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!
JT Brubaker‘s Slider
The previous pitch was also a slider that generated a whiff, but it was in the zone and did not have as much movement as this one. That made the placement and increased movement of this slider even more effective. Brubaker’s slider has generated a 40.3% CSW and 23.4% SwStr on the season, both well above average. Because of this, it is surprising that it has .336 wOBA. He has used it a third of the time. If he can remain this confident in it, I suspect his 5.50 ERA and 1.42 WHIP to come down a fair amount.
Drew Smyly‘s Knuckle Curve
The placement of this pitch is what is so nice about it. Pham saw it as so high out of Smyly’s hand that he gave up on it. It even goes off-screen on the slow-mo. Pitcher List’s John Foley and Ben Palmer have written about the increased use and success of the high breaking ball. Smyly appears to have missed his spot here, but with a runner on second I never completely trust the early setup of the catcher. Deliberate placement or not, it worked.
Tucker Davidson‘s Fastball
The Nastiest Pitches contributors are given the ability to imprint their own pitching preferences when choosing the Nastiest Pitches and I am partial to location, and no one can stop me. Actually, multiple people could stop me. Anyways, Davidson avoids being jumped on the first pitch of the game with this perfectly placed fastball to Hoskins. This was only his fourth game of the season, but his fastball has been hammered with nearly a .500 wOBA. He has thrown about 250 four-seamers in his young career and it has averaged about a .450 wOBA on it. The xwOBA is even worse. Because he is primarily a fastball-slider guy, he has thrown in nearly 50% of the time. He’s got some time, but something will need to change.
Tyler Anderson‘s Changeup
Between the funky delivery and the 79 mph changeup from Anderson, César Hernández must’ve been feeling some impatience. The pitch has been Anderson’s most used so far in 2022, for good reason. It has posted a 45% O-swing, 28% SwStr, 35% CSW, and 4.7% Hard Contact rate. Those are all dominant numbers. While not quite that good in the past, it has always been a solid pitch. The Dodgers know what they are doing.
Elvin Rodriguez‘s Curveball
Statcast has trouble deciding if this is a curveball or a slider. According to Pitcher List’s Jay Markle it is probably a curveball. As this was only Rodriguez’s second MLB game I encourage you to read Jay’s write-up on him. He gets the always dangerous Buxton to chase this slurve to end the inning.
Zack Wheeler‘s Fastball
Wheeler misses his spot as this is down the middle, but the power on power and “rising” fastball is tantalizing. The pitch had almost 200 rpm more than his average four-seamer in 2022. I don’t know if he has the ability to reach back for more rpms, but if so it was a good time to show it off. Wheeler is off to another workhorse-like season, although I wouldn’t have expected horses to be good at baseball.
Zack Wheeler‘s Slider
Wheeler’s command seemed to be off quite a bit last night. His stuff was so good he was largely able to overcome it. He got the aggressive Ozzie Albies to chase this slider inside when he was likely hunting a first-pitch fastball, not a bad strategy when facing someone so good. While many of its underlying metrics are comparable to the average MLB slider in 2022, it has a .146 AVG and .198 wOBA.
Trevor Richards‘ Changeup
Many fear that Nolan Gorman will swing and miss too much early in his career, but there is no shame in whiffing on one of Trevor Richards‘ changeups. He throws it about a third of the time and has yet to give up a home run on it this season. It has a 27% SwStr, .088 wOBA, .122 xwOBA, and 3.6% HC.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns of Twitter)