It’s the off-season, which means we’re due for another 16-pitch GIF Tournament!
Later this week, we’ll be hosting the Nastiest Pitch of the Fourth Quarter GIF Tournament, featuring pitches thrown across the final six weeks of the regular season and the 2018 postseason.
There was no shortage of GIFs to choose from, making it nearly impossible to cut the field down 16. Here are the pitches that were in the conversation, but didn’t make the final cut as a quick preview of what’s to come. Which pitch deserved a place in the Tournament? Vote and let your voice be heard!
Jake Petricka’s Fastball – Turns out, Alex Bregman is a big fan of 50 Cent’s 2005 hit, “Window Shopper”. What was he supposed to do with this thing though? Up until the absolute last second it looked like Petricka missed into the lefty’s batters box.
Kyle Hendricks’s Changeup –This is the type of pitch that could lead a hitter to lose his mind and is something MLB should consider banning in 2019. If you look up “Bugs Bunny Changeup” anywhere else online, this pitch might pop up instead. This bad boy just flutters in and plops over the plate past Trea Turner‘s bat, nestling into Willson Contreras‘s mitt.
Yonny Chirinos’s Sinker – Between the late action, the depth and the ball running from the middle of the plate to the outside edge, Jace Peterson didn’t stand a chance. Not to mention this sinker was a smooth 94 MPH. Because now sinkers are all of a sudden strikeout pitches
Blake Treinen’s Fastball – “Pitches humming in at 99 MPH are not supposed to move this much, especially when they’re up in the zone,” is probably what was going through Shin-Soo Choo‘s head after he saw this pitch. Cannot confirm that to be the case, but he has that look right after the swing-and-miss.
Ryan Pressly’s Curve – What makes this one so great isn’t that it was a back-breaking curve—because it wasn’t. The movement was still great, but there’s been much crazier movement on pitches. However, not many can dot up a pitch with this much movement, which is more challenging. Martin Maldonado moves his glove up a tick at the end, but it’s to steal the strike call. He wasn’t compensating for Pressly because he actually did exactly what he set out to do on that pitch.
Adam Wainwright’s Curve – He may not be as good as he once was, but Wainwright is sure good once as he ever was. This is vintage. In fact, there’s a good chance Javier Baez hasn’t seen a curveball this good from Wainwright before. Combine that with the insane depth and no one stands a chance on this pitch.
Max Scherzer’s Slider – In the “Year of the Slider” on the Baseball Zodiac (it’s a thing, or should be if it isn’t), Scherzer had some of the best ones. He couldn’t make the list this time around, which will probably upset the one writer who voted for him in the NL Cy Young race, but you can be sure he’ll churn out a few more of these in 2019.
Gerrit Cole’s Slider – Thankfully, Houston has a solid camera angle for pitches. But even then it still took a slow-motion close-up to fully capture how ridiculous this Cole slider was. The spin on this baby is so tight it couldn’t wait to run off the outside edge and away from Yan Gomes.
Dylan Covey’s Changeup– As much as someone already declared this the “Year of the Slider,” there were some unbelievable changeups this year, Covey’s being one of them. The beauty of this one is you don’t need a good camera angle to capture the ridiculousness of it. You can see the thing come in belt-high and just bottom out before it gets past Adam Rosales.
Sergio Romo Changeup – Texas doesn’t exactly have one of the better camera angles to fully appreciate pitches. You can pick up the depth easily no matter what angle, but the horizontal movement isn’t always easy, which is part of why Romo’s changeup is so impressive. This pitch catches a flat tire just before it gets to Willie Calhoun. But it didn’t just drop like a bad habit. Romo’s offering ran like a lineman heading for Thanksgiving dinner, redefining Calhoun’s idea of a good changeup.
Which one of these pitches most deserved to be included in tomorrow’s tournament?