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.
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Shane McClanahan’s Fastball
I’ve watched this pitch a couple dozen times now and it doesn’t get any less ridiculous. This pitch was triple digits located perfectly at the letters with over a foot of horizontal tail (13 inches, to be exact) to utterly baffle the best hitter of his generation in Mike Trout. McClanahan shut out the Angels for six innings with a 41% fastball CSW in a game his team would eventually win in extras. It’s just his second season, but McClanahan has a really strong argument to already be the AL’s best starter.
Jimmy Herget’s Slider
With his funky delivery and absurd breaking ball spin rates, it’s no surprise that people call Herget “The Human Glitch”. He can consistently get big whiffs out of hitters on pitches even this far out of the zone and has been one of the only reliable options on a shaky Angels bullpen.
Caleb Ferguson’s Curveball
Who needs to trade for an All-Star at the deadline when you can simply get guys like Dustin May, Brusdar Graterol, and Ferguson back after recovering from injury? The Dodgers are eight games above any other team in the NL, and their ability to get elite performances up and down the roster is one of the biggest reasons why.
George Kirby’s Slider
Kirby has been one of the best rookie hurlers in the league, currently sporting a 3.32 ERA with a minuscule 3.2% walk rate (currently ranking #1 in the league in that metric). The great late movement on this slider got CJ Abrams to offer a ridiculously late swing and rack up a strikeout. Kirby had a 42% slider CSW in this game.
Matt Barnes‘ Curveball
Not many breaking balls are thrown this hard, but Barnes has the near-unhittable combination of an 85 mph curveball and over four feet of drop with this breaker. Two pitches ago, Barnes threw this exact pitch to Teoscar Hernández, but he was no less ready for it the second time.
Lucas Giolito’s Changeup
Giolito has long had one of the nastiest changeups in the league, and he used it with great success today. He got two changeup whiffs in this at-bat to the white-hot Adley Rutschman, and changeups accounted for five of Giolito’s ten whiffs in this 5-3 win.
Framber Valdez‘ Curveball
There might not be anyone in all of baseball who gets that much movement on their breaking ball. Valdez, who spun this pitch at over 3000 rpm, also got nearly a full foot of sweep towards Jose Miranda with 16 inches of induced vertical drop. With insane metrics like that, it’s no surprise that Twins hitters came up empty on 9 of their 13 swings against this elite curveball.
Kyle Wright’s Curveball
Wright’s development has largely been emblematic of embracing modern pitching trends, like lowering release point to get a flatter approach angle and throwing more secondary pitches when they’re effective. In this game, he threw more curveballs than any other pitch (and only threw fastballs a third of the time), and absolutely mowed down the Pirates lineup, getting 8 curveball whiffs like this one while throwing 7 shutout innings on just 73 pitches.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)