As we gear up for the 2022 season, the Nastiest Pitches team will be highlighting some of the filthiest pitches we see during Spring Training. 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 #nasty-pitches channel, where we host giveaways during the season. If you’re not already a PL+ member, you’re missing out!
Gerrit Cole’s Fastball
98 mph up-and-away is tough for anyone, let alone a 6’7″ rookie. While it’s difficult to find many faults in Cole, he threw a few too many fastballs in the heart of the plate in 2021. Sticky stuff or not, fastballs like the one above will rarely be hit hard.
Gerrit Cole’s Slider
Cole threw a lot of sliders glove-side in 2021, with great success. It’s easy to see why his slider resulted in a .231 wOBA and 40.4% whiff rate. The AL East is full of better hitters than the Pirates’ Jared Oliva, but Cole is still in his prime and it will be fun to see him do battle against some of the best lineups in baseball.
Jacob deGrom’s Fastball
DeGrom’s fastball averaged 99.2 mph in 2021 and he’s thrown a total of 121 over 100 mph in his career. There are some who argue deGrom should protect his arm by leaving a bit in the tank. If that means only 98 mph at the top of the zone like this, I think he’ll be fine.
Jacob deGrom’s Slider
The thought that a deGrom Spring Training start could comprise an entire Nastiest Pitches article is not far-fetched. Freezing a good hitter like Dylan Carlson will be a common sight as long as deGrom is healthy. A 92 mph slider down-and-in shows why the pitch had a .123 wOBA and 58.1% whiff rate in 2021.
Max Scherzer’s Curveball
Scherzer threw his curveball about 10% of the time the past two seasons. In 2021 it had a wOBA of .295. While that certainly isn’t bad for most pitchers, it is compared to his more often used fastballs, sliders, and changeups. Despite being 37 and entering his 15th MLB season there is no reason to believe his dominance will not continue.
Garrett Whitlock’s Slider
Whitlock threw 47 pitches in this outing. He is being stretched out to potentially be in the Red Sox rotation. He throws four pitches that had average or better results in 2021. The slider had a .232 wOBA and 39.2% whiff rate. Regardless of what role he fills, he will likely be an important part of the Red Sox staff.
Tayler Saucedo’s Changeup
In 2021 Saucedo’s changeup had league average vertical movement (30.1″) and amongst the most horizontal movement (18.2″). However, he threw it only 10.4% of the time. His sinker was his primary pitch and had a similar movement profile. The average speed difference was only 6.6 mph. This may explain his hesitancy to throw the changeup more often. The changeup above maintained the excellent horizontal movement but also showed improved vertical movement. The speed differentials throughout the appearance remained the same.
Hirokazu Sawamura’s Splitter
In 2021 Sawamura relied on his splitter 39.3% of the time. It returned a wOBA of .237 and a 46.7% whiff rate. This particular one had less vertical movement but far more horizontal than his average splitter in 2021. He is again expected to fill an important role in the Red Sox bullpen.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns of Twitter)