The 11 Nastiest Pitches From Friday

Baseball is back and so are the GIFs

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!


Chaz Roe’s Slider




This slider from Chaz Roe is the way too early favorite for pitch of the year. Roe makes a baseball looks like a whiffle ball and throws a slider that looks like a good pitch to hit before taking a sharp turn out of the strikezone. For any new readers of Nastiest Pitches, Chaz Roe’s slider is a mainstay around here. It may be the only pitcher who can throw a nastier pitch in 2021 is Chaz Roe. for nastiness Chaz Roe is Chaz Roe. (h/t to PL+ member Christopher Reeves).


Hirokazu Sawamura’s Splitter




Hirokazu Sawamura may remind Red Sox fans of Koji Uehara with his high-velocity splitter. Sawamura has a chance to claim a high leverage role in a Red Sox bullpen that looks thin to start the season. The splitter looks just like a fastball and doesn’t need a ton of downward movement to take it away from Austin Hays‘ bat.


Michael Kopech’s Four-Seam Fastball




Michael Kopech still has every opportunity to become a more than useful starting pitcher in the majors, but based on his outing last night he would be a great high leverage reliever. Kopech got his fastball close to triple digits over his two innings and made Albert Pujols flinch on one located optimally up and in. Kopech’s downside as a reliever might be similar to Liam Hendriks, the current White Sox closer.


Blake Snell’s Slider




Blake Snell’s Padres debut was everything the Padres should expect from Snell this, hopefully healthy, season. Snell’s pitch count got up a little bit and he didn’t make it through five innings, though to be fair it is opening day and most teams and pitchers are conservative to be the season. Snell was also a swinging strike machine and dominated at times. Hopefully, Snell can get his wish and the Padres will let him extend his starts more than the Rays did, though injuries are always a concern for him.


Pablo López’s Changeup




Pablo López is a fun pitcher to watch with a smorgasbord of offerings that move at different speeds, spins, and trajectories. López’s changeup is his bread and butter strikeout pitch and he can spot it at the bottom of the zone or just under the zone as he did on this pitch. Hitters see a fastball just above the knees before the pitch dives sharply at 88 MPH. (h/t to PL+ member Steve Gesuele).


Yoan López’s Slider




Yoan López dominated Tommy Pham with sliders in this at-bat and finished him off with his best one. Pham has a violent swing and he was not able to change his bat path and foul off a slider with quality tilt placed effectively to induce a swing and miss. If López keeps throwing sliders like this he has a shot at claiming a bigger role in the Dbacks bullpen.


John Means‘ Changeup




If everything else this season goes poorly for the Orioles this season, a healthy John Means will be a joy to watch pitch every fifth game. Means used more breaking ball last year during a nice run to finish last season, but he was back to his changeup as his primary out pitch to start 2021. Means cut through the Red Sox lineup effortlessly with command of his fastball and the identical arm action of his changeup to play off that fastball. I think the Orioles’ high-end goal might be to not lose 100 games so a 1-0 record is a particularly good start.


Mark Melancon’s Knuckle-Curve




We try not to include pitches that end up in the dirt because often it is hard to see the finishing trajectory and late movement clearly. I made an exception for this Mark Melancon breaking ball because the slow-motion cut captures the almost straight up and down break that Melancon gets on the ball from his fingertips and knuckles all the way to the dirt. Sometimes it’s easy to see the nastiness of a pitch and the slow-motion just a compliment to standard cut, and sometimes the slow-motion helps display just how nasty a pitch truly is.


Chris Rodriguez’s Two-Seam Fastball




Chris Rodriguez threw two strong innings last night using a slider and this two-seam fastball that the Angels off-center camera angle does not do justice. The pitch might be just off the plate, but at 98 MPH with the spin causing Magnus force break it is too nasty not to feature as a nasty pitch. (h/t to PL+ member Mike Guzman).


César Valdez’s Changeup




I don’t know if there’ll be another Nastiest Pitches all season that includes two Orioles pitchers, but that’s the way the cookie crumbled today. The guy who many believed would be the closer, Tanner Scott, was the only other Orioles pitcher and he threw a couple of sliders that were close to making the list as well. The actual closer, at least last night, César Valdez doesn’t throw his fastball much harder than 85 MPH, but his changeup looks exactly like the fastball coming out of his hand before it falls off the table.


Nathan Eovaldi’s Slider




Nathan Eovaldi is a pitcher who worked hard to develop his repertoire and downplay his hard, but easily tracked, fastball. Eovaldi used to use his curveball more often earlier in his career but has increased his slider usage in recent years. Eovaldi when healthy is a consistent mid-rotation option, but probably not the opening day starter for an organization that actually cares whether it makes the playoffs or not.


What was the Nastiest Pitch on 4/2?


Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns of Twitter)

Max Posner

Max is a NYC born student living in Baltimore, MD. He enjoys the Yankees, overanalyzing, and asking lots of questions.

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