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.
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Jimmy Herget’s Slider
This is some absolutely legendary stuff. Often times when a batter strikes out on a pitch that hits him, it’s a low breaking ball that grazes his foot or something. For Francisco Mejía, the ball drills him in the thigh as he waves over the pitch. Surprisingly, this wasn’t the only time today that a low-slot pitcher struck out a catcher on a hit-by-pitch, as Scott Effross of the Cubs got Padres backstop Jorge Alfaro on a crazy sinker (spoiler alert).
Scott Effross’ Sinker
I didn’t use the pitch that hit Alfaro because using it twice in a row feels like a cheat code, but this pitch might be even nastier. In this game, Effross threw seven sinkers that averaged a nutty 27 inches of horizontal run, comfortably pacing the league in that metric. When you pair it with a sweeping slider that he also throws with regularity, Effross has two pitches that can have over three feet of vertical separation from each other. Good luck hitting that.
Shane McClanahan’s Curveball
What a pitch, perfectly painted on the corner for the swinging strikeout. McClanahan has absolutely dominant stuff, with a heater pushing triple digits from the left side as well as an impressive secondary package including this curveball. He’s kicked it into a new gear this year especially against opposite-handed hitters, reducing the usage of his slider while instead opting for a much-improved curveball and changeup. With pitches like this, it’s easy to see why McClanahan leads the AL in strikeouts.
Ryan Pepiot’s Changeup
Would you believe me if I told you a pitch this nasty came in just the third pitch of Pepiot’s career? The former third-round pick by the Dodgers made his major league debut today, tossing three scoreless innings against the Pirates. This change-piece is his best pitch by far, with an incredible amount of movement that made hitters look silly. While his control and breaking ball quality may push him to the bullpen in the long term, his changeup will always be filthy, no matter his role.
Miles Mikolas’ Curveball
Mikolas has had a wild career, beginning with the Padres and Rangers, then with the Yomiuri Giants of NPB, and now back to the majors with the Cardinals. He’s had an incredible stint in St. Louis including an All-Star appearance, and he looks like he’s on track for another one, with a 1.49 ERA in seven starts so far. While it’s his third most used pitch, this big overhand curveball is an absolute machine and a great change of pace from his other pitches.
Nick Martinez’ Changeup
Speaking of Rangers and Padres who’ve played professionally in Japan, Martinez has been another success story this season. He’s been a solid contributor to a Padres rotation that has been in desperate need of depth over the past couple years. His best pitch is this changeup, which had an impressive 8/29 whiffs on the day.
Shohei Ohtani’s Curveball
The past week has been a big one for Ohtani, as he struck out 11 over seven scoreless innings in his last start and hit his first career grand slam just a few days later. Today, he didn’t have the raw stuff he brought to Boston last time out, but he didn’t sacrifice effectiveness, tossing six innings of one-run ball. His slider and splitter weren’t great today, but his seldom-used curveball led the way today with a 50% CSW.
Sandy Alcantara’s Changeup
You know the awesome thing about throwing upper-90s gas? Your secondary pitches are also thrown with ridiculous velocity. Alcantara has struggled with feel for the changeup in the past, but it was locked in today. He threw it nearly half the time, more than any other pitch, and all six of his strikeouts were recorded with changeups. One of the reasons it’s so hard to hit? It averaged 92.1 mph, just a tick below opposing starter Merrill Kelly’s fastball. It also ran 10 whiffs and a 34% CSW.
Michael King’s Curveball
King is starting to become a regular feature on this article, and it only takes a three-second video clip to see why. He’s been pitching out of the bullpen but in multi-inning outings, averaging two innings per game this year. He has a 1.35 ERA, 1.45 FIP, and over 13 strikeouts per nine innings, and this sweeper, or “whirly” breaking ball as the Yankees like to call it, is a huge reason why.
Tommy Kahnle’s Changeup
It seems that the Dodgers bullpen got jealous of Ryan Pepiot‘s changeup and wanted in on the action themselves. Last week, he pitched for the first time since 2020 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and has looked really solid, with a 33% CSW in his limited time back. He’s another crucial piece of a Dodgers bullpen where seemingly everyone is elite.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)