I’m in the midst of my pitch review series, taking a look at the best of each pitch type from last season, and today we’re going to take a look at the best sliders from 2019, ranked by pVAL.
If you want more of an explanation of this series, check out the top curveballs article, and also check out the top changeups article!
But enough intro, let’s get to the pitches!
No. 5: Marcus Stroman
After a season in which he put up a ghastly 5.54 ERA, Marcus Stroman had a really nice year with the Toronto Blue Jays and later the New York Mets, posting a 3.22 ERA with a 20.5% strikeout rate.
That was partly thanks to this fantastic slider, which looked better than it ever has last year, posting a 40% chase rate, 41.3% zone rate, 16.5% SwStr rate (insert money pitch sound), .188 wOBA against, and .072 ISO against, on its way to an excellent 21.1 pVAL, the best pVAL he’s ever had in his career.
Unfortunately, aside from his slider, he didn’t have much else, which is worrisome to me. Also worrisome? His 4.41 SIERA. Here’s hoping that slider keeps working like it did last year.
No. 4: Jacob DeGrom
Not to be a joykill, but most of the guys on this list are going to be pretty obvious, and Jacob DeGrom is the first of them. The reigning Cy Young champ was once again incredible last year, with a 2.43 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 31.7% strikeout rate.
As you might expect with DeGrom, he’s got a lot of very good pitches. In fact, he’s got three pitches (including this slider) with double-digit pVALs and not a single pitch with a negative pVAL, which is equally as impressive.
This slider though might be his best. Last year it had a 44.3% chase rate, 18.7% SwStr rate, .217 wOBA against, and .087 ISO against, along with a 21.8 pVAL. So I think I’m safe saying that Jacob DeGrom is probably a pretty good pitcher.
No. 3: Patrick Corbin
If there’s any pitch that Patrick Corbin is known for, it’s his slider, and for good reason—it’s a phenomenal pitch. Last year the pitch had a 48.3% chase rate, 46.5% zone rate, 27.6% SwStr rate (money pitch!), .200 wOBA against, and a .107 ISO against with a 21.9 pVAL.
It’s also the pitch he throws more than any other, throwing it over 1,200 times last year. But I mean, if your slider was as good as Patrick Corbin’s, wouldn’t you?
Overall Corbin put up a year similar to 2018 with a 3.25 ERA and 28.5% strikeout rate, living up to the massive contract the Washington Nationals gave him.
No. 2: Max Scherzer
Oh look! Another Nat! Max Scherzer is amazing at everything, so it’s no shock that he would be on this list. Last year, Scherzer posted his fifth-consecutive season with an ERA under 3.00 and his sixth in seven years, because again, he’s amazing.
While he’s got a very effective repertoire all around, his slider was his best pitch, posting some ridiculous numbers, including a 48% chase rate, 46.6% zone rate, 26.6% SwStr rate (I don’t need to tell you what that is again, do I?), .164 wOBA against, .033 ISO against, a 40.8% strikeout rate, a 4 wRC+ against, and a 22.5 pVAL, all of which is nuts.
No. 1: Justin Verlander
Justin Verlander‘s slider will be at the top of just about every list out there, because it’s a phenomenal pitch. It’s also the second most-chased pitch in all of baseball, with a 53.5% chase rate, along with a 40.3% zone rate, 24% SwStr rate, .160 wOBA against, and .102 ISO against.
All of that gave it a 31.4 pVAL, which is absurdly high and also good for the second-best pVAL of any pitch in all of baseball. Also, fun fact about Verlander, he doesn’t have a single negative pVAL pitch. So yea, no wonder the guy had yet another incredible season to add to his Hall of Fame-level career.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)
Just going by the gifs, Darvish’s slider last year was the best. And he has 3 more wiffle ball pitches.