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!
Aroldis Chapman’s Four-Seam Fastball
Aroldis Chapman has been lights out to start 2021 and he was able to test himself last night against his recent arch-nemesis Mike Brosseau. The end of the Yankees’ run last post-season was cemented by Brosseau’s home run in Game 5 of the ALDS. Brosseau seemed to look for a repeat slider, but Chapman came with 101 MPH of gas that induced a late and feeble Brosseau swing.
Zack Wheeler’s Curveball
Zack Wheeler was able to harness and command his plus stuff last night against the Nats. The snap on this breaking ball to Alex Avila is beautiful and the pitch is spotted perfectly to match the quality break.
Brandon Woodruff’s Sinker
Off the top of my head, Brandon Woodruff might have the best pair of four-seam fastball and two-seam fastball/Sinker in baseball right now. Woodruff actually threw his sinker harder yesterday, and he spotted both of them well; low with the sinker and up with the four-seamer. This sinker to Paul DeJong is too close to take even if it just misses the front of the plate. A dirty pitch either way. (h/t to PL+ member CatDad).
Gerrit Cole’s Slider
Gerrit Cole is an intense presence on the mound on normal days, but he seemed particularly amped up yesterday for his start against the rival Rays. Cole was as dominant over eight innings as any Yankees starter in my almost thirty-three years on this earth. Cole seemed to toy with the Rays lineup by first overpowering them with the fastball as he mixed in breaking balls like this nasty slider at 90 MPH that looks like a fastball on the outside third before veering off the plate sharply. (h/t to PL+ member Dan).
Tejay Antone’s Curveball
Tejay Antone doesn’t seem to know exactly where the ball is going most of the time, but his sinker and curveball have so much movement, in opposite directions, that he is still able to miss bats and get strikeouts. Antone’s curveball is mesmerizing. The tilt seems unique and I love watching Antone pitch because he doesn’t seem like any other pitcher in the majors. (h/t to PL+ member AnOldOldWoodenShippy).
Emmanuel Clase’s Cutter
Emmanuel Clase and the rest of the Cleveland pitchers should talk to the front office and demand a better, more straight on, home plate camera angle. The beauty of Clase’s cutter is obscured because it’s hard to see the sharp break he gets on a pitch he throws consistently at 100 MPH. The nastiness is still apparent, but I wish I could see this pitch from the Orioles or Mariners broadcast angle.
Chasen Shreve’s Splitter
I had forgotten that true Yankee Chasen Shreve is now pitching in even more obscurity for the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates. Shreve is still reliant on his splitter/changeup, but when he’s throwing his fastball for strikes and spotting the splitter at or below the zone he is able to pitch effectively without much velocity. Shreve spots this split perfectly low and in on the corner to lefty Tucker Barnhart to get the swinging strike. (h/t to PL+ member nvita).
James Karinchak’s Curveball
James Karinchak threw one curveball for a strike last night, but it was a good one that got him out of the new age 10th inning without allowing a run. Karinchak relied on his fastball and used the curve sparingly before spotting this one well. Karinchak was amped up and showed the exuberance that the players and league office should allow without the threat of future violence via beanball. (h/t to PL+ member saggy).
Eduardo Rodriguez’s Changeup
It’s great to see Eduardo Rodriguez healthy and pitching effectively after his tough recovery from COVID-19 in 2020. Rodriguez has been the one Red Sox player I didn’t mind having on my team as a Yankees fan for some time. I’m a sucker for pitchers with low BB/9s and two good off-speed pitches. Rodriguez throws the modern diving, changeup extremely well.
Sonny Gray’s Slider
Sonny Gray is the quiet assassin. A whirling dervish. It’s a joy to watch the ball explode from Gray’s hand. Enjoy this slider that looks like a fastball off the plate, but perhaps too close to take before it takes a left turn and ends up close to the opposite batter’s box. Phillip Evans was made to look like a fool. That’s not fair, Evans is no fool, he’s just a hitter trying to stay in the majors in 2021. Failure is almost assured. (h/t to PL+ member Burial).
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns of Twitter)