There were some ridiculous pitches throughout the baseball season, and you’ve been voting every day for your favorite pitches. We held the Nastiest Pitching GIFs of the First Quarter, Second Quarter, Third Quarter and Fourth Quarter tournaments, now it’s time to crown season’s King of pitching GIFs with the Nastiest Pitching GIFs of 2018. Thirty-two pitches have a shot, but only one will win. (No ties, this isn’t soccer.)
Here are the rules:
- All GIFs were pulled from the quarterly GIF tournaments from the season.
- Votes will last until 12:00 a.m. EST the following morning, with the next round starting at 9:00 a.m. every morning and final round beginning on Friday morning.
Here are the matchups for Round #1:
Blake Treinen‘s Fastball #1 vs. Blake Treinen‘s Fastball #2
Blake Treinen‘s Slider #1 vs. Blake Treinen‘s Slider #2
Seth Lugo’s Fastball vs. Aroldis Chapman‘s Fastball
Fernando Rodney‘s Fastball vs. Trevor Bauer‘s Slider
Adam Ottavino‘s Slider #1 vs. Adam Ottavino‘s Slider #2
Jordan Hicks‘ Fastball vs. Justin Verlander‘s Curveball
Chris Archer‘s Slider vs. David Robertson‘s Curveball
Aaron Nola‘s Fastball vs. Dylan Floro‘s Fastball
Chris Sale‘s Fastball vs. Steven Wright‘s Knuckleball
Chris Sale‘s Slider #1 vs. Chris Sale‘s Slider #2
Masahiro Tanaka’s Fastball vs. Dylan Maples’ Slider
Jose Alvarado‘s Fastball vs. Lance McCullers‘ Fastball
Jose Berrios‘ Curveball vs. Zach Britton’s Fastball
Jakob Junis‘ Slider vs. Miles Mikolas‘ Curveball
Chaz Roe‘s Slider #1 vs.Chaz Roe‘s Slider #2
Noah Syndergaard‘s Fastball #1 vs. Noah Syndergaard‘s Fastball #2
Watch The GIFs In The Links Below!
Several pitchers have multiple pitches in the Nastiest Pitching GIFs of 2018 Tournament. Blake Treinen is the only one who has two fastballs and two off-speed pitches. In this battle of fastballs, you have one MPH separating the two pitches—the No. 1 to Chase d’Arnaud in San Francisco coming in a little hotter at 99. The one to d’Arnaud had more sink, a little less run and was a bit faster, the one to Kevin Pillar, No. 2, still had decent sink, but ran in so hard on Toronto’s Gold Glove center fielder it’s a surprise he didn’t corkscrew himself into the ground.
You just had Treinen’s heaters square up, now it’s time for his ridiculous slide piece. We all love bat-flips but the best we get from Mitch Moreland is after this slider from Treinen. Some people think these flips are disrespectful, but I see nothing wrong with that reaction. That heavy slider (No. 1) goes up against a Treinen slider (No. 2) that has the same shape, but slightly earlier break, though with more movement to Freddy Galvis. No bat-flip from Galvis though—probably because it wasn’t strike three—that could prove costly in the voting!
Based on his reaction, it seems Carlos Santana never heard the rule “two for flinching.” (Hopefully, he has Atlantis: The Lost Empire on his watch list this offseason.) Major League Baseball should make that rule mandatory on pitches like this Seth Lugo fastball. After all, it was a strike. That running fastball faces another from Aroldis Chapman. Only, his was just a bit harder,though comes with some wicked movement of its own.
Poor Jonathan Villar. Fernando Rodney teased him with a two-seamer that looked like a heater down-and-in, every lefty’s sweet spot, only to see it run to the outer edge. Not to mention, this thing came in at 95. Rodney’s fastball goes against a Trevor Bauer slider that, well, makes Daniel Palka look pretty stupid—to put it lightly. This thing dive-bombs into his back foot, and all Palka could muster something best described as a “flailing chop”. But it’s not really on Palka’s fault. There’s a chance Bauer’s found a way to insert his drone tech into both the baseball and his fingertips to create that type of break. (Not actually…but actually.)
Adam Ottavino slid a pair of breaking balls into the final tournament of 2018. No. 1 made it all the way to the finals of the fourth quarter tourney, thanks to Dansby Swanson swinging foolishly at a pitch that finished at the dead-center of the left-handed batter’s box. No. 2 was a bit different. Ottavino essentially threw his slider at Michael A. Taylor’s left elbow and let it plop right on the inside edge. That’s not saying Ottavino’s throwing at guys, but he might be using other players’ fear of being hit to his advantage. (He’s kind of like the DC Comics villain Scarecrow, if you’re into that sort of thing.)
Jordan Hicks brought the gas all season long, but the movement he gets on that thing is just as insane. Triple-digit pitches are supposed to be straight, not move like a Pedro Martinez changeup. Forget anyone hitting these pitches, Yadier Molina catching them is astonishing in itself. His top heater of the year faces a cruel Justin Verlander hook. It’s cruel because it came against a 111-loss Orioles team. Their year was hard enough, they don’t need guys throwing the baseball like it’s a whiffle ball up there. They probably didn’t complain to MLB about it though, they know it only would’ve brought forth the wrath of Kate Upton—and that never ends well for anyone.
