Every morning, the We Love Baseball crew reviews the Nastiest Pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious high-definition GIFs. We want to bring you the highest caliber of nastiness possible, so if you see a nasty pitch, please tell us about it. You can tweet @PitcherList to let us know, and we’ll give you a shout-out here in the article if your tip makes the cut.
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Shohei Ohtani‘s Curveball
He’s here again. Last week, Ohtani threw seven shutout innings with a career-high 13 punchouts. While he couldn’t quite match that today, the stuff was equally electric. He struck out 11 White Sox hitters in 5.2 scoreless innings, setting the table for an Angels win. While it’s his beautiful curveball with 4.5 feet of long-form drop being featured here, his slider was his most effective pitch, running a ridiculous 61% CSW today. What’s even more impressive is that this is his third start of the season with a slider CSW of at least 50%, which is absolutely unfair. By the way, this is the same guy who had three extra-base hits yesterday, and he just put together his third consecutive scoreless start. Over the past three weeks, Ohtani has allowed one run in 26.2 innings while clubbing six homers and rocking a 1.189 OPS. As always, Ohtani is can’t miss baseball.
Mike Clevinger‘s Slider
This pitch was ridiculous, breaking 16 inches away from the hitter Christian Walker. After missing all of 2021 with injury, he’s been really solid for the Padres this season, twirling six innings of scoreless ball today while allowing just a single hit to the Diamondbacks. This sweeper ran an impressive 35% CSW with four whiffs on seven swings.
Mark Appel‘s Sinker
What a story. Nine years after being the first overall pick out of Stanford in 2013, Appel made his big league debut two weeks shy of his 31st birthday. Over the past decade, he’s constantly battled injuries and other health issues, and retired in 2017 at the age of 25. However, he made his comeback to pro baseball last year, and in 28 AAA innings in 2022 he rocked a 1.61 ERA, earning his call to the bigs. He got his first major league strikeout on this sinker, down and away at 97 with an impressive 17 inches of horizontal movement.
Raisel Iglesias‘ Slider
Since joining the Angels last year, Iglesias has been an absolute sensation, saving 48 games with a ridiculous 8.81 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His slider can go head to head with anyone in the league – this year it’s allowed just a .176 batting average while hitters have whiffed on over half their swings at it. This pitch dived off the plate, ending the game and locking down his 15th save of the season.
Taijuan Walker‘s Splitter
While Ohtani had five splitter strikeouts today, it’s Walker who gets the nod here with his nasty split-piece. He’s quietly put together an excellent season, with an ERA hovering around three. Much of his success can be attributed to him throwing his secondary stuff more. Today, he threw his splitter more than any other pitch.
Justin Verlander‘s Slider
Verlander is an elite example of excellence and durability. The 39-year old veteran shut out the Mets offense for eight innings today, becoming the first pitcher to earn his tenth win in the process. 3000 innings into a career, he’s still touching 90 mph with his breaking ball while locating it perfectly on the low and outside corner. His season ERA sits at a very cool 2.03.
Michael Kopech‘s Fastball
This pitch is an absolute beauty from a pitch data standpoint. It had a whopping 21.4 inches of induced vertical break (no starter averages more than this) with a vertical release point a half foot lower than the average pitcher. The result is an ultra-flat heater with elite carry, and it helps that he can locate it at the letters so consistently. It’s no wonder that Jared Walsh swung straight under it despite slugging .627 with eight homers against fastballs this season.
Ken Giles‘ Slider
Giles is already back to dominating after missing the last two seasons. It was three years ago, but many forget that he had a sub-2 ERA and 14 strikeouts per nine innings in his most recent full season, and he’s clearly kept the masterful strikeout stuff. This wipeout slider spun like a bullet, ending up perfectly on the corner for the strikeout.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)