Between a tight NL Central race, an early Red Sox slump, and a surprisingly elite Twins run, the first half has been jam-packed with great action, great moments, and, of course, nasty pitches. But before we kick off the first-half tournament, there are a few pitches that didn’t quite make the cut. In any other situation, these might’ve made the final cut. Who knows what could’ve happened from there?
Which pitch do you think deserved a spot among the final 16? Vote in the poll at the bottom of this article to let your voice be heard!
Max Scherzer‘s Changeup
If you haven’t heard yet, this Max Scherzer guy is a pretty good pitcher. Scherzer has been the most dominant pitcher on the planet for the past few years, and that is thanks to a mix of a deadly fastball, changeup, and slider. Here, Scherzer uses the second of the bunch, his filthy changeup, to make quick work of JT Riddle.
Trevor Bauer‘s Curveball
Pitching obsessive and rabid tweeter Trevor Bauer has made a name for himself as a maverick. Bauer doesn’t care what people think about him, and that’s worked to his advantage. The hook gets some brutal movement that makes hitters feel helpless at the plate. Here, Nick Hundley is bewildered by the pitch, and frankly speaking, so am I.
Jorge Lopez‘s Sinker
Perhaps you’re surprised that a name like Jorge Lopez is following up the likes of Bauer and Scherzer. That’s normal, and as a matter of fact, I’d be surprised if you didn’t question it. However, it’s impossible to ignore this terrifying offering that Lopez seemingly throws inside right before it slingshots onto the inside edge of the plate.
Adam Ottavino‘s Slider
The Yankees signed Adam Ottavino this past offseason for a $9 million AAV. So far, that price tag is seeming like an absolute steal. Ottavino has been elite, with a 1.77 ERA, backed up by a deadly pairing of his slider and his two-seam fastball. Here, you’re looking at the former: a filthy slider that sweeps off the plate and gets a chase for strike three.
Charlie Morton‘s Curveball
AL ERA leader Charlie Morton is enjoying what has so far been a career year. Let’s face the facts: If you’re being mentioned in the same Cy Young conversation as a guy such as Justin Verlander, you must be doing something right. Morton is doing just that thanks to his curveball, which leads the entire league in pVAL.
Jose Alvarado‘s Two-Seam Fastball
Back-to-back Tampa Bay Rays? Well, they certainly deserve it. Jose Alvarado‘s prowess on the mound has clearly been overshadowed by Morton’s fantastic year, but let’s not forget just how filthy Alvarado’s two-seamer is. The pitch has been good enough to net Alvarado a 10.2 pVAL, and even great hitters such as Gary Sanchez are having issues with it.
Chaz Roe‘s Slider
Alright, one more Rays pitcher, but this is the last one (for today at least). Chaz Roe throws a fantastic Frisbee slider that has caused hitters A LOT of trouble this year. The pitch has been a mainstay in Nastiest Pitches because it’s just pure filth. Roe has an elite 33% strikeout rate on the pitch, which is seen here fooling, yet again, Gary Sanchez. I would advise Gary to just give up against these Rays arms.
Kyle Crick‘s Slider
Kyle Crick‘s slider might not necessarily be a Money Pitch (he only has a 32% zone rate), but it’s clearly one of the best in baseball that doesn’t meet the necessary qualification. Crick has elite chase (43%) and whiff (20%) rates on the pitch, which can regularly be seen making major league guys look like little leaguers. I’m calling this one my personal favorite.
Max Fried‘s Curveball
Finally, we’ve got Max Fried‘s curveball. Fried has been good enough this year to help prop up a Braves rotation that might’ve seemed weak in comparison to division rivals, the Mets and Nationals. Don’t let the 4.29 ERA fool you, as Fried’s 3.43 xFIP has been good enough to rank 12th out of all qualified pitchers.
Which one of these pitches most deserved to be included in the tournament?
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)