinnati Reds) and Felix Hernandez (Seattle Mariners) Aroldis Chapman possesses the undoubtedly fastest four seam fastball (Averages 101.3 MPH). A 105 MPH fastball explodes from his hands towards the batter, giving the batter approximately a third of a second to decide to swing or not, where to swing, how hard to swing, and to suppress the desire to back out of the box. Felix Hernandez possesses the best fastball for a starter, as he averages 96.2 MPH. Honorable Mention: Ubaldo Jimenez Best All Time: Nolan Ryan, Walter Johnson, Sandy Koufax, Aroldis Chapman (Fastest recorded pitch in major league baseball) Two Seam Fastball- Tim Lincecum (San Francisco Giants) and Jake Peavy (Chicago White Sox) Tim Lincecum throws his 2-Seamer at about 92-94 MPH. However, it has significant downwards movement (about 6 inches) and his unique, corkscrew delivery and long stride in conjunction make the pitch seem much faster as he releases it 53 Feet from the plate as opposed to 55 Feet away from home. Jake Peavy throws his Two Seamer at about 88-90 MPH, with incredible lateral movement in on the batter. He releases his pitch from a very low three quarter delivery, giving the pitch extra movement. Best All Time: Greg Maddux (Straight) Changeup: Brandon League (Seattle Mariners) and Ubaldo Jimenez (Colorado Rockies) The straight changeup is a rare pitch in baseball, the circle changeup replacing it as the premier off speed pitch. However, a straight change, while more difficult to master, can have devastating results. Best All Time: Mike Mussina Circle Changeup: Johan Santana (New York Mets) and Cole Hamels (Philadelphia Phillies) The circle changeup, a modified version of the straight changeup, is undoubtedly the hardest off-speed pitch to master, but the off speed pitch that once mastered, will be your best. Johan Santana is known for his devastating circle changeup. The pitch, while slower than a fastball but released with the same arm speed and arm slot, also has screwball-like motion (in towards a lefty for a LHP, in towards a righty for a RHP). Cole Hamels also has an amazing circle changeup, one that will probably overtake Johan Santana's. Best All Time: Tom Glavine Slider: Francisco Rodriguez (New York Mets), Tim Lincecum The slider is a hybrid of a fastball and a curveball. It has sharp break as opposed to a fastball or slow curveball and has higher velocity than a curveball. Francisco Rodriguez possesses an effective slider that starts behind a batter, and moves to just nip the inside edge of the plate. Lincecum's slider, coming in at 87 MPH, has considerable downwards action to go with good lateral action, providing one of the best pitches in baseball. Best All Time: Randy Johnson, Steve Carlton Curveball: Tim Lincecum, Zach Greinke (Milwaukee Brewers) The curveball is a pitch designed to exploit the magnus effect. It creates a pocket of air around itself, combined with the forespin of the ball, making the ball drop, reaching break of about 48 inches. It can also bend to the left of the pitcher, making the batter believe he will be hit with the pitch when it suddenly moves in to catch the black of the inner half. Both Lincecum and Greinke possess amazingly effective curveballs, both of which have incredible downwards action. Honorable mention here goes to Barry Zito who before his collapse with the Giants, had UNDOUBTEDLY the best of the best 12-6 curveballs in baseball. Because so many major leaguers throw a curveball, I'll throw in some extras. -Wandy Rodriguez (Houston Astros), Adam Wainwright (Saint Louis Cardinals) Best All Time: Sandy Koufax, Burt Blyleven Knucklecurve: AJ Burnett (New York Yankees) and Cliff Lee (Philadelphia Phillies) The knucklecurve is a curveball thrown with one or more of the main fingers (index and middle fingers) bent. This supposedly increases the amount of spin that one may impart on the ball. AJ Burnett, a pitcher with perhaps the most "electric" stuff in baseball, has mastered the knuckle curve. At least the movement part. When it is on, it is literally unhittable, coming to the plate in the low 80's and nearly breaking into the dirt. Cliff Lee takes a more controlled approach to the knucklecurve, using in in a 12-6 manner. 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Best All Time: Roger Clemens, Bruce Sutter, Curt Schilling, David Cone Palmball: Trevor Hoffman The palmball is a changeup thrown with the ball deep in the hand in the palm. Trevor Hoffman, while at a declining age, made his outstanding career on the palmball, saving an astounding 601 games. Best All Time: Trevor Hoffman Forkball: Tim Lincecum, Jose Contreras The Forkball is a pitch thrown with the ring and index fingers spread across the ball, splitting or nearly splitting the ball in half. The thumb underneath the ball causes the ball to "slip" out of the fingers with a lack of spin and drop anywhere from 18 inches to four feet. Lincecum calls his forkball a changeup. However, he grips it like a forkball, throws it like a forkball and it has the movement of a forkball. Therefore it is a forkball. Jose Contreras also throws an effective forkball. Best All Time: Hideo Nomo, Tim Lincecum Screwball: No one really throws a true screwball today. Best In History: Fernando Valenzuela, Carl Hubbell, Christy Mathewson, Juan Marichal Gyroball: No one in Major League Baseball throws a gyroball officially. A misconception of the gyroball is that it has screwball movement. However, a Gyroball (developed by Kezushi Tezuka) is supposed to go stright with little to no movement like a fastball. Notable Gyroballs: Daisuke Matsuzaka (?), CJ Wilson (?), Jered Weaver (?) Shuuto: Daisuke Matsuzaka A Shuuto is simply a two seam fastball with less break but more velocity than a slider. It also moves in to a right handed batter for a right handed pitcher. Best All Time: Greg Maddux Please note that these are opinions and should not be taken too seriously. If I forgot a pitcher, please make note.

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