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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Nick Sandlin’s Slider
Did you see how early Javier Báez swung at that? It may be low-hanging fruit to praise pitchers over Báez’ swing decisions, but that’s what it looks like to be completely deceived by a nasty pitch. Sandlin’s outlier release point makes his slider a huge threat, especially to right-handed hitters, and he got the big whiff here.
Johnny Cueto’s Changeup
This changeup was perfectly dotted on the low and outside corner, an ideal location for a changeup to an opposite-handed hitter. Cueto has quietly been one of the more reliable pitchers in baseball this year, with an ERA of 2.91. As you can see on this pitch, he’s still using his signature delivery (and all its silly variations).
Justin Steele’s Slider
It’s not often that you see a starting pitcher exclusively throw two pitch types over the course of a full game, but Steele’s fastball and slider were so dominant that he didn’t need anything else. He struck out nine batters and had a 32% CSW on his slider in this game, mowing down the entirety of the Nationals lineup.
Josiah Gray’s Slider
Just like his opponent Justin Steele, whose slider you just saw, Gray also throws a really good slider. Unlike Steele, Gray threw his slider more than any other pitch and had an even better 36% CSW with it. He throws this pitch hard (topping out at 87 mph), and the dive it takes near the end of its flight fools even skilled hitters like Seiya Suzuki here.
Nestor Cortes‘ Slider
On a day where the likes of Brandon Woodruff, Justin Verlander, and Sandy Alcantara started, it was Cortes who led the day in swinging strikes with 18. He posted double-digit strikeouts compared to just one walk, and it was this slider that ran a 44% CSW and earned seven of those whiffs. He’s been one of the best stories of the year and is still one of the better pitchers in the AL.
Devin Williams‘ Changeup
The airbender might be a cheat code in this series, but that won’t stop me from showing off how awesome it is. This pitch, despite being in a hittable location, had 20 inches of horizontal movement and you can see it take a sharp turn mere milliseconds before landing in the glove. As an added bonus, you can also see this perfectly executed throw by Victor Caratini to get the caught stealing.
Rowan Wick’s Knuckle Curve
Few pitchers are as skilled at imparting vertical movement on their pitches as Wick. This curveball had 18.2 inches of induced vertical drop (only Nick Pivetta is averaging more than that this year), and he gets the ugly swing out of Keibert Ruiz. Ruiz then looked at a game-ending strike 3, a fastball down the middle with above-average vertical movement in the opposite direction.
Jeffrey Springs‘ Changeup
Despite topping out around 92 mph with his fastball, Springs is one of the most talented whiff artists in the league with a 39% CSW in this game. Here, you can see how adept he is at locating his changeup, which earned nine of his 16 whiffs in this start. You can also see how well the hides the ball behind his body during the windup, making that middling velo play up significantly.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)