The Nastiest 16 Pitching GIFs from Spring Training

We've gathered the 16 nastiest pitching GIFs from 2019 Spring Training. Which one was the best?


Spring training has come and gone, with the real games already underway. There has already been a load of impressive pitches to start the regular season, but spring training had quite a few worth noting.

Before we start anything with the 2019 regular season, let’s decide which was the best pitching GIF from spring training. The first round starts with 16 entries. And while none of these games mattered, winning this tournament is another story entirely.

Here are the rules:

  • All GIFs were pulled from 2019 spring training.
  • You can only vote on a matchup once, so make sure you pick the one you absolutely want. No take-backsies (very strict policy).
  • Voting will continue until 12:00 a.m. EST the following morning. This is the first round.

 

Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Here are the matchups for Round 1:

 

American Bracket

 

1. Yusei Kikuchi‘s Curveball vs. 8. Dakota Hudson‘s Slider
2. Adam Ottavino‘s Slider vs. 7. Kyle Wright‘s Slider
3. Chris Paddack‘s Curveball vs. 6. Nathan Eovaldi‘s Fastball
4. Jack Flaherty‘s Changeup vs. 5. Aaron Nola‘s Changeup

 

National Bracket

 

1. Jordan Hicks‘ Fastball vs. 8. Trevor Bauer‘s Changeup
2. Adam Ottavino‘s Fastball vs. 7. Andrew Miller‘s Slider
3. Jordan Hicks‘ Slider vs. 6. Justus Sheffield‘s Changeup
4. Matt Boyd‘s Slider vs. 5. Alex Reyes‘ Curveball

 

Watch the GIFs in the Links Below!


Yusei Kikuchi‘s Curveball vs. Dakota Hudson‘s Slider

 

How ya doin’, Yusei Kikuchi?! Does this kid know Joey Votto‘s one of the best hitters of this era? Maybe the better question is, “Does he care?” Also, what in the world was Votto thinking here? Getting corkscrewed is one thing — and totally understandable — but this swing is borderline NSFW. Kikuchi’s first matchup is against Dakota Hudson. His slider is good, but what might put Hudson over the hump and carry him through the first round and beyond is his name. Dakota Hudson screams baseball.

 

VS.

 

 

Which was the better pitch? Vote to decide which pitch advances to the next round!


Adam Ottavino‘s Slider vs. Kyle Wright‘s Slider

 

You can’t have the first GIF tournament of 2019 without Adam Ottavino, one of the most GIFable pitchers in baseball. He already had guys doing the Cha Cha slide in early March, and it’s going to much of the same for the American League East. Ottavino’s slider goes up against a rather peculiar Kyle Wright slider. It’s got some Wacko movement (as opposed to Yacko or Dot movement). But given where it was caught, why in the world was Mookie Betts, the reigning MVP, swinging at that? Maybe if we had halfway decent cameras at spring training things would be much clearer.

 

VS.

 

 

Which was the better pitch? Vote to decide which pitch advances to the next round!


Chris Paddack‘s Curveball vs. Nathan Eovaldi‘s Fastball

 

Man, Chris Paddack is just so casual. It a good way. He doesn’t just have an even tempo, either. Paddack has easily repeatable mechanics. Something says this 12-6 beaut won’t be the last one we see on here. That doesn’t mean you should vote for Nathan Eovaldi‘s fastball out of sympathy—he’ll be on here plenty this year. This fastball has some sick run, though the camera angle doesn’t do it justice. Watch Jorge Polanco‘s hips, they’ll help you decide.

 

VS.

 

 

Which was the better pitch? Vote to decide which pitch advances to the next round!

Jack Flaherty‘s Changeup vs. Aaron Nola‘s Changeup

 

Fastballs and breaking balls are cool and all, but ask any hitter and they’ll say a good changeup is the most maddening pitch in the game. Jack Flaherty and Aaron Nola threw a two that were impossible to hit over the spring. These two changeups have more depth than some pitchers’ breaking balls. Flaherty’s looks like it’s going right down Broadway, then the bottom falls out. Nola’s arm slot gives that rising illusion, so when he starts throwing pitches that drop like this, he’s near impossible to hit — which is why he finished third in the NL Cy Young voting last year.

 

VS.

 

 

Which was the better pitch? Vote to decide which pitch advances to the next round!

Jordan Hicks‘ Fastball vs. Trevor Bauer‘s Changeup

 

Spring training is a time for baseball players to get loose and shake off the cobwebs. Most of us didn’t play intense, competitive baseball as long as these guys, but we know as you get older it takes a bit to get to where you want to be physically — that goes for everything in life. So what the heck was Jordan Hicks training to prove by throwing 103 in spring training game? Couldn’t he take the Trevor Bauer route and try to be more dynamic with his pitching repertoire? Where did this changeup come from? Bauer seems like an odd duck, but his obsession with being the best he can be remains evident due to the strides he continues to take.

 

VS.

 

 

Which was the better pitch? Vote to decide which pitch advances to the next round!

Adam Ottavino‘s Fastball vs. Andrew Miller‘s Slider

 

I did not realize both of these pitches came against Phillies hitters. So Philly fans, please to whine and moan about that like you do every other little thing.

This is defeated body language if I’ve ever seen it. Both of these hitters got bamboozled, but nothing about their situations was the same (other than being Phillies players). About midway through his hack at Adam Ottavino‘s fastball, Mitch Walding knew he should’ve let it go. Whereas Aaron Altherr recognized once Andrew Miller‘s slider it the catcher’s mitt he probably should’ve swung. Don’t beat yourself up Aaron, the result would’ve been the same.

 

VS.

 

 

Which was the better pitch? Vote to decide which pitch advances to the next round!

Jordan Hicks‘ Slider vs. Justus Sheffield‘ Changeup

 

You know how you have that one friend who turns up the game sliders (maybe you’re the one in your friend group that does it)? Imagine doing that with Jordan Hicks on The Show. This guy will chuck 103 one second, then dishes out this slider. This will be a tough one for Justus Sheffield to pull off. This changeup has some nice fade to it and it clearly moves a ton, but it’s subtle for a hitter in the course of a swing. Why else miss by that much?

 

VS.

 

 

Which was the better pitch? Vote to decide which pitch advances to the next round!

Matt Boyd‘s Slider vs. Alex Reyes‘ Curveball

 

Looks like we’ve got a case of some unhappy hitters here. Honestly, there’s no shame in missing this Matt Boyd slider. It’s not only visually perfect, it’s also well placed and used perfectly in a 2-2 count. Andrew Knapp, on the other hand, needs to check himself. Did you serious think that Alex Reyes hook was a ball? Aren’t you a catcher or something?

 

VS.

 

 

Which was the better pitch? Vote to decide which pitch advances to the next round!

Nick Friar

Nick pitched at Northwestern University from 2011-14. He firmly believes the answer to every count and situation is a changeup — probably because he only topped out at 91. Nick runs the GIF Tournaments at Pitcher List. If you see a pitch that deserves recognition, let him know on Twitter @Nick_Friar. Maybe give him a follow, too? Or not. Actually, "not" might be the right answer here.

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