PitcherList - 2500x2500 - No Boarder

Guest Article: The Best Pitches Of 2014

|

Today we have a guest article written by Joshua Cline, a baseball nerd and former little league star. Follow him on twitter @joshuacline99.

A successful pitcher needs to have pitches that will fool the batter, pitches that make everyone who is watching drop their jaw in astonishment. Take a look at the most jaw-droppingly effective pitches thrown last year paired with GIFs courtesy of Pitcher List.

All GIFs are taken from the 2014 season.

Masahiro Tanaka’s Splitter

The Yankees made a $175 million commitment to Tanaka in the 2014 offseason. A big reason the Yankees felt comfortable giving him that money was because of his Splitter. The pitch ranked 2nd in Fangraphs Pitch Value coming in at 12.1 RAA (Runs Above Average). He came only 0.8 RAA behind Hiroki Kuroda despite throwing over 300 less Splitters because of an injury. Tanaka’s Splitter hits the triple crown of traits for good pitches – velocity, generates groundballs, and gets whiffs. Among all pitchers who threw at least 300 splitters, he ranked 1st in whiffs/swing (46%), groundballs per balls in play (69%), and 2nd in velocity (87.27 MPH).

GIF night zx

Corey Kluber’s Slider + The Best Pitches From Wednesday’s Games

|

Every morning we review the five best pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious HD GIFs.  Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the “GIF of the Week”.  Did we miss your favorite pitch?  Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we’ll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

Corey Kluber‘s Slider – So the pitch itself doesn’t look too spectacular, even though it buckled the knees of Alex Rios.  However, once you get the behind-the-plate angle, you begin to realize how tough it is to hit Kluber’s breaker.  I think we’d all have missed this one.

SP Roundup qw

Dustin’ Off Justin

|

It took him eight starts, but Justin Verlander finally had that one dominant start that gets you to heavily consider picking him up after going 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks against the…Tampa Bay Rays?!  I watched some of this start, and he started off the game getting some calls he didn’t deseve as he struck out the side, finishing with a Curve in the dirt that would have been ball four.  Then nearly every other K was on a Fastball that got a bunch of the plate, and the Rays just weren’t squaring up.  It all just seemed to go Verlander’s way instead of him suffocating his opponents with pure stuff.  But let’s imagine that the Rays aren’t a below average ballclub, I’m still not touching Justin.  He’s way too volatile and he hadn’t fanned over 6 batters in all of seven starts prior to this one.  If you need a prayer in the K department, fine I don’t blame you, but for the rest of us there are plenty of other pitches in the sea.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

GIF night zx

Yohan Flande’s Changeup + The Best Pitches From Tuesday’s Games

|

Every morning we review the five best pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious HD GIFs.  Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the “GIF of the Week”.  Did we miss your favorite pitch?  Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we’ll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

Yohan Flande‘s Changeup – It was his first start of the season, and Flande did a solid job of shutting down the power bats of the Cubs.  He did well from the beginning, as he struck out Dexter Fowler on a Changeup that never stopped diving inside.

SP Roundup qw

It’s A Hard Knock Life

|

Let’s take a moment to talk about Jordan Zimmermann.  He’s the archetype for pitchers who focus on elite ERA/WHIP numbers while lacking a bit in the K department, and was expected to sit with a near 3.00 ERA and a WHIP under 1.15.  Well, he’s been struggling to get there this season and after last night’s outing of 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks he now holds a 3.36 ERA and 1.25 WHIP.  Not horrible numbers, but when you’re stomaching a low strikeout rate and sacrificing 1/3 of the stats that starters can control (Wins are very finicky, Drew Hutchison is 9-2 this year), you best be getting an excellent return in the other 66%.  This is why I’m lower on guys like Keuchel, Wacha, and Miller than the rest of the pack – it’s tough to salvage starts when the ERA/WHIP isn’t there.  I understand that JZ stepped it up in 2014 and had an above average K rate, but it’s looking like a career year, and he’s back to the old ways, with the worst xFIP (3.88) he’s ever had.  He’s still in the 40s since he has a decent floor, but I would be shocked to see him change either way in the final months of the season.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

Matchups

Matchups of the Week 7/28: Three Pitchers you Need to Start

|

There is a statistical jungle in baseball, filled with so many numbers it’s easy to get lost. You’re a busy person – there’s no time for you as a fantasy owner to go out and discover the statistical gold. That’s where I come in. Every week, I’ll be out there for you, looking through stats and information databases to find the three starting pitcher matchups that stand out from the rest. They won’t always be the best pitchers and won’t always be streamers, but these are my “Matchups of the Week.”

Mike Fiers (#56 on The List) @ San Francisco Giants (Wednesday July 29th)

I swear, Mike Fiers is like the ex-girlfriend that you want to forget, but you always come back to her eventually. This will be my fourth time recommending this guy in the short time I’ve been writing this column and every time I select him, I’m always cautious of a possible implosion. Home runs and walks have always been a big deal to Fiers since he can only reach the low 90s on his Fastball and when he can’t locate, everything seems to go wrong. I feel dirty liking a pitcher with that makeup. But like always, I fall in love with the strikeouts as he ranks ninth in the NL in K/9 with a 9.32 rate. Many have been hopping on the Fiers bandwagon because of his ability to strike out and an excellent WHIP, but he never really has lived up to the hype. I could be the only one left on the bandwagon, but I will always be intrigued with this guy. This week, he gets to face a Giants team that 20th in the league in home runs hit and Fiers will get to pitch in pitcher haven AT&T Park. They don’t strike out a bunch, but the other factors of not possessing pop and pitching in San Francisco limits the potential to blow up with the longball. It’s not going to be a game where Fiers will strike out ten Giants, but it could be one where he lasts into the 7th and provides a solid start.

