The Nastiest 32 Pitching GIFs from 2015 to 2018 – Round 2

We've gathered the 32 nastiest pitching GIFs from the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 baseball seasons. Time to trim the fat. VOTE NOW!


Spring training is just around the corner, but we can’t last that long without another GIF tournament. We’re only human. So we’ve put together a 32-pitch free-for-all featuring eight pitches each from 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

In a battle of timeless GIFs versus instant classics, you decide where these knee-buckling breaking balls and NOS-powered fastballs rank. But there can only be one GIF that stands above the rest in the Nastiest 32 Pitching GIFs from 2015 to 2018 Tournament (sort of like the movie Highlander). Thirty-two pitches entered the tournament, you all sent 16 home packing. Who moves on to the Elite Eight? Well, that’s all up to you!

Here are the rules:

  • All GIFs were pulled from the winners and top finishers in GIF tournaments from 2015 through 2018.
  • 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.

 

Here are the results for Round 1:

 

American Bracket

 

Chris Sale‘s Slider 2018 defeated Drew Storen‘s Slider 2016
Steven Wright‘s Knuckleball 2016 defeated Jose Berrios‘ Curveball 2018
Lance McCullers‘ Fastball 2017 defeated Blake Treinen‘s Slider 2018
Clayton Kershaw‘s Curveball 2015 defeated Jose Berrios‘ Curveball 2017
Chaz Roe‘s Slider 2016 defeated R.A. Dickey’s Knuckleball 2015
Justin Verlander‘s Curveball 2017 defeated Core Kluber’s Slider 2017
Aaron Sanchez‘s Fastball 2015 defeated Aaron Nola‘s Fastball 2017
Dylan Maples’ Slider 2018 defeated Rich Hill‘s Curveball 2015

 

National Bracket

 

Marcus Stroman‘s Slider 2017 defeated Lance McCullers‘ Fastball 2018
Steven Wright Knuckleball 2015 defeated Blake Treinen‘s Fastball 2018
Aroldis Chapman‘s Fastball 2016 defeated Noah Syndergaard‘s Fastball 2016
Clayton Kershaw‘s Curveball 2016 defeated Aaron Sanchez‘s Fastball 2.0 2016
Chris Sale‘s Slider 2016 defeated Aroldis Chapman‘s Slider 2017
Noah Syndergaard‘s Fastball 2015 defeated Aroldis Chapman‘s Fastball 2018
Adam Ottavino‘s Slider 2018 defeated Gerrit Cole‘s Fastball 2015
Aaron Sanchez‘s Fastball 2016 defeated Blake Treinen‘s Fastball 2017

 

Here are the matchups for Round 2:

 

American Bracket

 

Chris Sale‘s Slider 2018 vs. Clayton Kershaw‘s Curveball 2015
Steven Wright‘s Knuckleball 2016 vs. Lance McCullers‘ Fastball 2017
Chaz Roe‘s Slider 2016 vs. Dylan Maples’ Slider 2018
Justin Verlander‘s Curveball 2017 vs. Aaron Sanchez‘s Fastball 2015

 

National Bracket

 

Marcus Stroman‘s Slider 2017 vs. Clayton Kershaw‘s Curveball 2016
Steven Wright Knuckleball 2015 vs. Aroldis Chapman‘s Fastball 2016
Chris Sale‘s Slider 2016 vs. Aaron Sanchez‘s Fastball 2016
Adam Ottavino‘s Slider 2018 vs. Noah Syndergaard‘s Fastball 2015

 

Watch the GIFs in the Links Below!


You’d think this would be a cakewalk for Chris Sale, given Clayton Kershaw tends to struggle in postseason-type settings—which is exactly what this GIF tournament is. But this was 2016 Clayton Kershaw. The dude had a sub-2.00 ERA. Plus, he has to pick up Machado, whom Sale embarrassed with this slider to win the 2018 World Series. You can’t leave a fallen teammate hanging (even if he’s not coming back to Los Angeles, yet still refuses to make a decision on where to sign).

 

Chris Sale‘s Slider 2018 vs. Clayton Kershaw‘s Curve 2016

 

VS.

 

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



Science has proven that Steven Wright’s knuckleball is in fact the same zig-zag pitch you could unlock in MLB Slugfest Loaded. Though you could make the case Wright’s knuckler is better since it doesn’t straight out at the end, with this one to Lorenzo Cain being a perfect example. Lance McCullers’ fastball certainly zigs but there’s no zag on this heater. One could argue you don’t need that extra movement when you throw in the 90s. People who are that ared what we call in the business “catches” because they’re the only peopel who wouldn’t want to see what a 92 MPH knuckleball looks like.

 

Steven Wright‘s Knuckleball 2016 vs. Lance McCullers‘ Fastball 2017

 

VS.

 

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



Both Dillon Maples and Chaz Roe were not messing around with these sliders. Both have savage break, shape, were impossible to hit, and more importantly, impossible to lay off. Certainly a tough Second Round draw for the top seeded Roe.

 

Chaz Roe‘s Slider 2016 vs. Dillon Maples Slider 2018

 

VS.

 

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



This Second Round matchup is more about the hitters than pitchers, lets be honest. Justin Verlander‘s curveball is awesome, as is this heater from Aaron Sanchez. But what’s more impressive are the moves from Todd Frazier and Coco Crisp, respectively. On one hand, you’ve got a guy swinging at a pitch because he has to, not because he believes he can hit it. Meanwhile, Crisp backed off this fastball like it was about to drill him, only to watch it buzz in over the middle of the plate—not even close to hitting him.

 

Justin Verlander‘s Curveball 2017 vs. Aaron Sanchez‘s Fastball 2015

 

VS.

 

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



Ask yourself this before voting: which pitch would I be more likelty to hit? You think you could slap Marcus Stroman‘s slider into right field? Maybe get some good wood on Clayton Kershaw‘s hook? Well, don’t think too long on it because you’re not hitting either. That probably doesn’t help sway you either way in the vote but that’s your problem.

 

Marcus Stroman‘s Slider 2017 vs. Clayton Kershaw‘s Curveball 2016

 

VS.

 

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



You’re not going to see two pitches that are more polar opposites of each other than this Steven Wright knuckleball and Aroldis Chapman fastball. So what do you prefer? A high-octane fastball or knuckleball with moves more violent than Elaine Benes’ on the dance floor?

 

Steven Wright Knuckleball 2015 vs. Aroldis Chapman‘s Fastball 2016

 

VS.

 

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



This Aaron Sanchez heater was one of two pitches to pull off the upset in the opening round. It probably didn’t hurt to receive Matt Wieters‘ stamp of approval when he saw this pitch in 2016. But Sanchez isn’t getting any help from Wieters’ old teammate Mark Trumbo this round. This swing-and-miss off the kneecap is one of the worst this century (side note: there are a lot of Orioles hitters featured in this tournament).

 

Chris Sale‘s Slider 2016 vs. Aaron Sanchez‘s Fastball 2016

 

VS.

 

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



Noah Syndergaard showed in the first round that he would’ve aimed for the head if he was given a fair shot at playing Thor instead of Chris Hemsworth. One of two upsets in the opening round, Thor’s lightning takes on a slippery Adam Ottavino slider as deceiving as Loki (I swear I’ve never watched a Marvel movie).

 

Adam Ottavino‘s Slider 2018 vs. Noah Syndergaard‘s Fastball 2015

 

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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