Dan Altavilla nutmegged and struck out an unsuspecting batter with a nasty slider
There are so many different ways for a pitcher to strike out a hitter. As pitchers' velocities continue to climb and their secondary pitchers increase in nastiness, hitters are becoming more and more vulnerable to looking especially silly trying to make contact.
On Monday, in a two-strike count against Mariners right-hander Dan Altavilla, Reds outfielder Jordan Patterson surely just wanted to shorten up and put the ball in play. Altavilla decided he would have no such opportunity, and unleashed a slider that literally went through Patterson's legs during his swing:
Ever seen a nutmeg strikeout?— Cut4 (@Cut4) February 26, 2019
You have now... pic.twitter.com/flBn0HE3oD
Yes, in soccer terms, this is the equivalent to Lionel Messi swiftly dribbling the ball through an unsuspecting defender's legs:
Now, Altavilla would have to do this a couple dozen more times to be considered a Messi-level nutmegger. But executing this level of pitching humiliation, even in a Spring Training game, requires a special level of movement. In Patterson's defense: Hitting is really, really difficult!
Even if we don't see more nutmeg strikeouts, maybe we'll see more baseball players attempting this skill in its natural form when the opportunity presents itself:
Jordan Shusterman is one half of Cespedes Family BBQ. He enjoys overpaying for Mike Trout in fantasy baseball leagues and convincing the masses that Mike Zunino is good.