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!
Matt Brash’s Slider
Brash just out-Ohtani’d Shohei Ohtani himself. This insane slider had 18 inches of horizontal movement (roughly one home plate’s worth, and more than Ohtani), was thrown at 90 mph (way more than Ohtani), and with a spin rate of 3144 rpm (WAY more than Ohtani). There is not a single pitcher in baseball that has a slider that’s thrown both harder and sweepier than Brash’s, and it’s easily in contention for the best breaking ball in the league.
Oliver Ortega’s Curveball
After trading Raisel Iglesias, a wide host of Angels relievers have been getting chances in late-game situations, from Ryan Tepera to José Quijada to the newly (re)acquired Jesse Chavez. Ortega is another man in that mix, and he certainly has the stuff to be a high leverage arm. The plus vertical separation he gets on his fastball and curveball makes his stuff nasty, and this curve to Luis Torrens locks down a doubleheader split for the Halos.
Emmanuel Clase’s Slider
One of the hardest throwers in baseball is back at it again, topping out at 100 with his cutter and 93 with the slider. His elite combination of velocity and glove-side movement has made him arguably the best closer in baseball, and in the past ten weeks he’s allowed a grand total of 2 runs.
Garrett Hill’s Changeup
Hill had arguably his best start in his major league career so far, allowing one run in 5.2 innings while striking out six batters. The 26-year old rookie had 15 whiffs and a 32% CSW, and four of these whiffs came on this changeup. Hill absolutely pounded the arm-side half of the strike zone with all five of his pitches, and kept the Rays guessing all day.
James Karinchak’s Curveball
Karinchak’s excellent past month coming off injury has been one of the more underrated stories from baseball as of late. After missing almost a full year, Karinchak has come back as good as ever, striking out over 15 batters per 9 innings. While his fastball features some of the most vertical break of anyone in the league, his curveball is equally nasty with its downward bite.
Pablo López‘ Changeup
This changeup might be one of the most visually pleasing I’ve ever seen. It didn’t matter that it ended up well below the zone, the ridiculous screwball-like action got PJ Higgins out in front of it for the big whiff that brought him to his knees. His 20.5% swinging strike rate on his changeup is one of the best in all of baseball, and what’s even more impressive is that batters chase it out of the zone almost 44% of the time.
Max Scherzer’s Curveball
One of my favorite things about the current crop of elite pitchers is how many of them are long-time MLB veterans, from Justin Verlander to Charlie Morton to Scherzer. Have you noticed that Scherzer turned 38 a couple weeks ago and has an ERA below two? He shut out the division rival Braves for seven innings, striking out 11 while walking none. He led the day with 23 swinging strikes, and this curveball was one of them.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns of Twitter)