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!
Nate Pearson’s Slider
Oh, what a glorious debut from the 23-year-old Toronto Blue Jays righty, Nate Pearson. Major League Baseball has Pearson at #8 in its Top 100 Prospects list and everyone at Pitcher List was eagerly awaiting what was in store from this first outing against the reigning World Series Champions, the Washington Nationals. If you have not checked out Nick Pollack’s deep dive into his debut, then you really should…like now!
Here, Pearson baffles Victor Robles into a half swing thanks to a ripping 85 mph slider that is tantalizingly low thanks to its vicious late break. Pearson had a rocky 4th-inning, which could have easily unsettled him like it does so many young pitchers, so to see him come back with this lovely slider made this pitch not only nasty but one of his most important in the outing. Thanks to PL+ member, Grace for the tip-off in the Discord channel!
Frankie Montas‘ Four-Seam Fastball
Frankie Montas looked like a frontline starter last season for the Athletics before a suspension for PEDS curtailed his momentum. After impressing through four innings as the Opening Day starter by giving up just 1 run on 3 hits in the 7-3 win over the Angels, Montas dominated the Rockies early and this electric 97 mph fastball to ring up Nolan Arenado is as good as a heater you’ll ever see, nicking the outside of the zone, low and away from the right-hander.
Jesus Luzardo’s Slider
We all took a deep breath and sighed when the news broke of Jesus Luzardo’s positive COVID-19 test a few weeks back. The promising Peruvian lefty made a mouth-watering cameo towards the end of last season and the thought of yet another issue derailing a season for Oakland’s top pitching prospect was too much for this pitching lover. However, Luzardo has recovered and is currently building up his innings count to move from the bullpen to a starting role. Here is a taste of what’s to come – a devastating 86 mph hard slider low and away to the left-handed Daniel Murphy. Yummy!
Max Scherzer’s Curveball
Max Scherzer set new intensity levels for “mood” on a day off earlier in the week, and it seemed to serve him well as he looked rested and focussed for this outing up against new kid on the block, Nate Pearson. The master was sure to teach the apprentice a thing or two early on, like this wicked curveball to Rowdy Tellez that starts high and outside before dropping neatly inside the strike zone. Hat tip to PL+ member Ben Bingham for this one.
Sonny Gray’s Two-Seam Fastball
Sonny Gray could be the best pitcher in baseball right now. Another commanding performance across 6 2/3 innings saw Gray fan 11 and allow only 1 hit all night, bringing his ERA on the season to 0.71. Here, he rings up Nico Hoerner with an unhittable two-seam fastball right on the outside corner. Tasty!
Chris Paddack’s Changeup
Chris Paddack is everything I hoped he would be so far this season. This 85 mph changeup with movement inside seems to linger tentatively for a moment before crashing down with a nasty bite on the unfortunately named Chadwick Tromp.
Cristian Javier’s Curveball
Another day, another debutant. The Houston Astros rolled out 23-year-old prospect Christian Javier for the start and the young Dominican balled out to the tune of 8 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. The best of them was this filthy sweeping 81 mph curve to dispose of Austin Barnes.
Dustin May’s Sinker
It seems almost criminal now, the decision by the Dodgers to not include Dustin May on their 30-man roster at the start of the season. After a couple of injuries and opt-outs, the flame-haired young Texan has found himself catapulted into a key role. Nervous? Not at all. Two solid starts and he continues to deal, check out this spicy 98 mph heater, angled beautifully away from Yuri Gurriel and nesting in a perfect spot on the outside of the strike zone.
Dennis Santana’s Slider
“I’ll take ridiculously good sliders for 500,” please. What Dodgers pitcher had Astro Jack Mayfield whiffing at thin air in the bottom of the 12th-inning with this criminally good slider? “That would be Dennis Santana.”
Lucas Giolito’s Changeup
After what was a rough first outing for Lucas Giolito (to be fair he wasn’t helped by his defense) on Opening Day, the White Sox ace bounced back in spectacular fashion yesterday as he spurred his team to a 4-0 win over the Cleveland Indians. Giolito’s control was outstanding all night, none more so than on this beautiful north-to-south 81 mph Changeup that left slugger Franmil Reyes grimacing.
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.