Welcome to the future of Major League Baseball! With the 2023 season looming, it’s time to take a closer look at some of the nastiest pitches in the league. From Kevin Gausman’s splitter to Shohei Ohtani’s splitter, there are some truly remarkable pitches to watch out for this year. In this blog post, we’ll take a deep dive into the most exciting pitches from each team in Major League Baseball.
From the Blue Jays’ Kevin Gausman’s splitter to the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw’s curveball, there are some truly remarkable pitches to watch out for this season. Let’s start with the Blue Jays. Gausman’s splitter is a deadly pitch, holding hitters to an .087 batting average against it in 2022, with 59 K’s in 93 plate appearances and a 53.3% whiff rate. The Orioles’ Félix Bautista has a similar pitch, but his is a 99 mph fastball with a splitter as his wipeout pitch.
The Rays’ Tyler Glasnow has a curveball that is as nasty as ever. Batters went hitless against it with 11 strikeouts in 15 plate appearances (including the postseason) once he returned from Tommy John surgery late in 2022. For the Red Sox, Chris Sale’s sweeping lefty slider is one of the great pitches of this generation — he has 956 career K’s with it — and we have the chance to see it over a full season for the first time in four years.
The Yankees’ Carlos Rodón has a four-seamer that is one of MLB’s most valuable in 2022 and produced 135 strikeouts, tied for the most with Gerrit Cole. The Guardians’ Emmanuel Clase has a 100 mph cutter and the Royals’ Brady Singer has a sinker that averages 94 mph with 15 inches of arm-side run. The Tigers’ Alex Lange has a curveball and the Twins’ Jhoan Duran has a “splinker”, a splitter/sinker hybrid that took baseball by storm in 2022.
The White Sox’ Dylan Cease has a slider and the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani has a splitter that MLB hitters have an .093 batting average and 59% strikeout rate against it since he joined the Angels. The Astros’ Framber Valdez has a sinker that drops 3.1 inches more than an average sinker and the Athletics’ Shintaro Fujinami has a four-seamer that averages over 96 mph and touches triple digits.
The Mariners’ Luis Castillo has a changeup that is the perfect complement to his two-seamer, which averages 96.9 mph with 17.8 inches of horizontal break in the same direction. The Rangers’ Jacob deGrom has a slider that was one of the most dominant pitches of the year and the Braves’ Spencer Strider has a four-seamer that averaged 98.2 mph, with elite spin and rise.
The Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara has a changeup that comes in at close to 92 mph and fades nearly 17 inches to the arm side. The Mets’ Edwin Díaz has a slider that had great movement and the Nationals’ MacKenzie Gore has a curveball that drops over 52 inches but breaks less than one inch horizontally.
The Phillies’ Aaron Nola has a knuckle-curve that gets great movement and the Brewers’ Corbin Burnes has a cutter that has 231 strikeouts over the last two seasons. The Cardinals’ Ryan Helsley has a four-seamer that was one of the hardest in the league, averaging 99.6 mph, with elite spin and rise. The Cubs’ Justin Steele has a big-breaking slider and the Pirates’ Mitch Keller has a slider that was a top-10 slider by horizontal break.
The Reds’ Hunter Greene has a four-seamer that set a pitch-tracking era record for the most 100 mph fastballs thrown in a game and the D-backs’ Zac Gallen has a knuckle-curve that he peppers the bottom edge of the strike zone with. The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw has a 12-6 curveball that drops an average of nearly 67 inches, with less than five inches of horizontal movement.
The Giants’ Logan Webb has a sinker with the most drop of any sinker in the league and the Padres’ Josh Hader has a sinker that he hit triple digits for the first time in his career. The Rockies’ Daniel Bard has a sinker that he throws at 100 mph and the Giants’ Logan Steele has a knuckle-curve that gets great movement.
We’ve only scratched the surface of the nastiest pitches in Major League Baseball, but there’s no doubt that the 2023 season will be full of exciting pitches to watch. So grab your popcorn and get ready for some truly remarkable pitching!