Watching The Top 150 Nastiest Pitches Of 2017 Was A Real Treat
This is baseball porn. I genuinely, GENUINELY enjoyed this, almost on a sexual level.
Lotttt of Jose Berrios, which was nice to see. A 23-year-old stud in the making over in Minnesota, who the casual baseball fan might not know too much about yet. Key word: Yet. Aaron Nola, another stud right-hander, who’s 24 and carving up lineups for the Phillies. Lot of Corey Kluber, which makes sense in yet another Cy Young season for him. Lot of Chris Sale in there, striking out right-handed hitters with sliders that go through the left-handed hitter’s batters box first and end up behind the right-handed hitter’s back foot. Aroldis Chapman, of course, still blowing fastballs by hitters at the speed of sound.
I didn’t do a tally or anything, but I’d say right next to Berrios, Nola and Sale, Yu Darvish made the most appearances on this list, which is a great — and necessary — reminder of how fuckin’ good this guy is. The postseason is a microscope like no other, and the last impression is always the most lasting. Darvish stunk in the World Series, giving up nine runs, eight earned, in 3.1 innings over two starts. Not great! But he had allowed just two earned runs over his previous two postseason starts in 11.1 innings with 14 strikeouts. We don’t talk about the first two starts, though.
Darvish ranked 14th in the majors in swing and miss rate (28%) out of the 91 pitchers who made at least 25 starts in 2017, but that obviously doesn’t include relief pitchers. Craig Kimbrel led the majors in swing and miss rate among the 359 pitchers who appeared in at least 25 games last season, getting batters to swing and miss at 42.7% of his pitches. The league average for that sample is 25%. That’s absolutely insane to be that much better than everyone else who is attempting to accomplish the same thing as you.
If you look at the leaders in swing and miss rate from this past season, you’ll see a lot of names that appeared in that video — nasty pitchers with nasty stuff like Kluber (33.6%), Max Scherzer (32.2%), Sale (31.8%), Chris Archer (30.3%), Clayton Kershaw (29.9%), Carlos Carrasco (29.8%), Zack Greinke (29.0%), Luis Severino (28.1%), Stephen Strasburg (27.8%) and Nola (26.6%). They were all in there.
Everyone wants to talk about how we’re currently in an era where pitchers are throwing harder than ever, and that there are more pitchers throwing 95+ than in any other period in the history of the game. That might be true, but these guys that are lighting up the radar gun can also throw some pretty nasty breaking shit and mix in some disgusting changeups that make really good hitters — there were some future Hall of Fame hitters in there — look like they played lacrosse in high school because they weren’t even good enough to play JV baseball.