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 Lodolo’s Curveball
This was arguably the best start of Lodolo’s young big league career. He struck out 11 batters while surrendering no walks and pitching into the 7th inning. His nasty sweeper led the way, spinning it at an average of over 2700 rpm with over a foot of horizontal break. The Pirates simply couldn’t figure it out, coming up empty on 13 of their 25 swings against Lodolo’s curveball.
Luis Castillo’s Fastball
Castillo commanded one of the biggest trade packages at the deadline bringing him to Seattle, and his performance there has been nothing short of spectacular. His six shutout innings today against San Diego brought his Mariners ERA down to 2.37. His stuff was as electric as ever, touching 100 mph on his fastball and sinker from an outlier release point. It’s no wonder Castillo had the third most swinging strikes of any pitcher yesterday, with 16.
Sonny Gray’s Curveball
Gray has some of the best breaking ball movement in the league, averaging five feet of drop on this nasty hook. He’s quietly been one of the best pitchers in the league this year, as his seven scoreless innings today brought his season ERA down below three.
Amir Garrett’s Slider
This pitch from Garrett was absolutely dotted on the corner, a perfect location down and in to Gary Sánchez. Garrett has a great slider that plays well off his mid-90s fastball from the left side, and he showed off both in this AB.
Pierce Johnson’s Knuckle Curve
Almost no one in all of baseball throws as many curveballs as Johnson, and from here it’s very easy to see why. He throws a curveball about 60% of the time, and it’s been one of the most effective individual pitches in all of baseball. He spins this pitch upwards of 2800 rpm and has a 32% CSW on it during this season.
Drew Smyly’s Knuckle Curve
While Pierce Johnson’s curveball usage rate makes him special, Smyly is even more of an outlier in this department. While many relievers throw their breaking stuff more than their fastballs, Smyly is the only starter in the league who throws more curveballs than four-seamers and sinkers. Smyly absolutely shut down the Mets lineup today, giving up just one run over five innings while posting a 34% CSW on his hook.
Patrick Sandoval’s Changeup
Over the past two years, Sandoval has broken out as a pitcher with amazing secondary stuff. For the second year in a row, Sandoval leads all starting pitchers in changeup swinging strike rate (min. 400 pitches). The thing is downright nasty and this pitch to Austin Hedges shows how much fade and drop he gets with it.
Cristian Javier’s Slider
Javier was near flawless in this getaway game in Detroit, allowing just two hits and no walks in six innings against the Tigers. His slider and curveball had an absurd 45% CSW and 11 whiffs on 17 swings. Here, he gets an ugly half swing out of rookie infielder Ryan Kriedler.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)