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The 10 Nastiest Pitches From Saturday

Tons of filthy breaking balls.

Every morning, the We Love Baseball crew reviews the Nastiest Pitches from the previous day’s games. If you see something you think should be included here be sure to tweet @PitcherList to let us know. Or, if you’re a PL+ Member and part of our Discord, shout it out in the Nastiest Pitches channel. If your suggestion is included the next day, you’ll be entered into a weekly drawing for a free t-shirt. If you’re not already a PL+ member, you’re missing out!

 

Mark Melancon’s Curveball

 

 

This guy just refuses to age.  While he’s 37 and playing for his ninth team, Melancon still had an ERA hovering around 1 before this appearance.  While he sadly blew this chance at his 250th career save today, he gave us this incredible breaker to watch and enjoy.

 

Kevin Gausman’s Slider

 

 

I’ve said before that putting Gausman on Nastiest Pitches and not using his splitter is like going to a steakhouse and ordering the salmon, but this slider is just too good to pass up.  Out of the hand, this pitch looks like it’s just floating in the zone, but it has enough late, sharp movement to drop under the bat of the slumping Franmil Reyes and paint the corner of the zone.  Gausman has been the best starter in baseball this year, and the development of his slider has been a big part of it.  It’s a small sample still, but he’s running a career high chase rate and swinging strike rate with the breaker.

 

Jhoan Duran’s Fastball

 

 

Duran has been an absolute sensation for the Twins, and one of the most dominant relievers in the league.  You’ve seen his “splinker”, a high-90s sinker/splitter combination here many times, but he also throws absolute gas.  This pitch clocked in at 102.6, but the heater right before it was at 102.8.  Duran only has 14 major league innings under his belt, but he can already out-stuff nearly every other pitcher in baseball.

 

Clayton Kershaw’s Slider

 

 

Despite battling injuries for the past half-decade, Kershaw appears to have returned to his MVP form.  Through five starts, he has the best SIERA of his entire career, and he’s struck out 32 batters while walking just three.  This slider is a huge part of why – even as his fastball velocity has declined, the speed and bite of his slider has not.  I submit this as the best individual pitch of this century, fitting that it comes from the best hurler of his generation.

 

Framber Valdez‘ Curveball

 

 

This is only one GIF, but you should know how this at-bat went.  Strike one, curveball at the bottom of the zone.  Strike two, curveball below the zone.  Strike three, curveball below the zone.  Willi Castro saw the same pitch three times and struck out on three pitches.  This curveball is one of my favorite pitches in all of baseball, this one came in at a spin rate over 3000 rpm and it had over 17 inches of induced vertical drop.

 

Ryan Pressly’s Slider

 

 

Speaking of Houston Astros pitchers who can spin the everloving h*ck out of a breaking ball, Pressly absolutely carved up the meat of the Tigers order to lock down a one-run save.  While his curveball absolutely dominates spin rate leaderboards, his slider is also an elite pitch.  Last season, batters hit just .159 against it, and this wild whiff from Javier Báez shows exactly why.

 

Eduardo Rodriguez‘ Changeup

 

 

Rodriguez has quite an interesting profile as a starter, given that his two main secondaries (changeup and cutter) are both best used against opposite-handed batters.  In a small sample this year, righties have put up an OPS of just .520 against him.  This changeup has the highest whiff rate of any of his pitches this year, and he got a big swinging strike against the hot rookie Jeremy Peña here.

 

Drew Rasmussen’s Slider

 

 

Coming over as the main piece in the Willy Adames trade last year with the Brewers, the Rays made the bold decision to let Rasmussen start despite many evaluators questioning whether or not he had a third pitch.  While he’s not putting up Max Scherzer levels of volume, he’s clearly proven the haters wrong.  In 87 innings as a Ray, Rasmussen has an incredible ERA of just 2.59.  His best pitch is this slider, which has swinging strike rates well above the league average.

 

Triston McKenzie’s Curveball

 

 

This pitch is just visually beautiful.  It starts out down the middle of the plate, and dives right under beneath the bat of Teoscar Hernández.  McKenzie embraces a north-south approach while on the mound, pairing a flat four-seam fastball with a curveball with plenty of horizontal drop.  An underrated part of this pitch is its full foot of horizontal sweep, making it a two-planed weapon.

 

Keegan Thompson’s Slider

 

 

Thompson throws a slider, and he throws it hard, almost like a cutter.  Despite coming in at nearly 90 miles per hour, it still has plenty of horizontal movement and is immaculately located right on the low and outside corner.

 

What Was The Nastiest Pitch From Saturday 5/7?

 

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns of Twitter)

Kyle Kishimoto

Kyle is a writer for PitcherList, primarily working with GIFs and writing for the Nastiest Pitches team. He is currently a college student studying to become a high school teacher. Kyle's main interests around baseball include analytics, prospects, and baseball cards.

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