Pitching Ninja ranks Five Filthiest Pitches of Week
By Rob Friedman, aka "Pitching Ninja"
FOX Sports MLB Analyst
I watch a lot of baseball games.
Dinners, TV viewing, any evening social function … they're all scheduled around my need to watch as much baseball as possible.
And when I'm not watching baseball, part of my time is spent going through submissions from fans about something I might have missed on the diamond.
It's all to make sure I catch every nasty pitch in Major League Baseball, and I've chronicled the most filthy stuff in the game for years on social media and countless TV broadcasts.
Now, I'm bringing my list of the Five Filthiest Pitches of the Week to FOX Sports.
Without further ado, let's get to the list …
1. Pitch of the Week: Clay Holmes’ 98-mph sinker
Holmes has been virtually untouchable this season. I’ve given him the nickname "Sure Lock," because when he comes in the game, the Yankees are a sure lock to win.
Nothing sums up Holmes’ stuff like this close-up of his 98-mph sinker with 20 inches of run. You can see why this pitch is one of the most valuable pitches in baseball this year, and the main reason his ground ball rate is an amazing 83.1% this season (league average is 45%).
2. Jhoan Duran’s 100-mph splinker
Duran throws hard. His fastball is regularly over 100 mph and has touched 103 mph several times this season. But this might be the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen. A 100-mph "splinker"?!
A splinker is Duran’s unique pitch that’s a cross between a splitter and a sinker. Throwing a 100-mph "off-speed" pitch is just absurd. The splinker looks just like a fastball and then dives out of the zone. And, it’s a great example of why every hit is a small miracle.
3. Jimmy Yacabonis’s 95-mph two-seamer
Jimmy Yaca what? Yep, Jimmy Yacabonis had this "rising" two-seamer that ran 19 inches. It looks like CGI.
A hitter would deserve a Yaca-bonus for merely making contact with this wizardry. He also had a ridiculous slider in this same game that broke 19 inches. Electric stuff.
4. Shohei Ohtani’s slider
By now, it’s obvious to every baseball fan that Ohtani is a superhero. The reigning AL MVP had eight RBIs at the plate in one game this week and then the next day had 13 strikeouts in one of the most dominant pitching performances of the season.
Most of us know about Shohei’s splitter and fastball, but this unhittable slider was my favorite pitch from his 13-strikeout outing. That two-plane break, both horizontally and vertically, makes it a nightmare for hitters.
5. Emmanuel Clase’s 100- and 101-mph cutters and 94- and 96-mph sliders
Clase is a freak of nature. He throws the hardest cutter in the Statcast era, averaging nearly 100 mph on his cutter. But Clase’s most unhittable pitch is probably his slider, which has a 44.1% whiff rate and is also the fastest slider in baseball today, averaging 92 mph.
Here he shows off both his cutter and slider in all their absurdity. You can see why the Guardians right-hander is one of the best closers in baseball.
This "knuckle seeds" by Raisel Iglesias had only about 1 RPM (the Angels pitcher threw an entire bucket of sunflower seeds during the Angels-Mariners brawl Sunday). Here it is with a motion tail on it. Pure Unhittable Filth.
Everyone loves a good knuckleball … but knuckle seeds? It’s the stuff of legends.
Rob Friedman is a well-known pitching analyst on Twitter and YouTube, and his work has been featured on many Major League Baseball broadcasts.