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
After being drafted in the first round in 2020, Detmers was fast-tracked to the majors and made his debut in August 2021. This year, at just the age of 22, he earned a spot in the Opening Day roster. While he doesn’t have big velocity or whiff rates, Detmers has an excellent secondary package headlined by this beautiful curveball, dubbed “Hell’s Rainbow”. Detmers struggled a bit in this game, but still had a 35% CSW with his curveball.
Zack Wheeler’s Fastball
Wheeler has battled injuries to start the year but has just put together two consecutive shutdown starts, combining for 13.2 innings of shutout ball with 14 punchouts. This one to Zach Reks was done with an absolutely painted fastball up in the zone. Last year’s Cy Young runner-up looks tuned up and ready to repeat his elite performance from 2021.
Ian Anderson’s Curveball
Anderson is known for his elite changeup that has run comical whiff rates, but don’t sleep on the breaker either! Despite having below average spin rates, this curveball still produces great results due to Anderson’s highly vertical arm action and separation from his fastball. This pitch absolutely fooled Brandon Nimmo, and Anderson ended up winning the game with 5.1 innings of one-run ball.
Tylor Megill’s Changeup
Many players have had breakout months in April, but Megill easily has the best pure stuff of all of them. With his combination of a fastball velocity increase and vastly improved results on his slider, Megill has earned comparisons to teammate Jacob deGrom’s early career. Megill’s changeup has also been elite, posting a 38% CSW in this start. Through six games this year, Megill has a minuscule 2.43 ERA while striking out over a batter per inning.
Andrew Chafin’s Slider
The Tigers’ bullpen has been one of the biggest success stories of the year, posting a combined sub-2 ERA so far and greatly outpacing every other team. They’ve had excellent performances from established pen arms like Chafin, Gregory Soto, and Michael Fulmer, but lesser known names like Drew Hutchison and Will Vest have also been huge contributors. Chafin’s been known as more of a lefty specialist in the past, but when he can execute his slider like this, it’s absolutely unhittable no matter the handedness of the hitter. He got this absolutely silly swing out of Cole Tucker.
Adam Wainwright’s Curveball
Even at the age of 40, Wainwright is still unstoppable. He held the Royals to just one hit over seven innings as his Cardinals walloped them 10-0, and Wainwright allowed just three hard-hit balls, according to Statcast. He embraces a kitchen sink approach, pounding the zone with a healthy diet of sinkers, cutters, curveballs, and changeups, but the old Uncle Charlie has been his weapon of choice throughout his career. He went with it here and got a big whiff.
Lucas Giolito’s Changeup
Giolito’s changeup is easily one of the best secondary pitches in the league, and this pitch is a perfect example of why. It’s located perfectly right off of the plate on the outside corner, getting Jason Heyward to unsuccessfully reach out for it. His stuff has been absolutely nutty this year, averaging nearly 15 strikeouts per nine innings, including double digit punchouts and a 37% CSW against the crosstown rival Cubs.
Freddy Peralta’s Slider
Peralta has a unicorn skillset – he’s one of the only pitchers in the league who has enough command to be an effective starter while also having such a deceptive delivery. He throws so far across his body, a la Adam Ottavino, creating an extreme release point that’s almost impossible to pick up. This pitch is located a little bit off the zone to Tommy Pham, but he can’t help but flail at it because the pitch literally starts out behind him.
Michael King’s Changeup
King is ushering in a new era of multi-inning relief weapons, possessing the ability to maintain his mid-90s fastball and elite secondary stuff much longer into outings than other relievers. He’s pitched 17.2 innings in eight games with an incredible 0.51 ERA and 0.77 FIP, striking out 25 while surrendering no homers. By FanGraphs’ calculation, King has more than twice as much WAR as any other reliever in baseball.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)