What is a sweeper in baseball?

A breaking ball that sweeps horizontally

In baseball, a sweeper is a pitch that breaks horizontally across home plate, mimicking a sweeping motion, hence the name. The pitch is very similar to a slider but breaks less downward and more horizontally (good sweepers may break 20 inches).

Sweeper is one of many baseball pitches, including fastball, changeup, curveball, slider, splitter, knuckleball, and ephus. Pitchers throw a sweeper with a slider grip, but the ball & seams are rotated around in the hand, allowing other forces to act on the ball.

Origin of sweeper

While the sweeper has been around for years (at least 30) in some form, the pitch gained prominence in the MLB in 2021 into 2022 and 2023. It is unclear who coined the term, but various pitchers, like David Cone, Adam Ottavino, Sergio Romo, Corey Kluber, and Yu Darvish, have utilized it.


Ohtani with the sweeper to put out Altuve!
Wow, that really fooled him to get out of the jam
Adoption of the sweeper pitch classification
Adoption of the sweeper pitch classification

Related Slang


Updated October 12, 2023

Sweeper definition by Slang.net

This page explains what the slang term "Sweeper" means. The definition, example, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the Slang.net team.

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