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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Dylan Cease’s Curveball
Cease’s breaking ball is special in that it has an unrivaled combination of velocity and vertical movement. This pitch was thrown at 80 mph and had a ridiculous 17.6 inches of induced vertical drop. Last season, no starting pitcher averaged both higher velocity and more movement than this breaker from Cease. He’s embraced a very vertical approach in attacking batters, using a fastball with elite carry up in the zone and a lethal package of secondaries down, and has found tremendous success with it. While Franmil Reyes hit a homer earlier in this game, he had no chance at touching this nasty pitch.
Kevin Gausman’s Splitter
In a league with elite splitter-throwers like Shohei Ohtani, Frankie Montas, and Alex Cobb, Gausman may be the biggest splitter aficionado of them all. Last year, he threw over a thousand splitters, nearly 400 more than anyone else, while also maintaining the third-highest swinging strike rate (behind Ohtani and Montas). This pitch to Jackie Bradley Jr. dives off the plate just enough to miss the bat for the strikeout.
Jordan Hicks‘ Sinker
After setting velocity records as a high-leverage reliever, Hicks made his first career start today. While he was limited to three innings and 46 pitches, he still showed off the elite stuff, hitting triple digits 14 times on 27 sinkers. It’ll be interesting to see how his stuff holds up as he gets stretched out as a starter.
Tanner Houck’s Slider
Houck put together another solid start today, allowing two runs in five innings despite not having his best stuff. However, he still threw this slider with a ton of horizontal break, ending up in the middle of the zone despite being headed towards Matt Chapman’s head out of the hand. It’s easy to see why some call Houck the right-handed Chris Sale.
Joe Ryan’s Fastball
Ryan is a poster child for the new era of pitch data analysis. Despite having below average velocity, his fastball is elite due to its low release point and flat approach up at the letters. This year, Ryan has the flattest vertical approach angle of any fastball thrown by a starting pitcher. While many scouts and evaluators question his ability to stick in the rotation due to his inconsistent execution of secondary pitches, his ability to get whiffs at will on fastballs like this makes me bet on him staying as a starter.
Edwin Díaz’s Slider
This is some pure filth to the back foot of Brandon Crawford. This slider, with almost cutter-like action, comes in at a velocity higher than that of many pitchers’ fastballs. Breaking balls like this are a huge part of why Díaz is one of the best closers in the league.
Jordan Montgomery’s Changeup
Miguel Cabrera’s quest for 3000 hits was interrupted by this beauty of a changeup from Montgomery. He posted a very solid 31% CSW on the day while allowing just one run over six innings. Unfortunately, his lack of run support from last year has continued into this season, as the Tigers won 3-0.
Carlos Carrasco’s Slider
Carrasco dominated the hot Giants lineup to the tune of 7.1 innings of one-run ball today. He had a 43% CSW on his slider, with many other breakers that were immaculately located on the corner like this one.
Pablo López‘ Changeup
López absolutely carved up the Cardinals lineup today, especially with this changeup. He had a 35% CSW overall on 100 pitches while earning 11 swinging strikes on the off-speed. This pitch had 20 inches of horizontal break and dove far enough under the zone to get the whiff from Harrison Bader.