The first month of the season has finally come to an end, which means it’s time to decide which pitching GIF from the month of April ranks highest. But that doesn’t start until Tuesday. First, we need to recognize the pitches that were impressive but not quite on the level to make the final cut.
The following pitches are the ones that fell just short. Which pitch deserved a spot among the final 16? Vote in the poll at the bottom of this article to let your voice be heard!
Lou Trivino’s Curveball
Looks like Jose Altuve’s timing was just a little off here. Or maybe he thought he should take a cut at this Lou Trivino curve at the last second, once he realized it wasn’t a fastball going well over his head. This a small victory for Trivino but a significant sign of how tough he can be. Altuve’s not someone who gets fooled often. Especially not like this.
Mike Fiers‘ Curveball
For those who don’t know, Justin Smoak measures in at 6’4”. So it doesn’t seem possible for a pitch to be a called strike if it starts at his eye level. Clearly, Mike Fiers didn’t get that memo. Even though this curve comes in at 72 mph, it’s not exactly a pitch most hitters will go after, given it looks like a ball almost the entire way toward the plate.
Luis Castillo’s Changeup
Luis Castillo’s low three-quarters arm-slot can make it seem like a fastball is rising as it approaches a hitter. Generally, that only applies to fastballs. What’s crazier is this changeup looks like it might be mid-thigh to belt-high, then dives just out of the zone, making it very tough to hit and nearly impossible to lay off.
Joakim Soria’s Curveball
Whether it’s a two-seamer or an offspeed pitch, any time someone leaves an offering up in the zone or above it, the pitch tends to flatten out. You can still get horizontal action on it, but depth is very difficult to maintain. Knowing that, it’s impossible to explain the science behind this Joakim Soria curveball.
Caleb Smith’s Curveball
Caleb Smith’s hook doesn’t have as crazy depth as some of the other curves among the honorable mentions, but it breaks so late. Plus, it looks like it’s meat down the middle before the break. That’s probably why Johan Camargo took a knee after this swing. He needed a second to figure out what exactly just happened.
Justin Verlander’s Slider
This Justin Verlander slider might be the biggest snub of the tournament. There’s a ton of break. It takes off very late considering how much it moves. It comes in pretty hot a 90 mph. Most impressive of all: This slider is dotted up. Robinson Chirinos did not have to move his mitt to corral this pitch in.
Which one of these pitches most deserved to be included in the tournament?