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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Reid Detmers‘ Curveball
Wow, this thing is a beauty. Just a few weeks after throwing the first solo no-hitter of 2022, Detmers is back to showing everyone why he’s one of the better young arms in the game right now. This pitch had nearly 5.5 feet of long-form drop, or 14.5 inches of induced vertical break, making Alex Verdugo swing out of his shoes on a pitch almost in the dirt. The fact that the very next pitch was a fastball with elite carry at the letters just shows how Detmers’ ultra-vertical approach can baffle hitters.
Chris Archer’s Slider
This is the rare occurrence where a pitch gets both the batter and pitcher off balance. Archer seemed to have slipped and fallen during his delivery, while the hitter had to deal with a nasty breaker down in the zone that sat 89 and topped out at 91 mph. Archer’s five innings of one-run ball handed the red-hot Yankees a rare loss.
Sean Manaea’s Changeup
Speaking of pitchers who beat New York teams yesterday, Manaea twirled a great outing against the Mets. While he threw 77% sinkers in this game, it was the changeup that was especially nasty today. His low three-quarters arm slot lets him get premium levels of horizontal fade on the pitch, making it especially nasty against opposite-handed batters like JD Davis here. In total, Manaea threw seven innings of two-run ball with a 30% CSW.
Aaron Nola’s Knuckle Curve
Nola’s curveball is easily my favorite sweeper in the league. He gets elite two-plane break with the pitch, averaging over a foot of horizontal sweep while also getting 11 inches of induced vertical drop. Only two other starters in the majors – Adam Wainwright and Sonny Gray, have him beat in terms of both horizontal and vertical break. Nola spun eight scoreless frames in a blowout victory against the Brewers.
Brent Suter’s Changeup
During this at-bat, the Brewers’ broadcasting team was raving about Suter’s pace while on the mound. They weren’t talking about pitch speed – his fastball tops out in the high-80s, they were referring to how quickly he works on the mound. According to Statcast’s new tempo metric, Suter ranks second in all of baseball in time between pitches. Suter put away Nick Castellanos on three straight changeups, and you can see why with this nasty fade.
Sandy Alcantara’s Fastball
Another day, another long and effective start for Alcantara. He threw nine innings of scoreless ball with 17 whiffs and a 36% CSW but was still saddled with a no-decision because the game went to extra innings. He’s now averaging seven innings per start, comfortably pacing the league. This elite fastball was clocked at 99 and he threw three pitches that surpassed triple digits.
Merrill Kelly’s Changeup
At times getting Joey Votto to swing and miss is quite the difficult task for pitchers, but Kelly made it look easy here. In this start, he consistently hit 90 mph with his changeup, getting 5/30 whiffs with it. While the most exciting part of this at-bat was watching Alek Thomas rob Votto of a homer, this changeup was also pleasing to watch.
Shane Bieber’s Slider
Bieber’s velocity is down this year, but his effectiveness clearly isn’t. He’s made a major adjustment in the form of throwing more breaking balls, tossing over 50% sliders in this particular outing. Combined with his elite command (he hit that exact spot another half-dozen times this game), Bieber mowed down the Rangers’ lineup for 4.1 innings before a rain delay cut his appearance short at 54 pitches, where he still ran a crazy 39% CSW. His season ERA is back below three.
Christian Bethancourt’s “Changeup”
Position player pitching in the year 2022 is, in my opinion, ugly. Routinely watching players who you’ve seen make insane throws in the infield or outfield soft-tossing in the 50s and 60s gets old after the first two or three times you watch it. But catcher/first baseman Bethancourt gave it everything he had here, averaging 86 mph and topping out at 95 while being one of the few position players to earn a whiff in a big-league game. It was a pretty good pitch, too – dotting the upper edge of the zone with a foot of induced vertical break.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)