During spring training, the We Love Baseball crew is warming up for the regular season with nastiest pitches updates three times a week. Now that March is over and a full, meaningful baseball season is just one day away from commencing, we look back at the ten nastiest offerings that we saw during the spring. As always, make sure to vote on which pitch was the nastiest of the spring!
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!
Devin Williams‘ Changeup
Has Devin Williams surpassed Chaz Roe as the new king of nastiness? I certainly think so, and based on the results of our spring voting, so do most of you. William’s changeup is a thing of magic, and it’s turned him into one of the deadliest relievers in baseball. Here he uses his insane airbender to get a whiff out of Elliot Soto for a swinging strike three.
Jimmy Nelson‘s Curveball
Jimmy Nelson won’t have a slot in the Dodgers’ rotation this regular season, but that doesn’t mean he’s not capable of making outs. In 2017, Nelson posted a 21% K%-BB% and delivered a fantastic season for the Brewers. Since then, Nelson has been plagued with injuries, and he hopes to start anew in LA. He seems like his old self on this nasty curve that gets David Bote swinging for strike three.
Zach Pop’s Sinker
You probably aren’t all that familiar with Zach Pop, but he should make some relief appearances for a desperate Marlins bullpen in 2021. Pop showed off his skills well with this sinker that darts down and in on Jose Altuve, who is caught off balance on a swing-and-a-miss.
Shohei Ohtani’s Slider
This Spring Training, we saw the best and worst of Shohei Ohtani. Though the two-way extraordinaire wowed in the batter’s box, he struggled mightily on the mound. Still, I (and I imagine most baseball fans) want nothing more than for this man to succeed on both sides of the ball. Here he gave us a sneak preview of what that might look like with a wicked slider that gets Wil Myers swinging.
Pablo López‘s Changeup
Pablo López is coming off a year in which he put up career bests in ERA, K%, and SIERA, and he figures to be one of the most reliable arms in a young Marlins rotation. Here he shows off his offspeed stuff against one of the most elite first basemen in the game, Paul Goldschmidt, who swings in futility at a beautiful changeup.
José Urquidy‘s Slider
The Houston Astros will certainly miss both Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez for a sizable chunk (if not most or all) of 2021. In the meantime, that means that José Urquidy will be given a chance to contribute to the Astros rotation. Urquidy had a solid spring as he put up a 10/1 K/BB ratio. Here is the nastiest strikeout he threw in March, a slider that pulls Tyler O’Neill out of the box.
Gerrit Cole’s Knuckle-Curve
Gerrit Cole needs no introduction here. He’s one of the most dominant arms in baseball, and it will likely stay that way in 2021. Cole’s repertoire is filled to the brim with filthy offerings, including both a blazing four-seamer and a nasty curveball. Here, Cole uses the latter of those two to get Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins swinging out of the zone.
Yu Darvish’s Knuckle-Curve
Yu Darvish is yet another pitcher whose resume speaks for itself. Darvish was the NL’s runner-up in Cy Young voting in 2020, and he now leads one of the most feared rotations in all of baseball. Padres fans will certainly have fun watching Darvish throw all the various pitches in his arsenal. Here he throws a gorgeous knuckle-curve that absolutely drops out on utility-man Whit Merrifield.
Darren O’Day’s Slider
38-year-old Darren O’Day should play an important role for the Yankees in their bullpen. And if his slider is as good as it looked on this offering, he might just become one of their more vital late innings guys. Watch as the pitch runs in and just fools Tony Wolters into swinging at a pitch that ends up hitting him. Certainly, the wonky sidearm release plays a role, but make no mistake, this pitch was filthy.
Blake Treinen’s Sinker
Alright, this was a last-minute addition that bumped a nasty Ryne Harper curveball out of the running (here’s Harper’s pitch for those interested). No disrespect to Harper, but last night Blake Treinen might’ve just thrown the nastiest pitch of all spring training. Take a look at this beautiful, 100 mph sinker that moves like nothing I’ve seen before. It’s the perfect capper to a fantastic Spring Training.