Not quite sure how Chris Archer did it, but this slider looks like a fastball until the absolute last second. Is this an act of wizardry? Maybe. Maybe not. It certainly doesn’t appear to be the act of a mortal. But as much as Archer’s slider looked like a grooved fastball at first, David Robertson’s curveball looked like it was going to be launched into 2019. Yangervis Solarte made sure to put a little something extra into that swing, but, truthfully, he never stood a chance.
Aaron Nola had himself quite the season in 2018. He’d be the best pitcher in the division, by far, if he wasn’t going toe-to-toe with Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, the only two NL pitchers to gain more votes in the NL Cy Young voting (with deGrom obviously winning, deservedly so). However, Nola’s movement is up there with both Scherzer and deGrom, as well as anyone else in baseball, and this sick fastball is prime evidence of that. His heater goes up against a Dylan Floro fastball that moves just as viscously, but off the plate and out of the reach of Freddy Galvis.
Chris Sale had a stretch this year where he was legitimately unhittable. This fastball came during that sweet spot. Seriously, it’s 100 on the black. As a left-handed hitter, you have zero chance of making contact. It’s just science. You’re better off doing what Nomar Mazara did: take it and hope the umpire screws up. So, on the one hand, you have a 100 MPH heater, on the other, you’ve got a 66 MPH knuckleball that makes Trey Mancini look like a middle schooler. When Steven Wright is healthy, he’s as tough as anyone in the league. Looking at this matchup now, this might be the toughest one of the opening round.
Chris Sale almost had a quadrant of his own, also landing a fastball to go with his two sliders in the Nastiest Pitching GIFs of 2018 Tournament. His first slider entry was actually the final pitch of the postseason, sending Johnny Hustle himself, Manny Machado, and the Dodgers home with another World Series loss. No. 2 came during Sale’s midseason fiesta. This, like the pitch to Machado, is one of those back-foot sliders your hear about, but hope like heck you never have to face.
Somehow Masahiro Tanaka snuck his way into the year-end tournament, sort of like he did with this fastball under Andrew Benintendi’s armpit on Sunday Night Baseball. Certainly not one of Benny Biceps’ best moments of 2018. Tanaka is challenged by a Dylan Maples slider in the first round that preyed on poor Daniel Palka. Clearly, the players care about the rivalry in Chicago. How else can you explain Maples’ motivation for throwing what’s clearly an obvious pitch?
Masahiro Tanaka’s Fastball vs. Dylan Maples’ Slider
Apparently, Jose Alvarado didn’t get the memo that Rafael Devers is just a kid. There’s no way he’d throw a 98 MPH fastball with that kind of movement if he’s made aware, right? As mean as Alvarado’s fastball was, Lance McCullers’ fastball to Nelson Cruz is the definition of bullying. Seriously, look it up. Under the baseball sub-section, you’ll see “Lance McCullers‘ 94 MPH fastball that attacked Nelson Cruz in on his hands on April 17, 2018.” Oddly specific, but the people at Webster’s have been at this a while. Why start questioning them now?
Turns out, Neil Walker wasn’t fooled by this Jose Berrios curveball. He knew he had no chance at making contact. However, he also knew there’s not a single person on the planet that could catch something moving like that. The thing dropped a foot-and-a-half on top of starting on the outer edge and finishing on the edge of the lefty batter’s box. Speaking of underwhelming Yankees, Zach Britton’s time with New York in 2018 was up-and-down. This stupid fastball to C.J. Cron was certainly one of his better moments with the Yankees.
Jose Berrios‘ Curveball vs. Zach Britton’s Fastball
This is the type of moment that’ll stick with Carlos Sanchez the next time he faces Jakob Junis. When you can’t lay off a pitch that hits you, what are you supposed to do? It’s a pretty helpless feeling. At least Miles Mikolas was more gentlemanly about the manner in which he made Chase Headley look stupid against his nasty hook. And this curve from Mikolas is old school 12-6. Good luck getting good wood on that one.
Xander Bogaerts had himself a big year and took a major step forward for the Red Sox. That being said, Chaz Roe made it look like Bogey had seen a slider in his life prior to this offering (No. 1). But you can you knock Bogaerts too much with that little hop? Or maybe that’s more reason to poke fun? Either way, that Roe slider faces another (No. 2) that Edwin Encarnacion expected to turn into a trot around the bases. Sorry, Edwin, Polly has to wait another day (or pitch) before it gets its stupid cracker.
Thor’s supposed to be the God of Thunder, yet Noah Syndergaard continues to bring gas every outing. Seems like a poor excuse for a nickname. (Unless it has something to do with his physical resemblance, which kind of makes sense, but is still a stretch. Chris Hemsworth doesn’t even have the long hair anymore.) Anyways, Syndergaard blew Sean Newcomb away with 97 MPH cheese that moves so late. The only way anyone hits this—especially a pitcher—is pure luck. That heater goes against another Syndergaard offering that’s a tick faster, but moves earlier and much more. Yangervis Solarte did his best, it just so happens his best effort was pretty ugly.