Every morning, the We Love Baseball crew reviews the Nastiest Pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious high-definition GIFs. We want to bring you the highest caliber of nastiness possible, so if you see a nasty pitch, please tell us about it. You can tweet @PitcherList to let us know and we’ll give you a shout-out here in the article if your tip makes the cut.
As a bonus for PL+ members, let us know about a pitch on the PL+ Discord in the Nasty Pitches Channel, and if your suggestion is included the next day, you’ll be entered into a weekly drawing for a free T-shirt!
Jacob deGrom‘s Changeup
Jacob deGrom gave Mets fans a scare with his back tweak during Summer Camp, but he showed no ill effects on Opening Day. deGrom started fastball heavy and regularly hit the upper-nineties throughout the game. His first non-fastball was this high-powered changeup that it seems Ozzie Albies was not expecting. deGrom is primed to contend for another Cy Young award and maybe, a playoff spot. It’s certainly easier to make the playoffs from now on. (H/T to PL Staff Zach Hayes)
Kyle Hendricks‘ Changeup
This pitch, in comparison to the deGrom one above, exhibits how a changeup’s effectiveness isn’t about how fast or slow one is thrown, but rather how well it plays off a pitcher’s fastball. Hendricks doesn’t throw his fastball 90 mph, and yet deGrom can run his changeup up to 93 mph. Baseball is interesting and odd, especially pitching.
Jose Alvarado‘s Slider
Jose Alvarado knew where the ball was going yesterday, and when Alvarado is hitting enough targets, he has vicious Wiffle ball-like stuff that he throws at an elite velocity level. The Rays’ bullpen flies under the radar, but it has Alvarado, Diego Castillo, and Nick Anderson on the back end and depth to the last man. (H/T to PL VP Alex Fast)
Edwin Diaz‘s Four-Seam Fastball
Edwin Diaz had a disappointing 2019 season, to say the least. Even in a down year, Diaz showed flashes of the pitcher Mariners fans saw and that Mets fans wanted to become acquainted with. Diaz missed bats at an elite level in 2019, and he showed on Opening Day that it is bound to continue in 2020. Hopefully, Diaz can build on a confident first appearance that closed out a 1-0 win for the Mets. (H/T to fellow GIF creator Donny Moskovits for the tip.)
Charlie Morton‘s Curveball
Charlie Morton was far from his best on a night where he let up a lot of hard contact. Morton has one of the best curveballs in baseball from the right side. In a couple of days, his lefty counterpart on the Rays, Blake Snell, will show his elite curveball from the left side. The Rays have a high ceiling as a team that scares me as a Yankees fan. (H/T to PL+ member Joshua “T-Bone” Botelho for the tip.)
Sonny Gray‘s Sinker
Sonny Gray is just a little bit more fun to watch because, compared to the mostly oversized humans who play baseball, he looks like he may not have a driver’s license. That’s part of the beauty of baseball. Gray was great yesterday, and if the Reds put everything together he may be starting a home playoff game this year.
Justin Verlander‘s Slider
Kyle Lewis hit a BIG fly off Verlander in his first at-bat, and Verlander came back in this at-bat with three sliders to let the rookie know who’s the boss in the AL West. The last of Verlander’s sliders had a sharp break that took the ball right to the outside corner. Filthy.
Shane Bieber‘s Four-Seam Fastball
Shane Bieber is quieter than the rambunctious Mike Clevinger and seems to fall into the shadows, somewhat, on the national media scene. If Bieber keeps striking out hitters like he did last night, 14 times, he’ll stand out as the ace on the Cleveland baseball team and push for a Cy Young award in the AL.
Aaron Nola‘s Knuckle-curve
On a night I’m writing Nastiest Pitches, if I see Aaron Nola is pitching I know that he’s likely to throw at least one pitch worthy of placement. It could be his two-seamer, it could be his changeup that he threw a bunch yesterday, but it’s more likely than not his big breaking ball that he uses to finish off hitters like Garrett Cooper. (H/T to PL+ member Alan Sawczynec for the tip.)
Jalen Beeks‘ Changeup
Jalen Beeks is a unique pitcher in the diverse Rays bullpen. Beeks looks like a shot putter the way he sits on his back leg before firing toward the plate. It may be weird, but it works pretty well, as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. can attest. This changeup looks like a fastball that Vlad can destroy until it tails off the plate and the bat of Vlad. It’s an aesthetically pleasing pitch. (H/T to PL+ member Burial.)
GIF of the Night
Which was your favorite pitch? Vote below, and the winner may be featured in our Nastiest Pitches tournament midway through the season.