Every morning, the We Love Baseball crew reviews the Nastiest Pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious high-definition GIFs. We want to bring you the highest caliber of nastiness possible, so if you see a nasty pitch, please tell us about it. You can tweet @PitcherList to let us know and we’ll give you a shout-out here in the article if your tip makes the cut.
As a bonus for PL+ members, let us know about a pitch on the PL+ Discord in the Nasty Pitches Channel, and if your suggestion is included the next day, you’ll be entered into a weekly drawing for a free T-shirt!
Brad Keller’s Slider
Brad Keller returned from the COVID list on Thursday night and pitched a delightful outing against the Chicago Cubs, earning the win in five innings of no-run ball while striking out seven. His 45% CSW on the slide piece led to five of Keller’s seven strikeouts, including this gem that Anthony Rizzo immediately regretted swinging at. Keller was a favorite of our own Nick Pollack in Spring Training, and after this outing I imagine he’ll be snatched up quickly if you don’t go out and make the move first. Jump on it, because this could be something.
Zac Gallen’s Changeup
Zac Gallen struck out six and gave up six hits in six innings (666?!?!) against one of the best lineups in baseball. This changeup to Josh Reddick drops off the table at the last second as he swings through it en route to an inning-ending strikeout. Gallen is blossoming before our eyes into one of the best young aces in baseball.
Touki Toussaint’s Curveball
Toooouuuuuki. This curveball is deadly, and now that Touki Toussaint has a permanent spot in the rotation we’re going to see a lot more of this nastiness in the next couple months. Touki racked up nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings on Thursday night, giving up three runs on four hits in an outing where he looked totally in control for the most part. He gave up a solo homer to Bo Bichette in the third inning, then was sent out for the 7th inning when he should have stayed in the dugout. He’s not quite ready to dominate a lineup three times over, but the stuff is there and he looks like he could develop into ace material pretty soon if he keeps this up. (H/T PL+ members Burial and Cole Copeland for pointing this pitch out)
Dylan Bundy’s Changeup
This ball first looks like it’s going left, then cuts back right, then drops out of nowhere as Shed Long swung right through it. Dylan Bundy has increased the vertical drop on his changeup almost seven full inches since 2016, and he was recently the focal point of a fantastic going deep piece by our own Alex Fast. Bundy is also the recipient of Thursday night’s GIF Sandwich, which if you remember is a completely arbitrary award given to the pitcher who throws the most GIFable pitches on the night. Bundy was locating his changeups and curveballs effectively from the get go, and he generated ten strikeouts en route to a complete game. It was a super fun outing to watch and Bundy is very deserving of the prestigious award that is the GIF Sandwich.
Carlos Carrasco’s Slider
The best part of this pitch is the recognition by the red hot Nick Castellanos, who points at Carlos Carrasco after swinging wildly at this filthy slider out of the zone. Baseball is a sport of precision and when other players appreciate the difficulty of throwing a pitch like this it makes the entire sequence even more enjoyable. Castellanos has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball and it would have been easy for him to throw his bat and put up a fit, but this reaction to a filthy pitch like this is one of the reasons why he’s so likable.
Josh Lindblom’s Curveball
Josh Lindblom returned from a back injury, giving up two runs in five innings while striking out seven. This pitch to the increasingly strikeout-able Luis Robert is indicative of exactly why he was on so many analysts’ radars before the season. The 2020 version of Lindblom’s curveball has five more inches of vertical break and four more inches of horizontal break than his 2017 version of the pitch, the last time he pitched in MLB. The improvements that he refined over in the KBO translated on the field in Chicago on Thursday night, and if he can keep it up he should be a guy on your radar going forward.
Nate Pearson’s Fastball
Nate Pearson misses his spot a bit here but that may not necessarily be the case. As our own Michael Ajeto pointed out in our Discord channel (which you can access by joining PL+), it may be a case of the catcher giving the pitcher a spot to hit in the middle of the zone just to ensure he hits the zone at all. This was a tactic commonly used by Rays’ catchers last season with Tyler Glasnow, who is known to be a bit wild and Pearson may be showing that same trait. Either way, this pitch was painted perfectly on the corner and Tyler Flowers was taking all the way.
Jordan Yamamoto’s Curveball
The Miami Marlins have been on a tear since returning from their COVID break, with all four wins coming against an Orioles team that I don’t think is that bad. Jordan Yamamamoto made his season debut on Thursday night, giving up four earned runs in four innings, but he did sling a few pitches that display some legitimate talent in that right arm. This curveball to the red hot Hanser Alberto had plenty of spin on it and it disappeared out of the zone to generate a swinging strike.
Luis Castillo’s Changeup
Anytime I get to write Nastiest Pitches on a night that Luis Castillo pitches I know I have at least one pitch for the article. I’ll say this every time – Castillo’s changeup is one of my favorite pitches in baseball, and this pitch is as nasty as it gets for him. The location on this pitch is perfect – it’s low enough that Domingo Santana swings right over it, but also still high enough that it may still be a called strike if Santana sits on it. It’s easy to find a changeup or curveball in the dirt, but it’s not easy to find a pitch that breaks as much as this one while still landing just below the zone. This ability is special, and it’s an ability that Castillo possesses, and it’s just gorgeous.
Dylan Bundy’s Curveball
We return to Bundy for the final pitch of the night, of course. His curveball was getting all kinds of break on Thursday night, looking almost more like a yo-yo than a baseball thrown 60 feet 6 inches. Daniel Vogelbach would go on to homer later in the game but it was the only blemish given up by Bundy on the night. Bundy is absolutely cruising right now and in a COVID shortened season he may have a good case for the Cy Young after his first three starts.
GIF of the Night
Which was your favorite pitch? Vote below, and the winner may be featured in our Nastiest Pitches tournament midway through the season.