The Nastiest Pitches From May: Smokin’ Sixteen

Sixteen enter, who will win?

Every day we bring you the nastiest pitches of the previous night’s games, and there are a bunch to sift through for our weekly Nastiest Pitch series to determine which pitches are the nastiest of the week. We’ve since narrowed it down to sixteen of the very best pitches from the previous month, and it’s up to you to determine which pitch will be crowned the Nastiest Pitch of May.

Last month it was Shane McClanahan’s sinker that took the crown. His fastball is a two seed in this month’s bracket and should be a strong contender for the title. Can he win back to back months? Only time will tell.

Vote for one pitch in each matchup, and be sure to come back tomorrow to vote in the next round. Every vote counts, and your opinion matters!


Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)


5/17 – Yu Darvish’s Sinker (1)






5/20 – Rich Hill’s Curveball (4)




Our first matchup this month is between two polar opposite pitches (and pitchers). First is the top overall seed, Yu Darvish’s ridiculous front door sinker that somehow barges its way right through the house and almost out the backdoor entirely. Meanwhile, Rich Hill’s curveball is a Nastiest Pitches mainstay and this is one of his better pitches of the season.


Which Pitch Was Nastier?


5/31 – Tommy Nance’s Sinker (3)






5/5 – Blake Treinen’s Slider (2)




Tommy Nance, the newcomer, matches up against Blake Treinen, one of the nastiest pitchers of the last five years who somehow became even nastier in 2021. He’s added 10 inches of horizontal break on his slider this season and as a result it’s been featured in Nastiest Pitches an insane six times already through the first two-plus months of the season. It’s the most of any other pitcher/pitch combination so far and I’m sure there are more to come.

But that’s enough about Treinen, because Tommy Nance has been filthy in his own right in his short time in the league. That sinker is straight up disgusting and it’s helping him get more and more usage in high leverage situations out in Chicago. Keep an eye on him moving forward.


Which Pitch Was Nastier?


5/14 – Corey Kluber’s Curveball (1)






5/15 – Trevor Bauer’s Fastball (4)




One of Treinen’s teammates in LA, Trevor Bauer, is the underdog in this matchup against Corey Kluber’s disgusting curveball. Bauer’s fastball gets some serious arm side movement, and no it’s not actually a sinker. Yes, it fools me pretty much every time. Regardless of what it is, it’s still nasty. But is it nastier than Kluber’s curve? We shall see.


Which Pitch Was Nastier?


5/10 – Phillips Valdez’s Changeup (3)






5/14 – José Alvarado’s Sinker (2)




Heat or finesse? That’s the question I pose to you with this matchup. A 99 MPH banana sinker from José Alvarado or a vicious 84 MPH changeup with a ton of arm side run from Phillips Valdez?


Which Pitch Was Nastier?


5/30 – Kevin Gausman’s Splitter (1)






5/5 – Anthony Bender’s Sinker (4)




The reigning NL Player of the Month faces off against a guy whose sinker from his MLB debut I personally can’t get enough of. I know that Anthony Bender’s sinker doesn’t quite hit its’ spot, but man oh man does that get a ton of late movement. Meanwhile, Kevin Gausman’s splitter drops like a bowling ball into a pool and makes a splash in the form of a whiff from Cody Bellinger. Nasty stuff.


Which Pitch Was Nastier?


5/2 – Emmanuel Clase’s Cutter (3)






5/27 – Shane McClanahan’s Fastball (2)




Shane McClanahan is back to defend his title for Nastiest Pitch of the month. He’s got some stiff competition this time around against Emmanuel Clase’s triple-digit cutter with some filthy drop and a helpless swing. Clase makes it look effortless, which is the most impressive part, but McClanahan almost looks like he threw this pitch with some rise. While we know it’s not possible, the illusion is still there and the batter probably can’t really tell the difference. I’m very curious to see how this matchup ends up.


Which Pitch Was Nastier?


5/11 – Freddy Peralta’s Slider (1)






5/18 – Aroldis Chapman’s Sinker (4)




That slider from Freddy Peralta is straight up filthy. It legitimately traveled from the midpoint of the batter’s box on the right to the midpoint of the batter’s box on the left. That’s an insane distance for a pitch to move. Yes, it’s a bit deceiving thanks to his cross-body delivery, but let us just have this nice thing and enjoy it without your technicalities.

Meanwhile, Aroldis Chapman threw yet another triple digit sinker that shot out of a cannon and hugged the strike zone on the way by. 103 MPH is no joke and you certainly don’t see that every day.


Which Pitch Was Nastier?


5/9 – Aaron Bummer’s Slider (3)






5/1 – Jonathan Loaisiga’s Sinker (2)




Our final matchup of the first round is between Aaron Bummer’s front door slider and a sinker from Jonathan Loaisiga that creeps in on the batter after exploding out of his hand. Regardless of who wins, they’ll face a stiff matchup in the second round.


Which Pitch Was Nastier?


Tune in tomorrow for the Exciting Eight, and don’t forget to let us know in the comments if your favorite pitch deserves some love!


(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns)

Ben Brown

Ben is a lifelong resident of the great state of Maine who loves the wild and wacky intricacies of baseball. During the summer months, you'll find him either in the woods at a golf course or floating on the water upta camp, both with a local beer in hand and a game on the radio.

5 responses to “The Nastiest Pitches From May: Smokin’ Sixteen”

  1. Matt says:

    Man Gausman’s splitter is nasty

  2. rainmaker says:

    It seems like bad form to complain about these excellent posts that I love so much, but I don’t love the matchups. Clase’s cutter and Valdez’s changeup are in my top 5 despite the fact that I voted for neither.

    Sorry to nitpick. Keep up the great work!

  3. HP says:

    Degrom is not here and he is the winner

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