The 5 Best Sliders of 2022

The pitchers with the 5 best sliders in baseball last year.

What’s up everyone!

I’m in the middle of my annual pitch review series where I’m taking a look at the five best pitches of each pitch type from 2022, as ranked by PLV! Today, we’re going to be looking at the five best sliders from last year.

If you’d like a closer look at what this article series is about, check out the first article in the series on the five best changeups of 2022 (also check out my list of the five best curveballs of 2022). And if you’d like an in-depth primer on what PLV is and how it works, check it out here.

Otherwise, let’s get to the five best sliders of 2022!


5. Adam Ottavino



If you’ve been paying attention to Adam Ottavino’s career (or if you’ve been frequenting this site for a long time), this should come as no surprise. Ottavino’s frisbee slider is probably one of the most-GIF’d pitches on this site. I remember putting it in the daily Nastiest Pitches article constantly back when I used to write them (and that was like five years ago).

Ottavino is 37 years old and still kicking out there as a reliever, and in fact, he had quite the bounceback year last year for the Mets, pitching in 66 games to a 2.06 ERA, 2.85 FIP, 2.57 xERA and a 30.6% strikeout rate with 19 holds and three saves.

It’s nothing that’s going to win him reliever of the year, but considering 2021 came with a 4.21 ERA and 2020 came with a 5.89 ERA, he’s made quite the improvement.

And unsurprisingly, his slider was his main pitch, as he threw it 43% of the time, throwing his sinker 33% of the time and tossing in a four-seamer, changeup, and occasional cutter too.

The slider was killer, as you’d expect, posting a 37.9% chase rate, 18.9% swinging-strike rate, 39.2% CSW, and a .227 wOBA and .237 xwOBA against. In just about every way you can imagine, Ottavino’s slider was awesome. And it’s still one of the most fun pitches to watch in baseball.


4. Shohei Ohtani



I don’t think you need me to tell you how good Shohei Ohtani is, but you know what? I’m going to do it anyway because sometimes just laying out the numbers is fun to do with him.

Those numbers? That’d be 166 innings pitched, a 2.33 ERA, a 2.40 FIP, a 33.2% strikeout rate, a .273/.356/.519 slashline, 34 home runs, 90 runs, 95 RBI, 11 stolen bases, and three babies saved from burning buildings while developing a cure for cancer.

Yeah, Ohtani’s incredible, and when it comes to his pitch repertoire, this slider is his primary pitch, and understandably so. Last year, the pitch had a 37.2% chase rate, 19.8% swinging-strike rate, 40% CSW, and a .221 wOBA and .232 xwOBA against. It’s an incredible pitch from an incredible player.


3. Andrés Muñoz



This slider is Andrés Muñoz’s bread and butter. He only throws two pitches: this slider and a fastball, and the slider gets thrown nearly two-thirds of the time.

And it’s a killer pitch. Last year, the pitch posted a 45.9% chase rate, 29.5% swinging-strike rate, 43.4% CSW, .160 wOBA against, and a .168 xwOBA against.

The fastball was not as great. While it averages 100 MPH, hitters were able to knock it around a bit last year to the tune of a .389 wOBA and a .162 ISO against.

Still, though, this slider more than made up for the fastball and helped propel Muñoz to a 2.49 ERA and 2.04 FIP over 65 innings with a 38.7% strikeout rate.


1. Jacob deGrom (tie)



Inevitably when I do these types of lists, we’re going to have plenty of “no duh” guys on the list, and here we have one of them. Hey, guess what? Jacob deGrom? He’s pretty good!

I guess that’s how you know PLV might just be on the right track because it’s saying Jacob deGrom’s repertoire is pretty nasty and I think we all know that to be true. And this slider was among the nastiest of all.

Last year, the pitch posted a 51.5% chase rate, 32.7% swinging-strike rate, 39.2% CSW, and a .174 wOBA and .167 xwOBA against, and its 5.97 PLV was tied for the best in all of baseball (tied with the next guy on our list).

Now if deGrom could just log more than 25 starts, that would be awesome.


1. Emmanuel Clase (tie)



If there’s a pitcher that PLV is in love with that isn’t named Jacob deGrom, it’s Emmanuel Clase:

As I mentioned in deGrom’s entry, the 5.97 PLV on Clase’s slider is tied with deGrom’s slider for the best PLV on a single pitch in all of baseball. If you’ve watched Emmanuel Clase pitch, it’s no surprise. He’s arguably one of the five best relievers in all of baseball, and his player page is just as red as it gets.

I don’t know that I’ve seen many player pages on this site look like that. But I mean, when you post a 1.36 ERA through 72.2 innings with a 1.98 FIP and a 0.73 WHIP, your page is gonna look like this.

Clase makes his money with two pitches: a cutter and a slider (and spoiler alert: you’re gonna see him on the best cutters list).

This slider is ridiculous, coming in at around 92 MPH on average, last year it posted a 55.8% chase rate, 27.6% swinging-strike rate, 40.5% CSW, a .136 wOBA against, and a .188 xwOBA against. It’s an absolutely filthy pitch, and that mixed with an equally filthy cutter makes Clase one of the hardest-to-hit relievers in the sport.


Graphic adapted by: Chris Corr (@Chris_Studios on Twitter)

Ben Palmer

Senior columnist at Pitcher List. Lifelong Orioles fan, also a Ravens/Wizards/Terps fan. I also listen to way too much music, watch way too many movies, and collect way too many records.

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