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!
Bryce Montes de Oca’s Sinker
It’s September, which means it’s the season of exciting rookie debuts with expanded rosters. Montes de Oca was called up by the Mets last week and has already established himself as one of the hardest throwers in all of baseball. This pitch was clocked at 101.4 but was somehow below his average sinker velocity on the day, which sat at 105. All six of his sinkers were thrown at least 101 mph. But the movement is equally as ridiculous, with 17 inches of horizontal tail. This isn’t the last time you’ll see triple-digit gas in this article, but I’ll be darned if anyone can replicate this combination of heat and tail.
Jameson Taillon’s Curveball
Taillon had possibly his best start of the season, pitching into the 8th inning against the surging Rays. He only threw ten curveballs in this outing, but he made the most of them with three whiffs and four called strikes (70% CSW). Here, he concludes his magnificent start by fooling Wander Franco, who is notoriously difficult to strike out.
Max Fried’s Changeup
Fried has taken his game to the next level this season, with a season ERA of 2.50 after this start. This changeup was working perfectly yesterday, earning nine of Fried’s 16 whiffs. While it’s his fourth most used pitch overall, its 44% chase rate and .176 batting average against make it possibly his best.
Shohei Ohtani’s Fastball
Just when you thought Ohtani was at the peak of his baseballing abilities, he continues to do new things. This 101.4 mph fastball was the fastest pitch of his career, and despite it being thrown down the heart of the plate, he escapes the jam and gets a huge whiff out of Kyle Tucker. He also threw more sinkers than four-seamers for the first time ever (the sinker also touched 100), but it was the straight gas that lit up the radar gun the most. Ohtani finishes the season with a 1.21 ERA in his five starts against the division rival Astros.
Ryan Helsley’s Curveball
If you didn’t get a chance to watch this game yesterday, you should go back and check it out. This Cardinals/Pirates matchup was an absolute thriller, including Albert Pujols‘ 696th career homer and game-tying single later on to lead the Cardinals to a comeback win. Closing out the game was Helsley, who has been one of the best relievers in all of baseball this year. While his fastball touched 102, he truly shined with his curveball, where hitters came up empty on all three of their swings against it.
Kevin Gausman’s Splitter
It’s been an exciting start to a career for top prospect Josh Jung, who homered in his first career plate appearance yesterday. Unfortunately, he got a taste of what premium stuff looks like today, going down against Gausman and his ridiculous splitter. Despite getting tagged for five runs in 5.1 innings, Gausman still struck out nine Rangers and had the second most whiffs of any pitcher yesterday.
George Kirby’s Sinker
Despite being a rookie, Kirby already has some of the best command in the big leagues. He dominated Atlanta’s lineup to the tune of six innings and no earned runs and had something really going with this sinker. He had near robotic pitch placement on the outer edge of the zone, racking up nine called strikes and a 42% CSW with the sinker alone.