GIF night zx

Sergio Romo’s Slider + The Best Pitches From Monday’s Games

|

Every morning we review the five best pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious HD GIFs.  Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the “GIF of the Week”.  Did we miss your favorite pitch?  Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we’ll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

Sergio Romo’s Slider – We haven’t featured much Romo this year, but he still has his signature frisbee slider.  He ended last night’s game with a luscious slide piece to Jean Segura that darted well off the plate. (Thanks to @iSas03 for the tip!)

SP Roundup qw

Knocking On Wood

|

If there’s a pitcher that I’ve resigned and given up on, it’s Alex Wood.  After looking very promising following the 2014 season, Wood has put up a palty 6.79 K/9, 3.54 ERA (3.38 FIP, 3.87 xFIP) and raised his walks to an average 2.72 per 9.  Lat night looks to be a bit of a rebound – 7.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – but I wouldn’t get too excited. It was only the third time all season he didn’t allow a ER, and he allowed 10 ER across his previous pair of starts.  He’s not horrible and holds an okay floor, but his upside is shriveling like a thirsty plant.  If you need some stability, he’s most likely on your wire, but if you need that Hail Mary, Wood isn’t your guy.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

The List

The List 7/27: Weekly Rankings Of The Top 100 Starting Pitchers ROS

|

Every Monday, I will be releasing “The List” where I rank the current value of the Top 100 pitchers in fantasy baseball for the rest of the season.  Use these rankings to help understand what to expect from pitchers for the rest of 2015, and as a tool to gauge trade value in your fantasy leagues.

Let’s see what has changed in the SP market since last week:

The List (Click to expand table)

Current RankingPlayerPrevious RankingsWorst RankingBest Ranking
Clayton Kershaw 111
Max Scherzer262
Chris Sale343
Corey Kluber454
Zack Greinke5165
Jake Arrieta6146
Jacob DeGrom7207
Felix Hernandez 882
Jose Fernandez 9659
David Price10147
Gerrit Cole12247
Chris Archer135610
Madison Bumgarner11136
Dallas Keuchel145714
Johnny Cueto151510
Cole Hamels162110
Matt Harvey17176
Sonny Gray193616
Noah Syndergaard20Unranked19
Jon Lester213315
Francisco Liriano225420
Michael Pineda183712
Jason Hammel238222
Lance Lynn255220
Carlos Martinez266924
Carlos Carrasco242613
Michael Wacha274425
Masahiro Tanaka284024
Danny Salazar29Unranked21
Shelby Miller307429
Garrett Richards313418
Stephen Strasburg32425
Scott Kazmir355132
Jake Odorizzi335925
Lance McCullers34Unranked34
Jordan Zimmermann363713
Eduardo Rodriguez39Unranked34
A.J. Burnett377832
Tyson Ross383823
James Shields404018
Hisashi Iwakuma426223
Jose Quintana466342
Jaime Garcia47Unranked41
Chris Heston49Unranked44
Jeff Samardzija415323
Andrew Heaney 52Unranked52
Yordano Ventura535326
Taijuan Walker 458636
Gio Gonzalez445537
Kyle Hendricks48Unranked47
Mike Bolsinger55Unranked51
Hector Santiago50Unranked50
Aaron Nola70Unranked53
Collin McHugh565619
Patrick Corbin66Unranked55
Mike Fiers586237
Anibal Sanchez515834
John Lackey57Unranked56
Ervin Santana68Unranked59
Jesse Chavez54Unranked42
Julio Teheran646423
Ubaldo Jimenez43Unranked43
Andrew Cashner596336
Brett Anderson60Unranked58
Nathan Karns63Unranked62
Trevor Bauer617538
Carlos Rodon62Unranked39
Alex Wood656816
Wei-Yin Chen69Unranked69
Rubby De La Rosa71Unranked71
Mat Latos78Unranked35
Steven Matz74Unranked37
James Paxton757630
Matt Moore72Unranked68
Ivan Nova79Unranked73
C.J. Wilson80Unranked74
Mike Montgomery81Unranked77
Robbie Ray82Unranked78
Taylor Jungmann83Unranked79
Matt Shoemaker929333
Joe Ross95Unranked75
Drew Hutchison859154
Dan Haren86Unranked71
Phil Hughes889240
Brian Johnson89Unranked85
J.A. Happ90Unranked65
Jimmy Nelson939444
Edinson Volquez949964
Kevin Gausman76Unranked63
Erasmo Ramirez96Unranked90
Zack GodleyUnrankedUnranked91
Nathan EovaldiUnranked9851
Kendall Graveman77Unranked59
Matt Cain98Unranked90
Mike Leake99Unranked92
Colby LewisUnrankedUnranked96
Cody Anderson100Unranked97
Mark BuehrleUnrankedUnranked98
Chris TillmanUnrankedUnranked95
Jeremy HellicksonUnrankedUnranked82

Notes

– Nothing to report inside the Top 15 outside of Madison Bumgarner getting a slight drop as both Gerrit Cole and Chris Archer have been top notch.

GIF night zx

Carlos Martinez’s Fastball + The Best Pitches From This Weekend’s Games

|

Every morning we review the five best pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious HD GIFs.  Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the “GIF of the Week”.  Did we miss your favorite pitch?  Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we’ll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

Congrats to Clayton Kershaw’s Curveball for winning GIF of the Week!  It was a close battle with Chad Qualls’ Fastball but the signature Kershaw hook was simply too good.

Carlos Martinez‘s Fastball – Often it’s Carlos’ Changeup or Slider that steal the show, but this Fastball in on the hands of Chris Johnson left us in disbelief.  That’s 96 MPH with excellent movement as it starts along the inside corner before entering no-man’s land.