We’ve seen incredible pitches across the baseball season, and you’ve been voting every day for your favorite pitches. We held the Nastiest Pitching GIFs of the First Quarter and Second Quarter tournaments, and it’s time to crown another king of pitching GIFs with the Nastiest Pitching GIF of the Third Quarter. Sixteen pitches will enter, who will win?
Here are the rules:
- All GIFs were pulled from the six GIF of the Week competitions across weeks 13 and 18 of the baseball season.
- Every winner was granted an automatic bid, with the extra slots being hand selected by the staff across all Nastiest Pitches articles.
- There was one instance of a pitcher having two eligible pitches of the same type (Jakob Junis‘ slider) and we held a vote on Twitter to determine the pitch’s champion for the tournament.
- Votes will last until 12:00am EST the following morning, with the next round starting at 9:00am every morning and final round beginning on Monday morning.
- The excellent Michael Haas has created a gorgeous bracket of all 16 pitches, with secondary pitches and fastballs each receiving #1-#8 seeds.
Here are the matchups for Round #1:
#1 Masahiro Tanaka‘s Fastball vs. #8 Corey Kluber‘s Fastball
#2 Jordan Hicks‘ Fastball vs. #7 Jeremy Jeffress‘ Fastball
#3 Blake Treinen‘s Fastball vs. #3 Aaron Nola‘s Fastball
#4 Dylan Floro‘s Fastball vs. #5 Chris Sale‘s Fastball
#1 Chris Sale‘s Slider vs. #8 Max Scherzer‘s Changeup
#2 Jakob Junis‘ Slider vs. #7 Steve Cishek‘s Slider
#3 Blake Treinen‘s Slider vs. #6 Trevor Bauer‘s Curveball
#4 Miles Mikolas‘ Curveball vs. #5 Chris Archer‘s Slider
Watch The GIFs In The Links Below!
To kick things off, we’re featuring a pair of pitchers who may find themselves squaring off again in October. Masahiro Tanaka earned our #1 Fastball slot with this mind-bending fastball that curled over the zone with exagerrated horizontal movement. He faces another two-seam in Corey Kluber‘s heater, which starts right off the plate before falling comfortably into the zone. Both are clear eye-candy, but we’ll only be seeing one in Round 2.
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We have a pair of aces dueling in the opening round with Chris Sale and Max Scherzer facing off. First is Sale’s breaking ball that we will never get tired watching, here debilitating yet another right-handed batter with a literal “back-foot slider.” It’s incredible each time we see it. Meanwhile, we grasp a quick understanding of Scherzer’s success watching his changeup disappear off the plate with a mind of its own. We understand how each pitch has become elite in the majors, but only one can add a first round victory to their resume.
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Blake Treinen is no stranger to GIF Tournaments and his fastball has returned for yet another run at a title. This time, it’s 99mph with crazy sink, earning yet another strikeout. Meanwhile, Aaron Nola gets to show off his fantastic two-seamer, here using it to sneak a front-door 3-2 pitch for a clutch strikeout. We’re gaurenteed an unbelievable fastball in the next, it’s up to you to decide which one.
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Jakob Junis‘ slider is such a nasty pitch, we were forced to hold a Twitter vote to determine which slide piece would be featured in this competition. The community settled on an offering that earned a strikeout via a HBP and there’s a chance it could go far. However, Steve Cishek may have something to say about it, generating plenty of sweeping action on his bender to earn a huge swinging strike. There’s no wrong answer here, but only one slider will see another bout.
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It was an early exit for Jordan Hicks‘ 100+ mph heater last time out, but he’s back again, this time with a perfectly command pitch to steal a strike at a blistering 103mph. It would look like an easy stroll to Round 2 if it not for Jeremy Jeffress displaying wicked late movement on a two-seamer of his own, cruising for the outside edge before darting off the plate. It’s hard to choose between two elegant heaters, does the whiff or the paint get your vote?
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Miles Mikolas made a surprise run in the first half tournament and could find himself going far again with his same hook, showcasing once again its huge break over the plate. Meanwhile, former Ray Chris Archer gave us a perfect display of his slider’s vicious movement in Baltimore, diving out of the zone in a heartbeat at an abusrd 90mph velocity. Which breaking pitch does enough to earn another day?
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It’s not surprise that Blake Treinen is featured twice once again as his breaking ball is too filthy, darting out of the zone in a blink of an eye. At the same time, Trevor Bauer‘s hook is a marvel, falling from the sky to steal a strike from a fooled hitter. Each pitch is incredibly deceptive but only one steal strikes for another day.
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We all love watching pitchers spot the corners and there may not be better than Chris Sale landing a heater right on the corner at 100mph. It’s pure paint and beautiful, but not the only way to impress. Dylan Floro‘s heater takes a different approach by looking like a strike until the very last moment, featuring a ton of break suddenly into the opposite batter’s box. Both pitches demand multiple loops, but which will be watched again on Tuesday?
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